The Intensive takes place among the beautiful foothills of the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, at Goldthread herb farm in Conway, MA. Our four-acre farm is surrounded by conifer and hardwood forests filled with streams and wildlife. The area is renowned for its natural beauty, agricultural character, and vibrant communities. At the cultural center is the 5-College area and Northampton in particular. With its abundant arts, music, and food, it has consistently been named as one of the top small arts towns in the U.S. Goldthread Apothecary is in nearby Florence.
Classes begin at the farm at 9am and end at 6pm. There will occasionally be special events that go into the evening, ending by 9pm. Days are structured with breaks, and students will divide their time between working on the farm and classroom time throughout the day. The work will be hands-on and varied; while often physical and occasionally demanding, students will not be asked to over-exert themselves. There will be plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. The program will end on Friday by 5pm.
What to Bring
Classes take place both in the learning barn and outdoors regardless of weather. Layers are always advisable — it's 100˚ in the greenhouse and it's easy to work up a sweat weeding the beds, but it can get cool in the evenings and inside the learning barn. Rain jackets also come in handy, as do sun hats/caps for protecting against sunburn. We recommend that you check the weather before class and plan accordingly. It is an area where ticks that carry the Lyme bacteria are present, so enclosed shoes, light-colored long sleeves/pants, and frequent spot checks are recommended.
Since the program includes herb walks and work on the farm it's recommended to bring appropriate footwear. Hiking boots, sneakers, sport-sandals all work well - just wear whatever you'll feel comfortable working in and potentially getting dirty. Students often bring slippers or moccasins to wear inside the learning barn, as shoes are left outside.
We have all the tools needed at the farm, and several pairs of work gloves, though some students bring their own gloves.
Food & Drink
A vegetarian lunch is included in the program fee, prepared using organic vegetables and dairy from local farms.
Tea is served throughout the day and there is also a wonderful food coop called McCuskers about 10 minutes away in Shelburne Falls for stocking up on snacks. Students should bring plenty of water to drink or a refillable water bottle.
Students should bring a folder to store the educational materials that are handed out throughout the course, plus pens/pencils, notebooks, and whatever else is needed for taking notes.
Goldthread does not provide student housing. For students traveling from afar, we have put together a list of some of the area's accommodation options including homestays, Hotels, B&Bs and Camp Sites. Some within walking distance of the farm!
Boston Logan and Hartford (BWL) airports are the two closest for those flying. Springfield and Amherst, MA and Brattelboro, VT are the nearest Amtrak stations. Peter Pan busses run into Northampton, MA.
On class days carpooling from & to the farm is required as there is limited parking. We will help to arrange this as the time draws closer.