Wednesday, August 25, 2010

23rd New England Women's Herbal Conference - Part I: Overview

I had a wonderful time this past weekend at the 23rd New England Women's Herbal Conference.

This was my first time at the New England Women's Herbal Conference, but I wasn't alone. Attendees ranged from newcomers to old-timers, and women who had no previous experience in herbalism to herbalists who have been teaching and practicing herbalism for years. Over 500 women attended the conference.

This was the last year that the New England's Women's Herbal Conference was held at Sargent Center in Hancock, New Hampshire. The food at the conference was catered by Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering, which focuses on sourcing local, organic, and sustainable foods whenever possible.

The conference began on Friday with an opening circle, music, and greetings.

Rosemary Gladstar giving an opening speech

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were filled with workshops, and morning activities began as early as 7 am. Most workshops were 1.5 hours, although there were longer 3-4 hour intensive workshops as well, allowing participants to work more closely with individual teachers and to explore particular topics in more depth.

Workshop time

Numerous vendors were at the conference, selling herbal products, natural care products, books, jewelry, and handmade crafts and clothing. In addition, on Saturday, there was a Great Barter & Trade Faire, where participants could bring their own homemade items to barter, trade, and sell. I ended up purchasing a sari (fair trade and made from recycled silk) from EcoQuette and Rose Petal Elixir from Avena Botanicals. (I missed the roses this season, but I plan to make my own rose elixir next year!)

Outside vendors

Vendors under the tent

Friday and Saturday night, there were music and stories; and on Saturday, a fire circle with dancing.

The weather over the weekend was perfect for tenting, although it did begin to lightly rain Saturday night and into Sunday. However, my friend and I had the great opportunity to stay at our friend's beautiful home and practice, at Back to Life, Chiropractic and Alternative Services, run by Stephanie Clark in Hancock, NH.

The house and practice

Herb garden


Although the weekend was tiring, the conference was definitely well worth going to. Stay tuned for a recap of some of the workshops that I attended!

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