To help our guests become deeply, spiritually and personally connected with the real Earth is our goal. Part of the journey to becoming connected is to reconnect with our selves; grieving and healing. When the seed of wisdom that resides within all of us awakens with this deeper (watering) connection it naturally begins to grow. As this indigenous wisdom grows and blooms within us, a more meaningful dimension is revealed and the World literally comes alive. When this happens our guests go home with a new vision of Nature, and a host of relationships with the plants, animals, people and other relations. These relations who have come alive for them during the workshop can act as their teachers and guides even in the depths of the city.
Part of keeping the spirit of the Earth alive in our hearts involves rekindling these first deep connections when our fire runs low. This is why over the years of running workshops at The Sacred Gardener, we’ve noticed many of the participants return annually or in different seasons. Each time people come back they see new things and connect more deeply with this land.
Overwhelmingly, what people loved and want more of, from Algonquin College where I (Steven) teach and from those at the Sacred Gardener workshops, is the “hands-on experience”. When we are in the right place and we have been instructed in how to approach medicinal plants, our bodies receive direct teachings from the plants themselves. Because of the feedback and our move back to longer workshops in 2015, we will set aside a few hours each day for hands-on farm tasks. These tasks are very diverse and happen in accordance with the time of year, the plants, the weather and the needs of the farm. Much of the work will be plant related seasonal activities such as planting, weeding, harvesting and processing herbs and food. But our guests in this coming years might also be working a day or two making a cob floor or building a grape trellis or a hundred other small jobs that keep the farm running and growing. Because everything is so connected at the farm even unrelated tasks bring surprising insights and revelations to the workshop topic.
For part of the day we will also share in an intensive workshop format, with a teacher and hands-on demonstrations in the kitchen and field. Each day participants are also given time for themselves and encouraged to “find a spot” to sit and reconnect with the Earth.
Food is given priority at the farm here, growing, harvesting, preparation and eating. So as an integral part of our guest’s stay here, we will also spend a good amount of time attending to our food. Over the years Megan has mastered cooking for everyone including those with dietary restrictions but she has struggled a bit with how much to ask for help from the workshop participants. Not having guests involved with food preparation and clean up was a mistake. And not just because Megan would be caught with so much work but because there are so many teachings and stories that go with food. When guests go to the farm to help with preparation, growing, caring for and harvesting the food then there are many gaps in their connection to the Earth that get filled in. The majority of our food is off the farm or from local organic producers so when we eat we are connecting into the lives and land of all the local growers. The food is our communion. It strengthens all the participants bonds to this place and each other in a real way and deepens the experience of the workshop. In eating together we are ritually enacting life’s sacred union, a ceremony that ties everything together.
Please bring clothing to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Rain gear (waterproof coat with hood and boots), a toque, wool socks, longjohns and a sweater are recommended. For the warmer days, bring light-coloured, lightweight, long-sleeves and long pants in case of bugs (they are repelled by light colours). Also bring a hat with a brim and bug repellent (Burt’s Bees is what we use) and a bathing suit to take a dip in the pond at the end of the day!
If you are tenting, bring your own ground cover, tent, sleeping bag, pillow—anything you’ll need to be comfortable. Dorm spaces are provided with bedding and pillows, for a small fee. There are also nearby cabins, motels and B&Bs we can recommend upon request.
- alarm clock
- toothbrush, facecloth, towel, other toiletries
We have a communal outhouse with washing station, and our enclosed outdoor shower and sink for washing. Please be sure your shampoo and soap do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or any of its relatives, as the water from the shower is on a grey water system, and goes back into the land here. If you are unsure, there will be both shampoo and soap provided that you are welcome to use.
If you are an early morning riser, we have an outdoor kitchen, where you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
The first day of the workshop is considered an arrival day, with arrival time at 4 pm. We will gather for our first meal together at 5 pm. The second day we will meet for breakfast at 8:30 am, start at 9 am, and finish at around 4 pm, with a lunch break and rest time afterwards. The last day of the workshop we will end at noon.
All workshops take place in the Upper Ottawa Valley, either at our farm in Golden Lake or at our property in Whitney, both of which are accessible by bus. The distance to drive is about 1.5 hours from Ottawa and 4.5 hours from Toronto or Montreal.
We’re flexible, mostly ovo-lacto vegetarian food but can accommodate vegans as well as most allergies. We encourage participation in clean up. We find a rich balance happens at meals, through everyone’s eclectic taste and experience, nutritional information and political views, balanced by the simplicity of what’s coming out of the ground.
Full refunds will be offered up to 1 month in advance of the course, minus processing fees. No refunds after that, thank you for your understanding.
For booking or other questions please call us at 613-625-1106 or email megan.