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Radical Botany - a project of the Portland Freeskool

The loss of connection to plants, to the land, to Earth,leaves the holes with which we are naturally born unfilled. No matter how much Ritalin or Prozac is poured into those holes, synthetic pharmaceuticals can never fill them; merely human approaches can never heal them. It is not only plants that are our teachers and healers; not only plants that are among our community of life; not only plants that have a language we have long known. It is the community of life that we are missing.
Radical Botany

A class - A Learning Group

Sunday, July 3 - 7:00 PM - Laughing Horse Books, 3652 SE Division, Portland, Oregon

A project of the Portland Freeskool

"Indigenous peoples were clear, however, about where their knowledge of plant medicines orginated. In the vast prepondernace of cases, when they were asked, they insisted that their knowledge of plants came, not from trial and error, but from the plants themselves, from visions or dreams or from sacred beings. That their description of the sources of plant knowledge should be so uniform is in itself amazing"

The Lost Language of Plants - The ecological importance of plant Medicines to Life on Earth
-Stephen Harrod Buhner pp. 35-36

On Sunday, July 3 a learning group will meet to begin a study of human and plant relationships. By way of plant knowledge we will begin to percieve the radical idea that humans are not separate from plants and in fact what has been lost from the "spirit" of man by industrializing us, can be found in plants. Our healing, our well being and our planet are stored in plants.

We will use three books to look at the language of plants, perception and Pacific Northwest plant communities. We will at first have a class coordinator, then the whole learning group will begin to teach each other using our unique perceptions.

Sometimes we will meet in buildings to discuss the books we are studying. Sometimes we will meet in natural areas so that plants are part of our classroom. Sometimes we will speak, sometimes we will listen, sometimes we will draw, sometimes we will observe.

It is hoped that over time the learning group will come to have a special respectful relationship with plants and begin to create the bare essentials that we need to survive through plants. We will study and create healing potions, fusions, vinegars, soaps, foods, baskets, fibers for clothing, hats, shoes and bags and whatever comes to us in way that is respectful to plant communities.

We will learn the ethnobotanical stories of the native plants as told by people who lived here for ten thousand years.

Giant Vetch (Vicia gigantea) - The Makah used the leaves and vines to cover sprouts when steaming. The seeds were eaten in small quantities by the Nuu-chah-nulth and Kaigani Haida. The Saanich, who called the plant "canoe plant", prepared a hair tonic from giant vetch by crushing and boiling the stems and roots. A similar solution was used by canoe racers, who bathed with it for strength. In Haida this species, like beach pea is known as "Raven's canoe".

We will learn to raise plants from seeds and cuttings. To have year-round gardens and learn to use forests as a place to be chemically healed.

RADICAL BOTANY is a journey. Come join us as we explore the plant world around us and across the Pacific Northwest.


A empty book with no lines
Something to draw and write with
Three books (if you cannot afford to buy them come to the class and share a book that is available)

* The Lost Language of Plants - The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth
* The Zen of Seeing - by Frederick Franck
* Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast - Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska - by Pojar and Mackinnnon

"The lesson from both our agricultural and medical experience is remarkable for its consistency: Ignoring the evolutionary attributes of biological systems can only be done at the peril of ecological catastrophe."
-Marc Lappe - When antibiotics Fail-

"It is those who believe only in science who call an insect a pest or a predator and cry out that nature is a violent world of relativity and contradiction in which the strong feed on the weak....These are only distinctions invented by man. Nature maintained a great harmony without such notions, and brought forth the grasses and trees without the "helping" hand of man."
-Masanobu Fukuoka, The Natural Way of Farming.-

Love, Blessings and Thanks : ) 30.Jun.2005 09:22


Love is the answer. Thanks for offering this class. You are doing a great wise and healing thing. ....Its a beautiful thing reconnecting the two-legged people to all the people. : )

Portland Freeskool mail list 01.Jul.2005 13:38


To get involved with Portland Freeskool, or just stay current on classes and other developments, you may want to subscribe to the mail list here:


Radical Botany email address 01.Jul.2005 16:37


i am trying to create a email address specifically for this class and will post it as soon as I hear from an organization that will post it. I will be working on a listserve for the class also.



new development! Portland Freeskool email address 03.Jul.2005 12:33


Now there is an email address that people can use to write to "us". Though, it would be preferred to get on the email list and discuss with us, if you just need an answer to a question then here is the address:

info-pfs [at] riseup d-o-t net

The address is encoded somewhat to reduce SPAM, but I'm sure you can figure it out.

The lists.riseup.net email address published in the article is actually the email address for the mail list, which only subscribers can send out messages on.