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8 month immersion

One of the silver linings of the pandemic...people are turning to their own yards, neighborhoods and parks for health and well-being!   Our reconnection with the habitats we inhabit can be a powerful path of vitality.  Indeed, perhaps this remembrance is the first and most profound step in our personal, societal and planetary healing. 

Are you ready to remember our birthright as human beings?  

To deepen relationships with the plants that grow right around us

for our individual and family well-being? 

Join us once a month for an in-person immersion in the magical, mythical, magnificent world of herbs!   And not just the herbs, but other open-hearted, curious, interesting humans.  :) 

This 8-month immersion is limited to 15 participants who will grow in experience and community together.  Those who complete all 8 classes and homework will receive a Certificate reflecting their hours of study.  This is an introductory course for home use and is not part of any accreditation program. 

Space is Limited to 15...


Our wild and cultivated green kin grow right outside our doors, offering their sweet sustenance and an invitation to return our bodies and souls to the natural rhythm that hums in our DNA.  As humans we evolved in the natural world; all of our ancestors knew how to befriend the plants that grew right around them for everyday vitality. 


We can remember!  One month at a time, we will attune to the cycles of the seasons, getting to know the plants who are offering their gifts in each turn of the year.    Learning, also, how to be in a healthy, reciprocal relationship, giving back for the gifts we receive.


In 2023, Backyard Herbalist will focus on many new plants that were not covered in the last couple years.  We will also continue exploring delicious ways to integrate these profoundly nutritive, gently medicinal and wildly resilient herbs into our day to day meals.  The most abundant wild plant kin who thrive around us are offering invaluable support and lessons in enabling us to adapt and thrive in these rapidly changing times.

Over the course of 8 months, from April through November, we will develop intimate relationships with medicinal and culinary plants that are commonly found in our area.   

In this introductory, home herbalism course, you will learn:

  •  how to get to know each herb intimately, one at time

  • how to safely identify these plants and the habitats where they thrive

  • ethical wildcrafting practices

  • how to find your own reciprocal relationship with these plants

  • how the plants have been traditionally used in different cultures

  • how to start your own herbal home apothecary

  •  and most importantly, how to listen and learn from the plants themselves…

they are our elders!

Together we will learn to handcraft:

healing teas, infusions, decoctions, honeys, tinctures, oils, salves,

oxymels, shrubs, yummy beverages, wild sauces and more!


Dates:     April - November 2023

                 One Saturday per month from  from 2-5pm


                          April 15th

                          May 27th

                          June 17th

                          July 22nd

                          August 12th

                          September, October and November TBD



Cost:   Sliding scale of $75-$125/month, maximum of 15 participants.   The course is much more empowering and effective if all participants learn together as one whole, consistent group so single-class registrants will only be accepted only on a case-by-case basis.    Non-refundable registration fee of $50 by April 15th!

        Our Environmental Access Fund will provide participation for anyone who is experiencing financial hardship OR those who are Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx or have been otherwise racialized.

       We gratefully acknowledge that modern American agriculture, herbalism and nature connection practices rest squarely on the shoulders of many generations of black and brown people whose lands, labor and/or knowledge were taken by force.  

      Shimmering Light Farm & Renewal Center is located on the unceded home of the Seneca / Onöndowa’ga:’ people, The People of the Great Hill.  The majority of medicines grown and used here were taught to white colonists by Native herbalists.  Charging members of the Seneca and other nations of the Haudenosaunee for herbal knowledge is unjust.  

The Environmental Access Fund, and inviting Native herbalists to contribute their knowledge as paid Instructors, are small steps toward making amends for past wrongs and we are continuing to research more (stay tuned!).  

Registration:  Non-refundable registration fee is due by April 15th.



Homework:   Optional homework each month. 

Completion Certificate:    Those who complete all 8 classes and homework will receive a Certificate reflecting their hours of study.  This is an introductory course for home use and is not part of any accreditation program.

Herb Circle

Course Participants may also choose to attend Shimmering Light Herb Circle, a vibrant and diverse educational cooperative of people developing intimate relationships with herbs, the Earth and each other.  Together we grow in health, vitality and our own unique potential.

Herb Circle meets for fun, informal community herb garden days every Friday from May – October, from 10am – 2pm.  We listen and tend whatever herb(s) are calling in the gardens and fields.  Suggested donation is $5 - $20/day.  Everyone is welcome regardless of ability to contribute.  Shimmering Light Farm is at 6141 Hicks Road, Naples, NY 14512.




Our Primary Herbal Guide for the year is Deb Denome.  Deb’s herbal journey commenced in 1996 when her second child was diagnosed with cancer at 6 months old.  She became, well, completely obsessed with everything that could possibly cause or cure cancer.   One day a regal weed appeared in the very center of her Celtic knot culinary herb garden and she was called to learn more about it.  A mile up the road, herbalist Angela Tiberio, guided her in building a relationship with this plant and her herb journey commenced. [Note: No, this plant is not a cure for cancer but is a priceless ally for women in all stages of life and, quite literally, helped Deb survive those intense years.] 

Over 30 years of parenting three children who have been powerful teachers in myriad ways and 26 years of co-creating a community educational farm, she has come to experience that our well-being is inextricably linked with the well-being of our Mother Land and the community of Beings who inhabit it. She has been blessed to study with many herbal elders including Andrea and Matthias Reisen, Rosemary Gladstar, Rocio Alarcon. Tammi Sweet, Kris Miller, Susun Weed, Judith Berger and more.

Over the past 24 years Deb has trained as an Herbalist, Reiki Master, Registered Horticultural Therapist, Certified Forest Therapy Guide, non-denominational Minister and an avid student of the Great Mystery.  She believes that our Consciousness is greater than we can begin to imagine and that we are literally the co-creators of our wild and precious lives.  People comment regularly on Deb’s ability to hold Presence.  Her greatest passion is helping others to connect with their own wisdom, and the wisdom of the Earth, to support vibrant and fulfilling lives, communities and our planetary home.

Guest Guides may include:   Becky Efigenio, owner of Insight Herbals;  Nu Helgager, Native Herbalist, also studied and works for Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials;  and others To Be Announced!



How happy I felt when a friend from a community garden called me to ask about nettles and how would she prepare them since they sting upon touch. I instantly had answers for how I have learned how to handle them and when to use them.


That learning and so much more came through the physical, visual, tactile and visceral experiences that Deb Denome, Herbalist, has transmitted to me in the field. I've learned about the culinary and health benefits of those ordinary plants (read weeds), that I had previously pulled and cut into submission so that they would not mar the visual order of my garden or lawns, like motherwort or mullein.


I learned that plants grow up near me in profusion when I have needed them the most. How comfrey infused in oil would be my healer for a sore back and hip. I have come to appreciate this simple principle of the interbeing between plant and human.  - Annie O.


My husband found Backyard Herbalist online and showed it to me.  I had recently moved to the Finger Lakes from Long Island  and it was exactly what I had been looking for.  This was an eight month dive, one Saturday a month, going into detail of one herb at a time that was at its peak in that month. I met a group of wonderful women, who have become my friends over the year. Deb Denome is a funny, kind, very knowledgeable herbalist, who would introduce us to nature by using all of our senses and intuition. I saw newbie herbalists grow into their herbal skills, and as a seasoned herbalist, I learned many plants of the Finger Lakes. I highly recommend this program for beginner and seasoned herbalists.

- Jennifer Gebhard ANP, HNP, RH(AHG)

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