Quick On-line Herb Order Form

Drylands Permaculture Design Course

Video: How to Create and Restore Robust Ecosystems

Michael Pilarski explains the process of ecosystem building in all its facets. Whether you are restoring a native ecosystem back to its original state, or creating hybrid ecosystems that humans can enjoy full-time, featuring productive plants and animals for economic value set in the context of a fully-functioning ecosystem, you will find tons of valuable information in this video. We mean TONS in the literal sense, because as Michael will explain, it's about increasing the WEIGHT of your ecosystem in biomass, living or decomposing organic matter, on your site. So join us in a robust talk about how to increase biomass, canopy height, biodiversity and productivity of your site's ecological system.


The Northwest Herbal Fair rides again!

2021 Northwest Herbal Fair posterWe look forward to having hundreds of herbal people, young and old, gather together at the Northwest Herbal Fair to celebrate, to learn from each other and to raise our spirits. 


Are you interested in herbs?

Do you know people who are into herbal medicine?

Spread the word about the NWHF to friends, family and email networks.

Since 1996, the NWHF has served the Northwest herbal community. Over the years we have hosted hundreds of famous and not-so-famous herbalists as workshop presenters. Started by Skeeter Michael Pilarski and ably assisted by Burke Mulvaney since year one. Great place for herbal networking!

In 2021, we will have a lot of new and younger presenters as well as many of our esteemed past presenters. Back in the 1970s. the herbal scene was almost all young people.  We had few elders in those days.  I remember bringing Dr. John Christopher in as a keynote speaker at an event I organized in 1976. Now in 2021, The NWHF will have lots of herbalist elders as well as the younger generations, dancing together. 

The herbal movement stretches unbroken back into pre-history.  There are herbal people in every generation in every culture.  In modern times these age-old traditions have been largely lost to the industrialized societies. You might say that herbs lost a lot of market share to the pharmaceutical industry. Media blared that herbs weren’t scientifically proven, old fashioned and not as powerful.  Many herbalists and herbal traditions have been repressed over the centuries in different cultures at different times.  The loss of traditional herbal knowledge is ongoing in indigenous cultures around the world, but there is a resurgence of interest in keeping their traditions alive.  

The NWHF is part of an herbal resurgence that took root in the 1970s in the United States, Canada and other Western countries and has been growing and blossoming ever since.  Most of us, not having elders to learn from, had to fall back on reading and empirical science.  The reading and research is from many cultures and many times.  On my herbal bookshop are books from Russia, Poland, Thailand, Spain, India, Belize, Mexico and many other countries and indigenous peoples.  My herbal knowledge is a hodge-podge from many traditions.  Some of it is gathered from personal experience.  Some herbalists study Traditional Chinese Medicine for a lifetime, or Ayurvedic, etc etc.  In a sense our modern culture has become a melting pot.  Many of today’s herbalists (or all to a certain degree) have developed their own knowledge base from their own practices.  Some have developed schools to pass their knowledge on.  The NWHF is a melting pot for herbal knowledge.  We all have something to share.  We are all students and we are all teachers.  In many cases we just keep re-discovering the same uses for medicinal plants that were known to the ancients.  So let us celebrate the herbal universe that we are part of in all of its diversity.

Each herb gathering has its own personality, it’s own flavor, its own specialties. We aren’t putting down any other herb gatherings.  They all have their niches and all accomplish good things and bring parts of the herbal community together. In a sense we can say that all herb gathering help do the things outlined above.  What is special about the NWHF is that is so grassroots and so celebratory.  We have fun as well as exchange herbal knowledge. 

So what makes the NWHF so special in 2021? It is one of the only herb gatherings happening in the region in 2021.  If you are excited about getting together with your peers in the herbal movement, please join us!

You don’t have to be an “herbalist” or herbal expert to attend the event. All levels of knowledge are welcome. If you want to learn about herbs than this is for you too.  We have kept our day prices low to make it possible for people to check us out, take some classes, visit the herbal marketplace to see the herbal wares and services available and enjoy some entertainment.



Drylands Permaculture Design Course (Updated 06-26-2021)

Registration is Open

Photo of drylands restored using permaculture

Drylands Permaculture Course

Registration is Open

With Michael Pilarski, Penny Livingston & guest teachers!

October 4-13th, 2021

Skalitude Retreat Center

Methow Valley, Eastern Washington


Drylands occupy 40% of the world’s land surface and they are growing. Most of these dryland ecosystems have been degrading for hundreds to thousands of years.  Time to turn things around! Regeneration instead of degradation! The need is so great! This course explores how to regenerate the world’s drylands.  It will be useful for farmers, land-owners, land managers, policy-makers, restorationists and others keen on this topic.

This in-person Drylands Permaculture Course will include:

  • An overview of dryland strategies and techniques from arid and semi-arid regions around the world, from ancient to modern, with a particular focus on indigenous and traditional methods.
  • Permaculture design principles and methodology.
  • This is a specialized, advanced permaculture course.  PDC is not required to take this course.
  • There will be a variety of hands-on activities throughout the course.
  • Field trips: We will visit diverse dryland ecosystems and farms.
  • Students self-select into design teams for specific projects and give reports.
  • Each student is encouraged to read and review a pertinent book
  • An on-line course will be offered at a later date.
  • Course fee is $1,400.  This includes all classes, field trips, instructional materials, 3 great meals a day for 10 days and camping!
  • Worktrade and scholarships are available
  • Participants have the choice of indoor accommodations at an additional cost.

About the Venue

Situated in the foothills of the North Cascade mountains, Skalitude’s 160 acres are nestled in a secluded basin in the renowned Methow Valley. Surrounded by thousands of acres of National Forest wildlands, the power of the land nourishes and rejuvenates.

Camping is included! If you need other accommodation, you can rent the Bermhouse for an additional $200 fee per person. The Bermhouse has 3 suites. Each of these suites is divided into 2 sleeping areas, with a half-bathroom (composting toilet and a sink) between them. Each sleeping area has 2 single beds.

About the Instructors:

Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski has lived and farmed in the semi-arid Inland Northwest since 1972.  He took his first Permaculture Design Course in 1982. In 1986 he helped organize and graduated from the 1st Drylands Permaculture Design Course taught by Bill Mollison who was one of the leading drylands experts in the world. In 1988, he published a Resource Guide to Sustainable Land Use in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. 1988 was also the year he started teaching permaculture design courses. In the ensuing two decades he taught 40 permaculture design courses in various climates.  He has accumulated a lot of dryland knowledge over the years and wants to pass it on.

Penny Livingston has been teaching internationally and working professionally in the permaculture,  land management & regenerative design and sustainable development field for 30 years and has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction as well as the use of natural non-toxic building materials.  She specializes in site planning & design of resource rich landscapes integrating, rainwater collection, agroforestry systems, edible and medicinal planting, spring development, pond and water systems management, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, farms, co-housing communities and businesses. She is currently teaching online courses with Ecoversity and the Permaculture Skills Center.

Guest Speakers: 

We will bring in some of the world’s leading dryland experts via Zoom to give presentations and answer questions.

Precious Phiri
Website: https://regenerationinternational.org

Precious Phiri is a member of the Regeneration International (RI) steering committee and also serves as RI’s Africa coordinator. She is a training and development specialist in regenerative environmental issues and community organizing. She recently founded an organization called EarthWisdom a network, which she formed immediately after her full time nine-year career with Savory hub in Zimbabwe. Her vast experience in education and mobilizing communal populations and implementing institutions in Zimbabwe and Africa in restorative farming programs using Holistic Land and Livestock Management (HLLM) is the force behind her network. Her work currently focuses on training rural communities and collaborating with networks in Africa to reduce poverty, rebuild soils, and restore food and water security for people, livestock and wildlife.

Walter Jehne
Healthy Soils Australia

John D. Liu
Ecosystems Restoration Camps Foundation.

Andrew Millison 
Permaculture Rising and Oregon State University.

Registration is Open