Crete’s Aromatic Tapestry:

Celebrating Biodiversity and Medicinal Plant Riches of Greece

Crete’s Aromatic Tapestry

Event Summary

Join us on the breathtaking island of Crete, a renowned biodiversity hotspot with an extraordinary array of endemic and native medicinal plant species. This special event brings together experienced lecturers and special guests including a unique opportunity to engage with Crete’s rich botanical resources through lectures and hands-on activities. Led by experts in permaculture, clinical aromatherapy, and sustainability, Kurt Michael Arruda, Silvia Jimenez, Anna Papazoglou, Dr. Jacqui Stringer, and Dr. Kelly Ablard, highlight permaculture and sustainable harvesting, Cretan essential oils and hydrolats, practical applications of Greek medicinal and aromatic plants in clinical and home care, the role of chemotypes in our environment and practice, a special roundtable on the olive tree, guided meditation and chair yoga.

This unforgettable event not only offers a wealth of learning opportunities but also fosters a deep connection with Crete’s natural and cultural heritage, ensuring participants leave with both knowledge and memorable experiences. Don’t miss this unique chance to explore one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots and apply these insights in a practical and impactful manner!

October 18-20, 2024

Trip Theme:
Roi Farm and Airmid Institute Unite in Crete, Greece!

25 Spots

Registration Fee:
Early bird price until end of day (PT) July 15th, 2024
$475 USD

Regular price after July 15th:
$550 USD

Airmid Members Early bird price until end of day (PT) July 15th, 2024
$425 USD

Airmid Institute members after July 15th:
$475 USD

We will have details soon about accommodation!

Lectures and Special Guests

Welcome and Introduction

Jenny Charlton

Welcome and introduction to Roi Farm; a dedication to Roi Farm’s John Charlton

Tour of Roi Farm

Mixalis & Theano Flemetakis

Take a guided tour of ROI’s large piece of farmland near Exopolis in the Chania region of Crete. Originally owned by the late John Charlton whose vision was to create a permaculture farm.

Small artisan distillery: Sustainable farming, harvesting and distillation

Kurt Michael Arruda & Silvia Jimenez Català

  • You will explore the importance of working with local flora and sustainable practices to cultivate and harvest MAPs, including an introduction to permaculture and sustainable wild harvesting.
  • You will learn about sustainable MAP projects through the example of an artisan distillery.
  • You will understand the role of hydrosols in sustainability.

Remedies Box

Anna Papazoglou

  • Learn how to use the available plants of the area in a medicinal way.
  • Learn about the challenges these plants are facing in terms of sustainability.
  • Learn the links between cultural heritage and modern day practice.

The Wonder of local Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: A Nurse’s Perspective

Dr. Jacqui Stringer

  • Explore the integration of medicinal aromatic plants in clinical care, emphasizing their therapeutic benefits and the importance of evidence-based research.

Chemotype Consequences: Navigating the Impact on Biodiversity and Conservation

Dr. Kelly Ablard

  • Acquire knowledge on the susceptibility of chemotypes to climate change and the critical need for preserving their stability for ecological and therapeutic purposes.
  • Learn to appreciate the ecological and cultural value of maintaining native chemotypes.
  • Discover the advantages of local sourcing for conservation and community support.

Additional Sessions

Olive (Olea europaea) Round Table

Round table about the venerable olive (Olea europaea) tree. As a symbol of peace, wisdom, and prosperity in Greek tradition, the olive tree now faces sustainability challenges, including the impacts of climate change. This session will delve deeply into these pressing issues including those in the olive oil industry, such as adulteration and the sale of low-quality oil as high-end products. Additionally, we will highlight the challenges faced by local olive oil production and sourcing in Greece, discussing strategies to enhance the sustainability of olive cultivation and ensure the authenticity and environmental responsibility of olive oil production.

Crete’s Distillers Meet and Greet

Ildiko Berecz

Learn from renowned Cretan distiller, Ildiko Berecz. Discover the essential oils and hydrolats distilled locally and explore the opportunity to purchase these unique products.

Registration Fee Includes

  • Access to all workshops
  • Access to a guided medicinal and aromatic plant walk
  • Daily breakfast, snack, lunch, and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Access to the Olive (Olea europaea) Round Table which includes a tasting of locally sourced olives, olive oil, bread, a non-alcoholic beverage, and a glass of traditional Greek raki
  • A small take home gift
  • A chair yoga session
  • A guided meditation session
  • Assistance with arranging transportation to/from Chania airport

About Crete

Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, stands out for its exceptional biodiversity and distinctive ecological features, making it an essential hotspot for conservation efforts. The island’s varied landscapes, which include rugged mountains, fertile plains, rocky coasts, and sandy beaches, support an extensive variety of plant and animal life.

Home to more than 1,750 plant species, approximately 10% of which are endemic, Crete boasts a rich flora encompassing a variety of herbs, wildflowers, and trees such as oregano, thyme, sage, Cretan dittany, and Cretan date palm. As a biodiversity hotspot — a concept that denotes areas both rich in endemic species and facing significant habitat loss — Crete’s unique biodiversity is shaped by its isolation and diverse climates. The island’s mountainous regions, like the White Mountains (Lefka Ori), provide numerous microclimates that foster high levels of biodiversity, supporting species adapted to these specific conditions.

Location on Crete

About Roi Farm

A large piece of farmland near Exopolis in the Chania region of Crete. Originally owned by the late John Charlton whose vision was to create a permaculture farm. His daughter Jenny hopes to continue his legacy with a focus on permaculture, and protecting endemic and native medicinal and aromatic plants including Greek sage (Salvia fruticosa; S. pomifera), Cretan marjoram (Origanum microphyllum), dittany (Origanum dictamnus), ironword (Sideritis syriaca subsp. syriaca), and Greek thyme (Corridothymus capitatus)

The land is situated mid-way between the north coast of Crete and the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) nature preserve. Lefka Ori is one of the largest habitats for the endemic flora of Greece, home to 650 plant species. In addition, this magnificent mountainous National park has over 30 summits that are over 2,000 m (6,562 ft) high and about 50 beautiful gorges, among which the longest trekking gorge in Europe (Samaria). Furthermore, it is home to 200 birds, 3 amphibians, 12 reptiles and 32 mammal species.

John Charlton

John Charlton

Founder of Roi Farm

19th May 1958 – 20th March 2023

John was an engineer by trade and had a diverse career working on a wide variety of projects and travelling the world throughout his career.

He was very driven in his career, but also a loving partner to Jenny’s mother Jude and later also to his wife Angela. A loving, supportive and encouraging Father to his daughter Jenny and stepdaughter Kristina, and a doting grandfather to his grandchildren William and Daisy.

He was immensely proud of all of his biological family, including his brother, nephews and nieces but also of his extended family and friendship circle.

He visited Crete for the first time over 20 years ago and fell in love with the area, grasping wholeheartedly an opportunity to purchase a piece of farmland, which was eventually to become Roi Farm. Over the years there were many plans for the land which never quite came to fruition, and it was his final idea of using the land for permaculture development and teaching which inspired him to study permaculture and make something happen!

Sadly, the pandemic and then his illness meant these plans, although they had begun to be realized, were cut short. His daughter Jenny hopes that with the help of Airmid, a version of his vision can be continued, working to protect endemic medicinal and aromatic plants in Crete and sharing this vision through projects and teachings around permaculture involving the development of Roi Farm in this way.

Get Involved Today!

Get Involved Today!