Tropical Leaves
Back to Basics

Workshop Participants

If you're a previous Back to Basics participant who has wished you could have attended more than 5 workshops in previous years... you're in luck! You choose your schedule in 2021! Watch 5, watch 35!


Here's what you need to know: 

  • Registered participants will be emailed on Saturday, February 20th with access to:

    • ALL of the pre-recorded video workshops below (you choose what to watch!) 

      • Links to handouts can be found in the descriptions below and in the YouTube description

      • Links to session evaluations can be found in the YouTube descriptions

    • Links to join in the LIVE virtual Keynote presentations

      • Amy Quarberg - Saturday, Feb. 20th at 11am 

      • Dave Freeman - Saturday, Feb. 27th at 1pm  

    • A schedule of the LIVE Q&A sessions with select presenters​ and links to join the live Zoom sessions (other presenters can be reached via email if you have questions)

  • Videos will be available to view anytime between Feb 20-28th. Watch as many as you'd like from the comfort of home! ​

Don't forget to fill out the Workshop Evaluation after you watch each video. If you share your email address with us (don't worry, your responses will still be anonymous), you'll also be entered to win one of 4 great prizes! Each evaluation you fill out gets your name in the drawing again.

Be sure to check out our Virtual Vendor Fair to shop online from a wide variety of local, handmade, homemade, and sustainable products! Presenters marked with an asterisk have products/services that can be found in our Virtual Vendor Fair! 

Registration Now Open!

Note: S=Session, followed by session number

S1. Earth: A Change of View - An Exploration of the Healing that Comes from Nature 

Laura Adrian

Whole Life Elevation

Nature, plants, trees, fungi, and soil are all around and they've been the original physician and pharmacy since the beginning. Scientific research is just beginning to show the immense benefits from the Earth and natural sources—just a 15 minute walk in the woods has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels. In this class, you'll learn two simple mindfulness-based nature practices that have been shown to reduce stress, relieve physical pain, and improve sleep. I'll also briefly share my experience with herbs and Lyme Disease.

S2. Introduction to Wilderness Backpacking 

Laura Adrian

Whole Life Elevation

Backpacking can be a great way to experience nature, retreat from the hamster wheel of life, challenge yourself physically, and see life through a new perspective. In this introductory class, you'll learn about the beauty of backpacking, must-know info, and common mistakes to avoid. I'll share stories from my backpacking trips and also Midwest backpacking destinations.

S3. Planting Native Vegetation for Wildlife, Preventing Erosion, Water Quality, and to Eat! 

Sheila Boldt

The Pine River Watershed Alliance* & the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)*

Looking for options for native gardening, stormwater and shoreline landscaping, or forestry needs? This workshop will offer numerous planting, ordering, and grant options to help alleviate the cost of projects that aid in water quality protection. Attendees will be directed to where they can place orders for vegetation through the Crow Wing SWCD and other MN nurseries, as well as view forest management or other conservation options.

S4. Surviving Your Winter Colds 

Allie Brandon

Whakima Herbals*

Sniffles, coughs, fevers, and fatigue - not many of us escape a common cold or two throughout the year. Join me for tips, tricks, and other herbal ideas for soothing symptoms and kicking colds to the curb, including the use of teas, tinctures, soups, and syrups. Come to learn about medicine straight from Mother Nature herself.

S5. Herbs and the Lymphatic System

Pamela Broekemeier

theHERBAL Cache*

In this workshop, we will briefly go over what exactly the lymphatic system is and why it is important to keep it in good shape. Then we will look at a variety of readily available herbs/plants that can help maintain a healthy lymphatic system.

S6. Building Soil Health in Your Garden 

Jim Chamberlin

Happy Dancing Turtle

This session will define soil health and why it's important to successful gardening. We will cover the basic soil health principles and discuss practical ways you can implement these to grow a healthy and abundant garden. You will come away with a better understanding of soil and low input methods to restore and protect it.

S7. Hedgelaying 101

Jim Chamberlin

Happy Dancing Turtle

Hedgelaying is a centuries-old practice used to build and maintain a living fence that will hold livestock and deter predators. This presentation will explore the various traditional hedgelaying techniques used in England and describe our first experience with laying a hawthorn hedge at Island Lake Farm. We will also discuss hedge maintenance and future plans to incorporate hedges into a keyline pasture system.

S8. Gentle Lakeside Yoga

Bryana Cook

Northern Yoga and Wellness* & Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats*

Amanda Imes

Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats*

Enjoy two short, lighthearted, and gentle yoga classes by the lake! Bryana and Amanda of Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats co-teach these virtual classes for your enjoyment. Think summer, water, and relaxation.

S9. “Super Foods” - Nutrient Dense Foods for Optimal Health

Steven Dahlberg

It is pretty clear by now that Weston A. Price was on the right track when he determined that diets rich in vitamins and minerals were the key to good health. We also know that conventionally-grown and, especially, processed foods don’t provide this type of diet. This workshop will cover my short list of critical “super foods” that do. They fill the gaps in the rest of your diet. Some of these are ferments you can make yourself. We will discuss that, as well as sources for each of the super foods and how to use them. The key idea here is that your food is your medicine. Supplements and medical treatment should be for crisis, not everyday care.

S10. Health and Wellbeing 101 

Al Gawboy and Kara Schaefer

Crow Wing Energized

Join us as we discuss the most basic components of overall wellness including nutrition, exercise, hydration, and sleep, and how you can incorporate healthy habits into your daily routines.

S11. T'ai Chi and Chi Kung 

Dan Hegstad

Learn the “Moving Meditation” of T’ai Chi. The Chinese have known for centuries that the slow, purposeful movements of T’ai Chi promote health, healing, balance, and well-being of body, mind, and spirit. Anyone can learn and benefit from T’ai Chi regardless of age or physical ability. No special equipment is required. This session also includes a free online 'follow-along' Chi Kung video.

S12. Sustainable Laundry 

Christine Jones

Pure Soap Flake Company 

Patric Richardson

Laundry Evangelist

Learn more sustainable ways to clean your laundry, including treating stains, ingredients and products to avoid, and simple ingredients to make your own laundry soap.

S13. Keeping a Phenology Journal 

John Latimer

Northern Community Radio (KAXE)

We will discuss how to become a citizen scientist by creating and maintaining a phenology record around your home. Learn what the important observations are, how to record them, and why it's important to do so. Plus, explore the exciting phenological occurrences that tell us when spring arrives! (Not too much longer!) 

S14. Relaxing with Elements of Nature 

Julie Matvick, Reiki Master

The Healing Studio at KISS Farm

Nature provides tools for our health and wellbeing. This presentation will explore smudge sticks, plants, rocks, and healing energy. Julie will teach about making smudge sticks and the benefits of using them, utilizing plants for health through teas, baths, sleep pillows, and oils, connecting with stones and rocks, and the healing energy available to each and every one of us. Especially in times of change, chaos, and the unknown, these tools are valuable ways to help us find peace, clarity, and calm. Use the knowledge of the tools for your own health and pass the wisdom down for generations to come.

S15. Simple Meal Planning for a Healthy Family 

Beth Noordmans

Cooking at home and from scratch is the healthiest and most budget-friendly way to eat. But it can become an overwhelming amount of work quickly! Let me teach you the basics of what a healthy meal looks like and then teach you my simple system to make meal planning quick and easy. No more wondering what to make for dinner!

S16. Sourdough Made Simple 

Beth Noordmans

Learn how to make sourdough breads in a simple and easy way that works even with a busy life! We'll start with "growing" your own starter, then I'll teach you to use this starter to make yummy and healthy quick breads like waffles and biscuits, and then move onto things like pizza crust and an actual loaf of bread!

S17. Outdoor Cooking with a Dutch Oven: Fun and Delicious!

Tony Noordmans

Coaching 4 Simple Joy

Come learn basic, step-by-step use and care of a Dutch oven. We'll discuss tools and supplies needed, how to control temps, how to not burn food, what works well in a Dutch oven and what doesn't work so well. Discussion on alternative uses, cast iron restoration, homemade charcoal, and sustainability will be included. Participants will receive recipes to try at home.

S18. Thrivalism: Preparedness, Survivalism, Ingenuity

Tony Noordmans

Coaching 4 Simple Joy

A conversation on living intentionally. By being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally for what life brings you. Learn how to develop skills, mindsets, and systems in order to not just survive but to thrive.

S19. Boundary Waters 101 

Melissa Olson

Guiding Spirit Journeys*

Melissa Olson, registered guide, will share with you best practices for planning and experiencing a Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness adventure. Learn about entry points, route planning, reserving a permit, ideas for food, group equipment, a personal packing list, and various tips to help create a safe and fun journey. We’ll touch on the U.S. Forest Service rules for wilderness use, portaging etiquette, and outdoor ethics that foster a stewardship of the environment and preservation of wilderness spaces for generations to come.

S20. Seed Saving 

Zachary Paige

North Circle Seeds

Learn about the importance of seed diversity and saving seeds. Gain a basic understanding of plant genetics, common terms you might hear in the seed saving world, what crosses with what, and which seeds would be easy to try saving on your own. Zachary will speak about choosing varieties that are adapted for our short season as well as easy ways to clean and store your seeds. 

S21. Winter Wellness: Herbal Remedies for Cough, Cold and Flu Season 

Marina Povlitzki

Plant Magick*

During the fall and winter months, we often find ourselves feeling under the weather. While regular challenges to our immune system are helpful and important, there are many easy things we can do to feel better sooner and more often. 

Join Herbalist Marina Povlitzki for a fun and informative session. You will learn about many different herbal preparations that can boost your health during cough, cold and flu season! Most of the herbs we will talk about might already be in your kitchen. Recipes included. 

S22. Healthy Cells and Being Well 

Stacey Quade

Energy for Life Connection*

In this class, increase your understanding of how healthy cells thrive in a more alkaline environment and why abnormal cells and inflammation thrive in an acidic environment. Learn about choices, habits, and patterns that support healthy vital cells and wellness.

S23. Do Your Feet Hurt? 

Stacey Quade

Energy for Life Connection* 


Joseph Quade MPT

Great Lake Therapies

Take the time to come and learn why your feet take such a beating and how you can apply these simple techniques to make them feel better.

In this class you will learn:

1. The basic structure of the foot and how it supports you.

2. The common problems affecting the feet; plantar fasciitis, bunions, corns, and more.

3. The common injuries; sprains, toe jambs, fractures.

4. What you can do to repair, rebuild, and give them some love, including herbal allies that can help relieve conditions of inflammation, and support and heal tissues in the musculoskeletal system.

S24. Introduction to Mushroom Cultivation

Matt Ratliff

Ready-2-Fruit Mushrooms

This basic introduction to mushroom cultivation will explain how to cultivate a variety of gourmet mushrooms at home using basic materials and simple techniques; allowing home gardeners to grow indoors annually or outdoors perennially.

S25. BackWoodBasics in the Kitchen: Saturday Night Pizza 

Mark Schultz


Fire up the oven on a Saturday night and get ready to prepare a delicious super thin crust pizza using the best of the summer's produce and other locally sourced ingredients. We'll be using locally sourced pork for the sausage, tomato sauce from our garden, Heritage wheat from Sunrise Mill, and basil from our GardenStream tabletop garden.

S26. Homeschooling/Unschooling During Uncertain Times and Beyond 

Susan Shepard and Julie Matvick

I AM Academy LLC

Susan Shepard and Julie Matvick of I AM Academy LLC, a nature-based supplemental learning and tutoring center, will present the advantages, requirements, and opportunities for parents/guardians to homeschool/unschool their school-aged kids during uncertain times and beyond. Having knowledge of this topic will help parents have the confidence to make an informed decision for the best interest of their child(ren), especially in the uncertainties of the present. This presentation could be especially beneficial for parents looking for ways to sustain current lifestyles and careers, free from the limitations of changing public school scheduling.

S27. Introduction to Yoga Nidra

Jennifer Smith

Nisswa Yoga

Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation also known as conscious sleep. In our fast-paced world of constant distraction, cumulative stress, and poor sleep, it can be a powerful tool to help us cope. It systematically takes your awareness from the outer world towards an inner state of peace. It’s both a practice and a state of being. The body falls asleep as your mind stays gently aware. Relieve stress, improve focus, and sleep better. In this workshop, you’ll learn a brief history of the practice and then experience a guided Yoga Nidra meditation. Appropriate for all ages, shapes, and sizes, the practice is done lying down, using blankets, pillows, and perhaps a bolster and an eye pillow.

S28. Bee Basics 

Tara Stang

Mann Lake Ltd.*

Have you ever thought about keeping bees or wondered why others do? There are many amazing reasons! Learn about the benefits of keeping your own bees, plus the basics of bee biology and hive social structure. 

S29. Introduction to Poultry 

Eric Stromberg

Stromberg's Chickens

This will be an introduction to raising poultry and what you will need to get started. We will talk about what products you will need, what to prepare for, and issues that may arise when rearing chicks. In part two of this video, you can learn how to butcher a chicken. Warning: Graphic Content!  (There is a warning in the video if you'd like to watch just the first half on raising chicks.)

S30. How to Grow Your Hydroponics 

Barry Thoele

Barry’s Cherries Hydroponic Produce

Learn how to grow using hydroponic disciplines. This class will also cover terminology and application, different systems for different crops, how to design and build your system, and necessary equipment and how to use it.

S31. Marketing Your Hydroponic Production 

Barry Thoele

Barry’s Cherries Hydroponic Produce

This class will cover system fine-tuning, do's and don'ts in hydroponics, identification and treatment of pests, planning your greenhouse for hydroponics, and planning planting and harvest cycles.

S32. Roll Out the Barrel: Build Your Own Wood-Fired Barrel Oven

Doug Weiss and Barb Mann

Balsam Moon

Do you dream of having your own wood-fired outdoor oven? Does a brick oven seem too daunting? Take an old steel drum barrel and convert it into an outdoor wood-fired oven that can bake up to a dozen loaves of bread at once, or six pizzas, or casseroles, roasted veggies, and more! This session will share the basic process and tips we learned through making one ourselves, from sourcing materials, and laying brick to sealing it all with cob.

S33. Easy Aquaponics, Part 1

Dave Wilson

Happy Dancing Turtle

Gardening, in general, can be relaxing and a great way to get rid of stress; watching fish in a peaceful aquarium makes it even better. Gain an understanding of aquaponic systems and the biology, how to build a reliable small scale system for home use, the cycling process, and what types of fish to use. We will cover the basics to get you started growing in an enjoyable and healthy way with Aquaponics!

S34. Easy Aquaponics, Part 2

Dave Wilson

Happy Dancing Turtle

Learn how to maintain a healthy system and keep happy fish, how to seed, and succession planting.  We will also cover nutrients in aquaponics, growing climates, and grow lights. Learn what you need and how to grow a healthy system in part 2 of Easy Aquaponics.

S35. Building a Solar Powered Hugelkultur Garden 

David Winkelman

Winkelman Solar LLC*

Jim Chamberlin

Happy Dancing Turtle

Planning a hugelkultur garden is not difficult and the garden produces well for decades because of composting wood in the trench and mound. Building the hugelkultur is fairly easy with a skidsteer, using dead wood and local dirt. Maintaining the hugelkultur is easy with proper planting and mulch. Harvesting the garden is fun and healthy. Keeping deer out is a challenge but we have found a special configuration of a solar-powered fence does the job.