Immersion into foraging and wild food preservation, forest bathing, and nature journaling is at the heart of a five-weekend course coming to the Midcoast community this summer.
From May through September, a cohort of 10 learners will meet outdoors, one weekend a month nearest the full moon, to embark on forays in and around Newcastle.
The school, an en plein air pop-up kitchen, is located at a waterfront site near the reversing falls on the Sheepscot River, traditional lands of the Wawenoc people. Co-facilitators are Susan Bickford, founder of Stillness Kitchen ––– stylized as (stillness) kitchen ––– artist, art teacher, and certified forest therapist; Rachel Alexandrou, artist, botanist, and professional forager; and Jodi Paloni, local author, writing teacher in the gateless writing method, and founder of Maine Coast Writing Retreats.
The focus of the first weekend is for participants to get to know each other through the lens of getting to know a place, to learn methodologies and ethical practices, and to embark on a foraging field trip with follow-up time in the outdoor kitchen to process wild food. Each subsequent weekend session builds on the content and skills taught in previous classes, synching into a rhythm ––– embodied attunements in the outdoor world, gathering and processing wild food, and journaling with intention in slow and artful ways. Evenings are for gathering around the table or a fire by the river.
Curriculum centers on the plants as they “present themselves” in-season, relevant to the hands-on practices employed. Skill-building and reflection work between weekends supported by a virtual session scheduled mid-month, a platform for inquiry, and sharing new discoveries. Over time, knowledge and a community of kin, human and more-than human, is created.
All levels of experiences with attunement to the natural world, foraging, writing, and art are welcome. All aspects of this course will take place, rain or shine, outdoors.