Sign up for our Home Apothecary Program

This 8-month herbal medicine program is a hands-on introduction to herbalism. Meeting once per month, participants will tend a garden together, explore the basic concepts of herbalism, and make lots of herbal preparations to bring home and to share with the Common Good community. The home apothecary program offers a unique opportunity to learn about using herbs while working directly with the plants and developing connection to the land and ecosystem we call home.

To register:

We will cover the basics of community herbalism: herbal energetics and tastes, supporting specific body systems, first aid, using plants in ritual/ceremony, and the ways herbs can support the well-being and resilience of our own communities. And, of course, each class will be full of information about how to use specific plants!

In the garden, we will learn how to start seeds, plant perennials, tend the garden through the seasons, harvest a variety of different herbs, save seeds, and keep plants over the winter months. We'll also explore the medicinal uses of common weeds that are found all over the city and learn the basics of plant ID.

Apothecary projects will include drying a variety of herbs; making our own tinctures, salves, vinegars, syrups, and teas; and blending herbs together to make compounds. Participants will take home a variety of preparations made together as a group; the herbs we harvest will also be shared with Common Good to support community programs.

The details:
Class will be held one Saturday per month from 10 am to 1 pm at the Common Good City Farm in Ledroit Park. Classes will be outside on the farm, rain or shine (there is a pavilion on-site for shelter). In case of inclement weather, the class may be moved to St. George's Church and students will be notified by the instructor.

Each class will generally consist of one hour of gardening, one hour of hands-on apothecary projects, and one hour of herbal theory and materia medica (how to use specific plants). The specific flow of each class will vary based on the class's needs.

Class will be held on the following dates:
April 27th
May 18th
June 15th
July 20th
August 31st
September 14th
October 5th
November 2nd

Each student will be asked to commit to visiting the garden an additional two times during the season to do things like harvest plants that need to be harvested more than once per month, check on herbs that are drying, and other tasks as decided by the participants and instructor. Students may come during any of the times that the farm is open for volunteer sessions.

The Teacher:
Holly Poole-Kavana of Little Red Bird Botanicals practices as a clinical herbalist, grower, and medicine-maker in Washington DC, where her passion is connecting people to local plants. She holds a BS in botany from Cornell University from 2000 and began her herbal studies at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine in 2005. She apprenticed with herbalist 7song, and completed the Clinic II mentorship program at Sacred Plant Traditions before starting a clinical practice in 2011. Her business, Little Red Bird Botanicals, has also offered an herbal CSA since 2010. Holly also works as a midwife's assistant in the DC metro area.

Please email Josephine Chu at if you have any questions about this program. Two full scholarships and several 50% scholarships are available for income qualifying residents. To apply,please see here:

WorkshopsSamantha Wetzel