Welcome to Wholly Rooted. I (Denise Cusack) am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, writer, medicinal herb grower, cook, designer, artist, wife, and mother of two unschooled teenagers.
After many years dealing with allergies and health issues experienced by my oldest son (mast cell disease and severe food allergies, to name a few), I took my studies from home herbalist to clinical herbalism through many years of intensive study, mentorship, and clinical hours. I have about 17 years of experience working with my own family and over 10 years of experience working in a more extended community, including volunteering as a clinical herbalist with the Veterans Resiliency Holistic Clinic since 2017.
For many years I grew medicinal plants and food in urban lots, then a suburban yard, followed by a few years in community gardens. I then spent a few summers gardening at a friends farm with larger and larger beds, and, finally, in 2018 we moved to our own few acres in the country where I grow vegetables, fruit, and culinary herbs in addition to an expanding medicinal herb list. We have many native plants on our land, and we steward existing medicinals while also planting additional plants native to our area. I am a beekeeper, a gardener, a permaculturist, a chicken whisperer, forager and land steward. Lunar Hollow farm is in the Botanical Sanctuary Network of United Plant Savers.
I believe healthcare is a human right, not a privilege, and am passionate about providing access to holistic heath to all, no matter their economic status, race, religion, gender identifier, or nationality. To that end, I work where I can in health justice, herbal health access, free clinics, community apothecaries, and mutual aid.
I believe In lifting up marginalized communities and supporting community leaders who serve their own communities, getting them the resources and tools they need to make radical change happen in their own towns and regions. With that, I also volunteer as the Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders, an international health justice and humanitarian aid nonprofit organization.
Basically, I live and breathe herbalism, and live close to the land with my homeschooled teenagers, husband, dog, 2 cats, 6 chickens, thousands of plants, and about 60,000 honeybees.
Things About Me. ~I am almost six feet tall. ~I am a beekeeper. ~I volunteer full time for several health justice and herbal nonprofits ~I use permaculture, organic, and biodynamic principles in life and garden ~I worked as Creative Director for many, many years - magazines, direct marketing, interactive design, illustration, and print design. ~I grow hundreds of varieties of plants - including medicinals - every year in my gardens. ~We roast our own coffee. ~I am an ordained Minister. ~I am mother to an amazingly brilliant boy on the spectrum who has mast cell activation syndrome and severe food & environmental allergies. ~We have 6 chickens. ~I am a speed reader, so I can get through dozens of books per week. And I do. You should see our library checkout piles. ~I am INTJ. ~My husband is 10 years younger than me. ~My husband is a genius. Literally. ~My children have never gone to school (Homeschoolers!) ~I have RA and Lupus. ~I have a BA from Columbia College in Arts Business Administration with specializations in music, fine art & audio engineering. ~I volunteer a lot. ~I have a photographic memory. ~I still work as a designer for people that align with my ethics - designing print materials, branding, websites, packaging, signage and even eBooks for small, eco-oriented organic businesses. ~I twirled fire and knives for years - opening for bands in Chicago. ~I was 35 when my first son was born, 37 for my second. ~I love to write, paint, sing, and create. ~I talk to my plants when I work in my gardens. ~I respect my kids, love my kids, and LIKE my kids. ~My teenagers still like to hang out with me. ~I see everything in pictures.