Meet Linda Conroy, owner of Moonwise Herbs in Stoughton, WI, and the founder of the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference. Linda is a practicing herbalist, who provides education, workshops, and apprenticeships, as well as individual consultations. In this episode, Linda tells us about the women's wellness series called In Our Own Hands, featuring virtual classes where participants will learn how to discover their own voices, nourish themselves, and partner with herbal medicine to heal their loved ones.
She also explains the variety of online classes that anyone can take from the comfort of their home to learn all about herbal medicine, edibles, mushrooms, and more. Finally, Linda shares about the impressive lineup of this year’s speakers at the upcoming Midwest Women's Herbal Conference which is taking place May 26-28 in Almond, WI, and reminds us that if you want to partake in this annual event, you must register early as they will sell out.
To learn more about the work Linda does, visit MoonWiseHerbs.com. To learn more about the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference and the virtual/online classes, visit MidwestWomensHerbal.com.
[00:00:08.810] - Candi Broeffle
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and brings you the local experts who share their progressive ideas and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, publisher of The Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I am honored to bring these experts to you. Today on our show, we are welcoming back Linda Conroy, owner of Moonwise herbs out of stoughton, wisconsin. Linda is a practicing herbalist who provides herbal education, workshops and apprenticeships, as well as individual consultations by appointment at her homestead. Linda is also a community organizer and the founder of the midwest women's herbal conference. Welcome back to the show, Linda.
[00:00:57.800] - Linda Conroy
Thank you, Candi. I'm delighted to be here. It's always a pleasure, it's always so.
[00:01:02.290] - Candi Broeffle
Fun to have you on the show, and you have so much knowledge that you can share with us. So I'm really excited to get started, but I want to let people know you have the 12th annual midwest women's herbal conference, which is coming up on May 26 through the 28th. So we're about five months away from it, or actually about six months away from it right now. People might be wondering like, wow, why is she having you come on so early? Well, the reason is because the last few years we've had you come on in april or may, and you were already sold out, all your tickets were gone.
[00:01:38.900] - Linda Conroy
Right. So last year was the first year we came back after being virtual for two years after, I don't want to say that after the pandemic, because it's not really, but when we felt comfortable going back into person and we sold out very quickly. Last year we opened registration and we have opened registration already in midDecember, and we have an early registration rate that we offer. And so many people signed up early last year at that rate. We were sold out very, very quickly and had a waiting list. So, yes, if people want to come, they want to get their tickets quickly.
[00:02:17.690] - Candi Broeffle
Yes. So I want to let our listeners know, don't stop and wait for this Minnesota. We're terrible at waiting till the last minute on things because there might be something else we want to do. This is not the time to do that. If you want to attend the conference, register now, because I would say probably by the end of next month or beginning of sometime in February, you're probably going to be sold out again.
[00:02:42.310] - Linda Conroy
Well, if it follows trends from last year, I would suspect. So every year is different, but we've tended to sell out by the time the event comes. For all the twelve years, we have never had an event that it wasn't sold out, but last year was sold out very early. So you are correct, and it just really reflects so many of the things that we are seeing in the natural health world and the herbal world and the wild foraging world is the interest is just exploding. I mean, people are very interested in getting outside and being engaged with the plants and learning about herbal medicine and learning about foraging and personal growth in community and connection, all of these things that are offered in that village space when we get together for that weekend. So I think there's a lot of enthusiasm.
[00:03:41.870] - Candi Broeffle
Yeah. So tell us more about that, because I want people to get a good vision in their mind of what this is like. So this is being held in almond, Wisconsin.
[00:03:52.190] - Linda Conroy
It's a three day period. And there are pre conference events where people can come for a whole week. I'm on site for a week. And it's so delightful because the pre conference workshops are smaller, they're more intimate. And so the people who are there early have that experience of an immersion. We have these three day immersions. We're offering two of them this year. One is on Celtic herbalism, a deep dive on that vantage point of working with plants and herbs. And then I'm actually offering a three day immersion on fermentation and how to ferment from a to z. It's three days of learning how to ferment, incorporating wild foods into fermentation. So that's the pre conference opportunities. And so if you're there for the week builds on itself and women start showing up over the week and it gets busier and busier and fuller and fuller and it's just a beautiful experience then to see by Friday afternoon, the 400 women, children and teens, actually, who are signed up to arrive and become this incredible village for the weekend, which is one of my favorite things about it, is to watch the village form and the village come together.
[00:05:13.130] - Linda Conroy
Our last event, which was in the fall, we also, and we've talked about this before, offer a mushroom event in the fall called mycelium mysteries. And this past fall, it was the most cooperative event we have ever put on. People were so enthusiastic about helping, about contributing. It was just the village feel. We always try to create the village, but the village feel, people taking responsibility for being present in the space and owning it, it was really just heartening to see. And I think that's one thing that I think the pandemic has brought to our attention is this desire and longing to be together and contribute.
[00:06:00.150] - Candi Broeffle
Yes. So now when you say the village feel, and you kind of have said that a few times, this is truly I mean, this is not held at a hotel. It's not at a conference center. So tell us about that more.
[00:06:15.220] - Linda Conroy
Yeah, it's at a camp. It's a kids camp called camp Helen Brockman. And it's a camp that was established it's run by an organization out of Milwaukee. It was established to host inner city kids to come out into nature and be at camp for weeks at a time in the summer. And so we love collaborating with them because the property is beautiful. There's 200 acres. There's a lake, big dining space where the overlooks, the lake. There's camping. Women can camp. They can stay in rough cabins. Some women stay off site, but most people stay on site. So there's many villages, too. There's the camping village, there's the cabin villages. And we all come together, and we have a marketplace, so people can go and shop, and then they can go to their workshops all week long. So it's been a commitment of mine and really our whole organizing team to make sure that we eat together and that we're able to offer really deeply nourishing meals. The heart of the type of work that I do is focused on nourishment and building health first and foremost. And so eating together, we drink nourishing herbal infusions.
[00:07:33.870] - Linda Conroy
We make them by the gallons. And people are drinking nettle and oats, straw and rose hips and elderberry all weekend long. And so that breaking bread together is such an important part of the village feel, and it really helps people feel nourished. When you're learning, you use a lot of energy. Our brain uses a lot of energy. And so it's been very intentional to provide very deeply nourishing meals for everyone. It's part of the ticket. When you register for the conference, everyone gets meals. We don't separate out meals or no meals. Everybody gets meals and eats together. And it's been a highlight. We actually have a reputation for providing incredibly incredible meals during the conference.
[00:08:22.920] - Candi Broeffle
Oh, that is so cool. So now, you said a couple of things I noticed on the website, and I don't know if you did this last year or not. I don't remember seeing it, but the teen girl workshops.
[00:08:33.750] - Linda Conroy
Oh, yes, we always have a teen spiral. Okay, last year. So this is really interesting, coming back again in person for the first time. The teen spiral was just amazing to watch. The young girls were so enthusiastic and so happy to be again in community. They kind of form a little collective, and they spend a lot of time together, and they can go out into the conference and go to workshops or do whatever they want. But there are coordinators that provide special workshops just for them. And I know, like last year, one of them did a workshop with the girls on astrology and herbs, and they created a lot of different products that matched their astrology sign. It was just really incredible to hold that space for those girls. And I was watching them. They were going out and making friends with adult women. I saw this a real desire for mentoring, for that connection, that longing. Candi, I said to some of my other organizers, I said, if anything I've ever done with this conference that was worth every effort I ever put in to watch the care they got in this space, the mentoring.
[00:09:54.680] - Linda Conroy
I mean, really, it makes me want to tear up talking about it.
[00:09:58.910] - Candi Broeffle
Yeah, I mean, what is happening there is just so remarkable. I love to hear about what you have going on, but you also have classes for kids. You must be talking about younger than teens, younger than the twelve to 14 year old.
[00:10:15.780] - Linda Conroy
Right? So we have the teen spiral, and that's twelve to 18. And then we have a kids camp, three to twelve. And so the kids camp has that has a whole different feel to it. Right there's all these activities happening. The coordinators are really good about offering age appropriate, nature based, herbal based education. And so it was interesting because one of the children came up to me over the weekend last year and brought me this little gift package that they had made. They had made some teas and they made dandelion flower cookies, and they were so proud, and they brought it to me as a gift. And I have a photo of the child presenting these to me. It's just the disheartening photograph.
[00:11:06.150] - Candi Broeffle
That's awesome. That's awesome. To learn more about the work that Linda does, visit MoonwiseHerbs.com and that's MoonWiseHerbs.com. To learn more about the Midwest Women's Herbal Conference and to register, visit MidwestWomensHerbal.com. To read the online version of natural awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com, on Apple and Google podcasts and anywhere you get your podcast. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations.
I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we're visiting with Linda Conroy, owner of Moonwise Herbs out of Stoughton, Wisconsin, and the founder of the Midwest Women's Herbal Conference. So, Linda, just before the break, you were telling us about some of the, I guess, logistics of the conference that's coming up in May. And we were talking about that you have the teen spiral, the teen girls spiral, and that you also have a kids camp. So I'm curious to find out what made you decide to do both kind of the kids camp and the teen spiral.
[00:12:43.550] - Linda Conroy
So the teen spiral, actually, the first year we didn't have a teen spiral, and the first year, the routines in one of my adult workshops, raising their hand, asking questions, and I thought, oh, my gosh, they need a space. So that came the second year. The first year we did have a kids camp. The women who started the conference with me and were helping to organize initially were both moms, and they both said, we have got to make this accessible to moms, that they can come and they have a place where their children can learn about herbs and feel that they're safe and cared for while they go to workshops and learn. So the kids camp is set up so that while women are in workshops, the kids camp is happening parallel to that so that moms can come to the conference and feel confident their kids are going to be safe and that they're going to be learning. They learn to identify plants. They learn to work with plants. It's so delightful to see these little children showing other people what plantain is, for example, and knowing that it's called the band aid plants.
[00:13:50.020] - Linda Conroy
And you chew it up and put it on, and you see them and they know. I mean, they're close to the ground, so they get it.
[00:13:58.090] - Candi Broeffle
Oh, I love that.
[00:13:59.310] - Linda Conroy
I love that.
[00:13:59.810] - Candi Broeffle
They're close to the ground, so they get it. And it really is true, especially, I think, more so now than it has been in the last several decades, about how much more information is out there and is available to us about herbs and having our kids learn that. Before, you had kind of mentioned about the pandemic, that this is the time people are starting to come back from being isolated for so long. And one of the things that I noticed during the pandemic, when it was first started, was kind of the first time I had heard medical doctors talk about how to improve your immunity. And they were saying things like elderberry juice and vitamin c and zinc and really kind of focusing on how to build up our immunity more. So we're starting to see it come more into the mainstream, I think, than we have for decades.
[00:15:00.200] - Linda Conroy
Absolutely. I mean, I've been doing this work deliberately for almost 30 years, and it was very fringe when I started doing this. It really was. It was not in so much in the mainstream. There were little health food stores that had their, you know, sections and but now it's so in the mainstream. And even in the past year, we've seen even more. Like, I just see this interest growing and growing and growing, the passion and excitement. And I think when people feel like they can do something for themselves, it's very empowering. It's very empowering to know I can either grow an elderberry bush, or I could go wildcraft in the ditches and go and make my own infusions and tea and build my immunity and help my body respond. And so it's really empowering.
[00:15:59.910] - Candi Broeffle
So you have some keynote speakers this year, and some of the people you've had in the past, but they're going to be talking about different topics this year, so let's get into that. What about Robin Rose Bennett?
[00:16:14.950] - Linda Conroy
So, Robin Rose Bennett is such an amazing person. She is an herbalist who has really blended the very practical aspect of herbalism with a spiritual sensibility. And so that is really a special thing that she brings to her herbal work. And so she's going to be doing her pre-conference she's going to be doing a pre conference workshop as well as one of the keynote talks during the conference. And we're super excited about that.
[00:16:55.350] - Candi Broeffle
Oh, that is cool. And then what about Linda Black Elk?
[00:16:59.590] - Linda Conroy
So, Linda Black Elk is an indigenous herbalist who is passionate about wild foods and food sovereignty. And she's going to be talking about that. She's going to be talking about the practicalities of engaging with wild plants and having them be a part of a life way and a lifestyle. She, too will be doing a three hour pre conference workshop, immersed in that, but also delivering a keynote address about the concepts of food sovereignty, which is really important to the indigenous people of north America to be reclaiming their food traditions. And she is a strong activist and advocate for that realm. And I'm really excited that she's going to be joining us.
[00:17:50.870] - Candi Broeffle
So when you say food sovereignty, and we've heard this before, but let's just kind of expand on that a little bit. What do you mean by food sovereignty?
[00:17:59.630] - Linda Conroy
Well, it's about being independent and having influence over our own food traditions. Like, we have a food industry. I mean, we can talk about this. I talk about this in the herbal world. There's the earth centered herbalism and there's industry centered herbalism, right? And we can talk about that with our food supply, too. We've got an industry. If you go into big box conventional grocery stores, I mean, there's just all this food being produced in boxes. Actually, we had a speaker, Lila June, a couple of years ago, an indigenous speaker who also focuses on food sovereignty. And she said we need a different word for food because food has become a commodity and food is actually relational in nature. And so I think the indigenous folks like Linda black Elk, Lila June, are leading away and reminding us that it's a relationship with our food. And we've got the state of Maine has passed a law actually allowing people to trade and barter and take care of their own food exchanges, local food. I mean, a lot of us hear about this. We want to be ingesting as much local food as possible, especially people who are engaged with farmers markets and this kind of thing.
[00:19:25.200] - Linda Conroy
So it's that direct relationship with our food. Where does it come from? How do we know how it's being grown? And it's a regenerative thing, because when we have those relationships, we care for the earth. That's the focus. It's not caring for the industry. We've got these big food industries, corporations, I don't know if you're familiar, there's a map that shows you most of the big food corporations are all owned by a very small number of corporations. And so you've got this food being produced in ways that's about commodifying it rather than that relational piece. And food sovereignty brings us into that empowerment, that relational aspect. And like I said, the indigenous, there are lots of indigenous people leading the way, like Linda blackout. So we're just thrilled to have her, because the type of herbalism that our conference holds, the container for is that relational plant based approach.
[00:20:26.950] - Candi Broeffle
Yeah, I think that's another thing that COVID has done for us is really be able to identify for us how fragile our food system is. When we took a look at the meat packing plants and then all of a sudden having this shortage of different types of meat and an influx of other types of meat, I mean, it's kind of mind boggling when you think about it. And then to see any kind of transportation issues that might happen, how that might affect it, shows us just how very fragile it is. And the more local we can become and the more independent we can become from that, we have to start looking at that.
[00:21:11.270] - Linda Conroy
Absolutely. I mean, I know in my personal life I try to build relationships with farmers. The things I don't grow, I reach out and I purchase from as local as possible. Sometimes I have the opportunity to trade with people for things I produce. It's a really whole different and that's that law in Maine and I can't remember it's a cottage food industry law which has expanded people's capacity to do that. And we do have cottage industry laws being passed around the country in different places. Like the state in Wisconsin where I live, we have the Jelly Bill so you can produce jellies and acid based foods in small quantity and sell them without having a commercial kitchen. So you've got this happening in small ways in the country and around the world. Really. There's so much interest and keeping what we can call a food shed. We have watersheds, we can have food sheds. We have a woman who's coming to the conference too, who's going to be educating people about fiber sheds and looking at how can we get local fibers? Because that's a whole another tangent that people can go on is looking at how can we get as much as possible local that's produced and that we know how it's being produced and how it affects the earth, which how we treat the earth is how we treat ourselves and our health is dependent on it's a relation.
[00:22:41.990] - Linda Conroy
Again, it's a relationship. Our health is built on respecting the earth and the soil and the relationships that we have there.
[00:22:52.230] - Candi Broeffle
Yeah, well, and like you said, we could do a whole show more on the sustainability aspects of our clothing and fashion industries.
[00:23:03.750] - Linda Conroy
And at the conference in the village, these conversations are what is happening. And that's one of the things I love about it. Not only, okay, we're providing education, but those in between spaces where women are eating together or spending time in the marketplace talking and exchanging these conversations are happening. And then those seeds get planted and they get sent out from where people came from to their own communities and they share this information and these ideas and this is really what we want to see happen with the conference.
[00:23:40.070] - Candi Broeffle
Yes, so for people who want to get involved in those types of conversations, I just encourage you to learn more about Midwest Women's Herbal Conference by visiting MidwestWomenHerbal.com. And to learn more about the work that Linda does, visit MoonwiseHerbs.com. We will be back in just a bit.
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle, and today we're visiting with Linda Conway, owner of Moonwise herbs out of Stoughton, Wisconsin, and the founder of the midwest women's herbal conference. So, before the break, we were starting to learn about some of the keynote speakers that you have coming up in the conference in May. And again, the midwest women's herbal conference. This is your 12th annual, will be taking place in almond, Wisconsin, May 26 through the 28th. And we're having you on this early because you have always sold out, but last year you sold out really early. So we want people to have the opportunity, if they want to register for the conference, to do it soon. Do it soon so that you don't miss out on your chance to do so. So we've been talking about the conference and kind of some of the speakers that will be there and the activities that you do.
[00:25:15.780] - Candi Broeffle
I also wanted to touch on. You have another keynote speaker, Reverend Judith Laxer, who will also be there. What will she be talking about?
[00:25:25.530] - Linda Conroy
So she is offering her keynote is actually called letting ourselves off the hook, and she's talking about how we really need more compassionate leadership. She's going to use the story of Anana, who is the queen of heaven in some of the goddess traditions. And she's going to be telling her story and talking about her story as a metaphor for really being able to step into this compassionate place of caring for each other, and especially from a leadership. And most of the women who come to our conference have some leadership role in their community. You don't have to, but it just tends to go that way a lot of times. So, Judith has been working with our conference on and off for years. She has a goddess church in Seattle, Washington, and she is a spiritual leader in her community. And so these stories are a big part of the metaphors and her teaching. And I love how she brings that in and really invites us to engage with these stories because it's a fun way to integrate concepts and ideas. So that is her keynote that she'll be offering. And then I did want to mention that Venus Williams, who is an herbalist and community organizer from Milwaukee, will be doing our ceremonial our ceremonies this year, opening and closing ceremonies.
[00:26:54.430] - Linda Conroy
She's also ordained as a reverend, and she will do the opening and closing ceremonies this year for us. So we're super excited about that.
[00:27:03.430] - Candi Broeffle
So let's just talk about that for a minute. Why is it important to open and close the conference with the ceremony.
[00:27:10.650] - Linda Conroy
It's really important to have the beginning. I always say in any offering that I do, I like a beginning medal and end because it brings like you enter a space with intention and thoughtfulness and you go into it with that sensibility rather than just showing up and just letting things unfold, you come in with intention. And whether women are there or not, they feel it because the intention gets set for everyone. It's nice to be there though, because it really gets you ready for the weekend. It prepares you, it gets you in a mindset, it helps you get present. I mean, most of the time women are showing up, they've just driven from far away and it really helps everyone get together and start the weekend together. And then the middle is the middle. Lots of things happening in between. And this year, actually, on Saturday evening, we're having what we call a folly's or a talent show. So when you find all the talent that's present, judith Laxer will be facilitating that and hosting her and seeing it, and then the end, the closing ceremony, to be able to close and have closure for the weekend and transition, because you're in this village, it's kind of a different culture.
[00:28:28.590] - Linda Conroy
When you're there, you're being held by this container. And to be able to close and have transition out back into the world is really important. And to take a pause and honor what you just did over the weekend because it's a powerful deep learning. I mean, women are laughing and crying and integrating and gathering all of this wisdom. So our theme, one of the things I wanted to share with you, which I am super excited about, our theme for this year is germinating regenerative wisdom.
[00:29:03.390] - Candi Broeffle
[00:29:04.850] - Linda Conroy
So when you set an intention like that, you go deep. We're going to be germinating this regenerative wisdom. We're not only planting, we're germinating. We're trying to foster it and grow it and make it be regenerative that the wisdom comes back over and over and over again and contributes to our lives.
[00:29:28.970] - Candi Broeffle
So you and I were talking before we, before we started about just how quickly things are changing, are developing, are advancing in the herbal space, but in the natural health and wellness field. So I'm curious, you haven't been here for a year and a lot has happened in the last year. What is something that you're most excited about that you're seeing happen in the natural health space?
[00:29:58.270] - Linda Conroy
Well, I'm really excited that people are interested, because once people get interested, then they have the opportunity to start to see nature as something that contributes again, that's regenerative. Nature gives to us. It takes care of us. If you look at nature centered traditions, the concepts are always about that, about that relationship, that given and we need to give back. And so when we receive and we give, it's an exchange and it's a relationship and I think people are waking up to that out of materialistic culture and society where there was a lot of giving back. But if we get to know a plant in just a remedy and it's helpful to us, and then we're like, I'm going to grow that in my garden. Wouldn't that be great? Put it in our garden and then we see it every day and we have this relationship and then we respect it more. One of the things I teach in my apprenticeship programs is that I'm teaching it, but I'm actually reminding my students every single time we're together, is that we are literally dependent on the plants for our very breath from the day we're born until the day we die.
[00:31:09.280] - Linda Conroy
Literally, not just metaphorically. So when we bring that into our consciousness and we have that awareness, it's really difficult to cause harm. And so we're going to be more mindful, we're going to be more respectful of the earth when we know that our very existence, our breath, our nourishment, it's all dependent on the plants around us. They are our allies, and working with them, moving into that right relationship, is what I see the potential for all of this enthusiasm and nature. And that's what excites me about it.
[00:31:50.290] - Candi Broeffle
With the conference now, we've talked about the keynotes and some of the activities that happen, but the conference itself, you do a lot. Well, some workshops, but then there's also treks that you take out onto this 200 acre property to do some foraging in that.
[00:32:07.520] - Linda Conroy
Yes, every session has two or three plant walks. So instead of sitting in the classroom listening to lectures, which is great, that's very valuable in so many ways. But then, if you prefer, you can go out on the land. You could just do plant walks the whole weekend if you wanted to. Because again, it's that meeting the plants, seeing where they grow naturally in their own habitat, what they prefer, what the energetics of them are in their space. We know, like, there's a plant called Chickweed, which is just such a precious plant that's really nourishing to the skin. It's often utilized in the skin, remedies, and also soothing to the eyes. But anyway, Chickweed likes cool weather and it's very moist. And so when you see where it grows and the season that it grows in, it gives you a lot of information about how to apply the plant. It likes cool weather and it likes to be in the shade, and it's very moist. And so that's what it does for dry skin. It helps with soothing. So when you get out there and you meet the plants and you get to see them and they're energetics and their environment, you learn so much about them.
[00:33:21.170] - Linda Conroy
It's so rich.
[00:33:22.360] - Candi Broeffle
So now you're going to be doing a pre conference workshop yourself.
[00:33:26.370] - Linda Conroy
I am. I'm offering one on fermentation. And so we'll be learning to ferment all kinds. Of different food. Vegetables, fruit, soybeans. We're going to make tempe, and we'll learn to make miso and just so many things fermented beverages. So I'm going to teach the principles and concepts of fermentation. And then it's going to be a learning lab where we'll actually be making stuff that people take home.
[00:33:53.870] - Candi Broeffle
So why is fermentation so important?
[00:33:57.550] - Linda Conroy
Well, it's the soil for our gut, if you will. We're talking about the lads and the relationship. It's all connected. And so it inoculates our digestive system with beneficial bacteria, long and short. Without doing a whole long, we could do a whole show just on fermentation. But basically with thinking about health and herbalism, it's really important to keep our digestive system happy and healthy by eating fermented foods on a regular basis.
[00:34:31.510] - Candi Broeffle
Well, that's great. So you have so many things coming up with this conference that's coming up again may 26 through the 28th. Registration is open. You have early registration. What is the price of the early registration?
[00:34:48.410] - Linda Conroy
Well, I can't just name one price because it depends on what your choices are. So many different options. I mean, it could be anywhere from if you're going to camp from about $395, and that is all inclusive for the weekend. But if you're going to do an immersion, it's going to be more than that. We have immersions. We have pre conference workshops. We're going to be making a backpack basket. There's going to be a workshop on that topic. There's a workshop on health, sovereignty for women and teaching women about the history of our own, taking our own health into our own hands. I mean, there's so many different workshops, and so the pricing is going to be dependent on what your options are.
[00:35:34.970] - Candi Broeffle
Well, for people who want to learn more and who want to be able to sign up as soon as possible, visit MidwestWomensHerbal.com. And if you would like to learn more about the work that Linda does, or to find out about her apprenticeship program, visit MoonwiseHerbs.com. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're visiting with Linda Conroy, owner of Moonwise Herbs out of Stoughton, Wisconsin, and the founder of the midwest women's herbal conference. So, Linda, we have been talking about all things midwest women's herbal conference this hour, but you also have some other things. So if people are not able to get away for a weekend, or maybe it's just not their gig to be more rustic in a more rustic situation, you also have a lot of learning opportunities that they can do from the comfort of their own home. And one of the things that you have coming up, starting on the 7th, so just a few lesson a week away or about a week away is in our own hands, the winter learning series. So tell us about that. That kicks off on January 7.
[00:37:10.200] - Linda Conroy
It does. And the idea came to us during the first year of the Pandemic to offer something in the winter where we're more isolated than usual as an opportunity to look at our own health virtually and spend time together. Evening community. These are three hour deep dives every other Saturday with a different instructor focused on a different topic, where we can gather tools and skills for self care and learn from the comfort of our own home. And so this has been a really delightful series. We're going into our third year of this series and we have an incredible array of instructors, one of which is Rosemary Gladstar, who's a fairly well known herbalist. And we're doing tea with Rosemary, so we'll be talking to her and we're inviting everyone to bring their cup of tea and be able to ask her questions, interface with her, and she'll talk about she's been gosh organizing and offering events and workshops for over probably close to 50 years. And she's one of our elders. So we have a really nice array of instructors and from different backgrounds teaching. We have Kathleen Matthews, who is from the UK. She's going to be teaching a workshop on Cherishing Our Ancestors.
[00:38:32.050] - Linda Conroy
And so the series of most of our work has the practicality of herbalism and food, as we've been talking about, and then the opportunities for spiritual connections and growth as well. So there's just something for everyone.
[00:38:48.010] - Candi Broeffle
So tell us again how many sessions are there? And it's held weekly, it's every other.
[00:38:53.930] - Linda Conroy
Weekend, every other Saturday, and it's 3 hours long. So it's a deep dive into the topic. And there's six sessions no, this year there's seven I'm sorry, seven sessions this year. And there's so many topics. So the topics we're doing grounding the awakening feminine with Brooke medicine Eagle. I'm doing Herbs and Archetypes for Mental Health. And we have tea with Rosemary. We have cherishing the ancestors with Kathleen Matthews. Mimi Hernandez, who is an herbalist, who is the director of the American Herbalist Guild, is doing Emerging from the Cave, stoking the Rising Fire. So looking at her workshop is on the 4 March, which is when we start to feel spring emerging. And what herbs do we bring in for helping us to emerge from that deep winter space? And then Jillian Lin is a wonderful herbalist who's taught for us in person as well. She's embodying the elements. She focuses on Chinese medicine and the elements from Chinese medicine. And then Angela Smith is an herbalist from Milwaukee, and she's doing a workshop called what Do Magic Makers do with all of those herbs? So we have a whole array of topics that's going to be really rich, and the instructors are dynamic and leaders in our field, so I'm excited for it.
[00:40:21.780] - Candi Broeffle
So if something happens and somebody has been able to attend one or a couple of the sessions, are you going to have recordings of them as well that people get?
[00:40:31.040] - Linda Conroy
Yes, absolutely. And there's lots of good reasons to attend in person, because you get to ask questions, you get to interact. Some of the instructors will do little breakout sessions during their workshop, but if for some reason you're not able to attend, there are absolutely going to be recordings made available.
[00:40:50.910] - Candi Broeffle
Awesome. Well, the other thing that you have is something you guys just kind of recently put these together in the last couple of years, but you also have online courses that you offer that people can join any time.
[00:41:05.190] - Linda Conroy
Right. So we've started to put together some really nice learning modules because so many times people say, oh, I either wasn't able to come to the conference or I was at the conference, and you can't go to everything. Yes, because there's so many choices. That's what people say to me. There's too many choices of like, very good problem to have. But we decided to put together a learning environment where you can either ala carte, purchase workshops, recordings from the past conferences, or we've put together modules on topics so that you can actually take a deep dive and listen to sometimes anywhere from six to eight audio and video recordings. And then we have a monthly live question and answer session either with myself or with some of the other instructors. And those give you the opportunity to just ask questions about what you listen to and what you're learning. So it's really a great way for women to keep their learning process going. And so it's an actual classroom with modules, and we opened them up. So we have right now, we have five modules ready to go. We have a foundational herbal course. We have a foundational mushroom course called fungal fundamentals.
[00:42:27.150] - Linda Conroy
We have a fermentation, fantastic fermentation course that people can take. And then we have herbal foundations two and fungal fundamentals part two. So these are just opportunities to take a deep dive into those topics.
[00:42:42.850] - Candi Broeffle
When people go to the midwest women's herbal conference website, there's so many things. It's so funny because when we first started doing interviews with you a few years ago, you had a good website then too. But boy, it just keeps growing every year. Every time I'm preparing for having an interview with you, it just grows and grows. And I'm always so impressed by it. But lots of things that are happening there. Well, we still have a bit of time, and so I would like to find out. You offer an apprenticeship program, and this is your apprenticeship program through your business, which is moon wise herbs, tell us a bit about your apprenticeship program.
[00:43:22.930] - Linda Conroy
Sure. I actually offer three different options.
[00:43:26.240] - Candi Broeffle
Well, actually four for apprentices, growing all the time.
[00:43:31.970] - Linda Conroy
So my original apprenticeship program is the one that I still offer, and that's been close to 30 years. I've been offering this program every single week during the warmer months, and that is a weekly session where people meet with me once a week in my home and spend the whole day with me, foraging, making things, holding the container for learning. And we stop in the middle of the day and make a wild, whole food lunch so people learn about nutrition and how to prepare things. So it's a very deep, rich, interactive experience. Once a week, it's very intensive. And then I offer a monthly program where women can come and do something very similar, but just for a weekend, all day Saturday and Sunday, people and camp on my land and we work together for eight months. It's one weekend a month for eight months. And then there's lots of homework in between. So you stay engaged and then women can come and stay on my land for three weeks at a time and live there for a chunk of time and take a deep dive. And so that's a very brave thing to do.
[00:44:42.090] - Linda Conroy
And then I started offering a couple of years ago and so much of this Candi, you're saying things grow, it comes from requests. People say, I would like to do this. And so I offer a virtual apprenticeship program. Now it's one year, and we meet once a week online. I do presentations and sharing and discussion, and then when they have homework that they do in between. And I personally mentor the group, but I also personally mentor the individuals. And it's a whole year long program. And that came out of a request. The woman actually from Ireland contacted me three years ago and said, I'd like to apprentice with you. Is there any way we can make that happen? And I said, well, we can try. We can try a virtual apprenticeship, sure. And so that's how it started and we did it that first year we had a group and it went really well, so I've continued to offer it ever since. So all three of those programs are open right now for I'm taking applications for all four of those programs. And an apprenticeship is a really special opportunity to be mentored, to explore.
[00:45:53.800] - Linda Conroy
It's not an academic classroom setting, although I teach lots of practical information. But then there's this incredible thing that happens when you're in that mentoring relationship where people just discover what they're passionate about. Because with herbalism and the food world and all of the things and women's spirituality that's involved in this as well, there are so many different avenues you can take. How you would express it like I express it one way. All of the things we're talking about here have just kind of grown and come from really my passion and insight of what I care about. And so I help with and discover that for themselves. Like to explore that. What part of this are you passionate about? So one of my interns, she's been studying with me for three years now. She had one idea when she came in about what her trajectory would be, but she became the botanist of. She loves botany, identifying plants. She was so scared of it when she started, and now she's so proficient in it. She loves it. And so exploring and figuring out what is it that you love and that you care about? And it's just really fascinating to watch women unfold through the apprenticeship process.
[00:47:16.970] - Linda Conroy
I'm really lucky and humbled to be able to offer that for almost 30 years now.
[00:47:23.060] - Candi Broeffle
That is amazing. And isn't that really what education is all about? People can learn more about your apprenticeship program by going to MoonwiseHerbs.com. And again, that's Moonwise Herbs. H-E-R-B-S.com. And of course, if you want to register for the Midwest Women's Herbal Conference or you want to learn more, visit MidwestWomensHerbal.com. Well, Linda, thank you so much for being with us today. It's always a pleasure to have you on the show. You always give us great information.
[00:47:56.490] - Linda Conroy
Thank you, Candi. It's always a delight. I love working with you.
[00:48:00.650] - Candi Broeffle
And thank you for listening to Green Tea conversations on AM 950, the Progressive Voice of Minnesota. And I am wishing for you a lovely day.