Building Your Home Apothecary
The 2018 Building Your Home Apothecary cohort.
A 9-month introduction to herbalism and gardening
Led by instructors Maebh Aguilar, Mercelyne Latortue, and Dominique Matti, this course is taught through the lens of herbalism as a tool for cultivating intimate, liberating, and communal relationships with the land and each other.
Important Dates for 2024 Course
- Application Deadline: January 21, 2024
- Program Dates: March–November 2024 One 6-hour Sunday class per month, 9am-3pm; 1 two-hour Thursday evening class per month, 6:30-8:30pm
Class session dates will be finalized in February 2024. Please make a note in your application if you are concerned about potential scheduling conflicts.
Time Commitment & Attendance Expectation
The course includes 15–20 hours of work per month:
- class sessions on one Sunday and one Thursday per month
- 2–4 hours of garden or apothecary work time per month
- and 2–3 hours of homework time per month.
Because this class is a community project, we have a high expectation for class attendance. We ask you miss no more than one Sunday and one Thursday evening during the full 9 months of the course. If you are worried about scheduling conflicts, please make a note in your application.
- Growing Herbs: We plant and tend an apothecary garden through a full growing season. We start seeds in March, learn about tending the garden, and each student has a monthly garden work shift, harvesting herbs all season long. In the fall, we dig roots, save seeds, and put the garden to bed.
- Using Herbs: We talk about how to use most of the herbs growing in our garden, as well as covering herbal actions beyond the range of our garden.
- Making Medicine: Using plants from our garden, students learn simple methods for making tincture, tea, and infused oil. Most of the medicine we grow is distributed amongst the students for their home apothecaries, and some medicine will go towards community projects to be decided by the students.
- Body Systems: There’s an overview of digestive, immune, nervous, respiratory, generative, urinary, and musculoskeletal systems, and which herbs can support these systems
- Herbalism in Context: Small group discussions about herbalism in a community context; today, historically and future.
- Community Building: This class is a community project. You’ll get to know your classmates through group work and shared tasks.
Tuition, Scholarships & Childcare
- Tuition: Tuition for the 2023 8-month course is $850.
- Scholarships: Scholarships covering either 25% or 50% of the tuition costs are available to any person of color with financial need. We do this to address the white washing of herbalism; we do this to address the stolen healing practices from people of color by white folks; we do this to address systemic inequalities that affect income.
- Payment Plans: Payment plans are available for all students.
- Childcare: Free childcare can be arranged if needed.
COVID-19 Safety & Physical Accessibility
In some sessions, we will be moving across the Bartram’s Garden grounds. Please let us know in your application if you have any physical limitations or anticipate needing any support.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will take the following precautions:
- Masking indoors and social distancing outside.
- If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms, we will ask you to stay home until you test negative.
Meet the Instructors
Maebh Aguilar is a plant tender, photographer, farmer, artist, herbalist, writer and seed saver. They pay much attention to: the shapes that light makes, the inherent queerness of nature, migration, how ancestral foods feel in their body, colors, and the long memory of water. They are: Philadelphian (born, raised, living), Ecuadorian (first generation), and Irish (settler Irish-Philadelphian roots).
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Mercelyne Latortue spent her childhood in Haiti which seeded her passion for food, culture and the revolutionary spirit of the Haitian people. Since graduating from Temple University with a BS in Public Health, she threaded her passion into extensive experiences in the fields of nutrition education, culinary arts, and community partnerships. In her free time, you can find her out in her garden, reading a good book, catching up with her friends and family or working on her marinade (epis) business.
Dominique Matti is a writer, a mother, a medicine maker, and a gardener. Through creative practice, spirituality, tending the land and listening, she ritually strives to situate herself in the long story. Her work centers Black mysticism, ancestral inheritance, liberation and recovery.