The Instructors ~  

 This kind of program is what happens when an herbalist and permaculture designer get together!

Engage in the Healing Power of Nature…

The Medicine Garden program is a Living Garden Project for students of botanical medicine to integrate the use of herbs into personal lifestyle and meaningful relationship. 

​In this 8 month program we will learn about medicinal plants in their cultivated habitat, along with growing, harvesting, and plant medicine processing. From earth to bottle we will go through the complete life cycle of medicine work starting with learning how to listen to the plants and communicate with them.

We will learn how to use our senses to experience plant medicines and determine their medical applications according to Vitalist traditions. Students will learn how to approach plants as teachers and use them as guides for our own personal healing, as well as how to help facilitate healing for others.  

We will integrate practical strategies to create Living Soil, Healing Waters, and conscious connection to the healing ecology of plant life that ultimately sustain us. As we work directly with the elements to cultivate the medicines that we collect we build a future that supports all of Life to thrive.

The roots of health and vitality lie in our connection to Nature. The Medicine Garden Program will
strengthen your personal relationship to plants and their healing powers while enabling you to take better care of soil, water, and Earth!

Key Topics Include

  • Vitalism: Working with the Healing Power of Nature
  • Plant Spirit Communication
  • Materia Medica: the properties of herbs
  • Create Living Soils that cycle nutrients
  • Catch and store water
  • Sequester carbon
  • Nourish plants to achieve higher levels of health.
  • Field to Bottle Medicine Making – tinctures, infused oils, acetates, oxymels, elixers, and more
  • Earth Centered Healing Practices


This program meets two Fridays a month 10 am - 4 pm, from March to October. There are a total of 15 classes.

Each class will include a diversity of content that moves in season according to what is in the garden ready to harvest, process and plant. Both instructors are present at each class and you will receive teachings from both instructors. Renee and Heather compliment each other's teaching styles and both integrate plant spirit communication into their class styles. 

Instructor Renee Wade: (7/12, 8/9, 9/13, 10/11)
The first Friday of each month with instructor Renee Wade offers topics on:

  • How to create Living Soils that cycle nutrients
  • Methods to catch and store water
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Nourishing plants to achieve higher levels of global health
  • Regenerative farming practices

Instructor Heather Luna: (6/28, 7/26, 8/30, 9/27, 10/25) 
The second Friday of each month with instructor Heather Luna offers topics on:

  • Vitalism: Working with the Healing Power of Nature
  • Herbal Therapeutics
  • Materia Medica: the properties of herbs
  • Field to Bottle Medicine Making 
  • Earth Centered Healing Practices 

Renee Wade, Gardener and Permaculture Designer

Renee Wade is a certified Permaculture Designer with a BA in Ecological Agriculture. Her focus is on creating landscapes that are functional parts of the larger ecosystem; these are landscapes rooted in living soils with the ability to cycle nutrients, catch and retain water, grow healthy and nutritious plants, and nurture both humans and wildlife...(read more)

Heather Luna, Clinical Herbalist, Clinical Nutritionist

Acorn School of Herbal Medicine Director

A Clinical Herbalist, Clinical Nutritionist, and resident of Nevada County since her teens, Heather Luna is a graduate of the John Woolman School, the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, and the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She 
will be sharing teachings of the plants from a Vitalist perspective and how to apply them in healing practice rooted in Earth Centered Traditions...(read more)


2019 Class Dates

meets in the Garden 10 am - 4 pm

   March (1st class) -  3/29

   April - 4/12 & 4/26

   May - 5/17 & 5/31

   June - 6/14 & 6/28

   July - 7/12 & 7/26

   August - 8/9 & 8/30

   September - 9/13 & 9/27

   October - 10/11 & 10/25


Classes are held inside the gardens at Bluebird Farm, 11153 Cement Hill Road in Nevada City, located just two miles from downtown. There is parking at Bluebird Farm. Please enter the driveway slowly. You will see the fenced garden area to your right. Do NOT park in front of the garden! Stay on the main drive way and turn into the first parking area on the left. In rainy weather we will meet at our school classroom in downtown Nevada City. 


~ Drop-in/Single Class


    We welcome drop-ins at each class. Please go to our registration page to sign up.

~ Full Program

    **closed for the season, drop-ins are welcome**

    $1650 for all 15 classes ($110 per class rate)
        Full Program Payment Plan

  • $650 Deposit due by March 29th.
  • Plus seven monthly payments of $150. 

    Included in cost:

  • Medicine making supplies- jars, bottles, alcohol, apple cider vinegar, honey, water, labels, string, etc.  
  • Your own copy of The Living Earth Handbook by: Renee Wade (Full Program students only)

​​How to prepare for class

Students are to dress appropriately for getting dirty. (Prepare to roll on the ground!) 

  • Garden friendly shoes! We encourage your relationship to the Earth through direct contact and bare feet. However this is not the best way to use a shovel when digging, so please bring shoes to class but take them off as much as possible.  Waterproof garden clogs or light weight breathable footwear can be ideal depending on the weather. Plan to bring extra footwear to change into afterwards if we get muddy!
  • Weather appropriate layers of clothing:
    • On cooler days wear long pants (with wooly unders or leggings), short sleeves shirt or tank top with long sleeve shirt on top. Plus a hoodie or wool sweater. **Remember you can always shed layers, but you can’t magically make new layers appear while out in the field.
    • On warm sunny days bring a sunhat. Wear light weight loose long sleeves to prevent sunburn and bug bites, and short or long pants to your comfort. 
    • Rainy weather does not cancel class. Come prepared to meet at our indoor classroom in Nevada City on these days. There is more medicine work to be had even if the Garden is too sensitive to host us.
  • A backpack to store gear and extra layers of clothing 

What to bring to each class

  • Bring a sack lunch and snacks for the day
  • Water bottle 
  • Notebook and pen
  • A personal blanket or towel to sit on outside
  • Cameras and recorders are welcome

Required tools and materials for Garden work and Medicine Making in the Field

  • Pocket knife
  • Garden snips/clippers/hand pruners
  • Small shovel/trowel/ hori hori/ or other digging tool
  • Folding garden saw
  • Baskets or collecting bags (canvas or paper)

** Please mark or label all your own tools and equipment

Required Text
Mycorrhizal Planet   by: Michael Phillips ​

​     (drop in students may view a copy of this text in class)


Recommended Texts
Living Earth Handbook   by: Renee Wade

     (full time students get a complimentary copy of this book, drop in students may view a copy of this text in class)

Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth   by: Sharol Tilgner

Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook   by: James Green