I am so happy to be presenting at the Botanica 2022 conference, on behalf of Herbalists Without Borders, on Using Tools for PTSD When Working in Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Aid.
As an herbalist and an aromatherapist, I find that our industries often cleave them into two opposing forces, divided, when in fact I think they should be united. I believe in sustainable aromatherapy, and I believe in sustainable herbalism. I think both modalities compliment each other and provide us with specific properties, effects, and tools to support those we serve.
I am so happy to be speaking at this conference, with so many wonderful scientists and clinical aromatherapists, to talk about using these amazing plants as tools when working with trauma. To find out more or to register for the conference, visit:
Stop by the Herbalists Without Borders virtual booth and say hi if you attend!
It is seed season. Back in 2018 I started the first US Seed Grant by gathering donated seeds from companies and sharing them out to HWB gardens around the US. Early on, all seeds were from seed companies, and they included fruit, veggies, culinary herbs, flowers, and of course some medicinal herbs. Food justice is health justice, so growing fresh food is so important and food seeds are as important as medicinal seeds - but to be honest, since most seed companies do not specialize in medicinal seeds, we didn't have enough medicinal herb seeds. We really needed more. So, I started buying medicinal seeds for my own garden (not that I need an excuse to buy more herb seeds, ahem), and then saving them to continue growing out to get more and more seeds to share. I grow herbs for free clinics, but I also grow a lot of plants that I also grow out just for seeds now. Over the past year or two there have been other HWB members and herb schools that are also now saving and sharing seeds back so we have more medicinals to share out as well. So, this year, I am so happy to be bagging up hundreds of packets of medicinal seeds from Lunar Hollow to donate to the HWB Seed Grant Program. It is very satisfying to bag up so many seeds for seed sharing.
Even after bagging up over 400 packets of seeds (yes, four hundred! woot), I still have more bulk seed left to grow out this year in the garden, and, to include in seedling sales for others this spring as well.
I have many new herb varieties I have purchased this year to grow out and hope to share seeds from those in the future. I will be growing new herbs such as Balkan Mountain Tea, Greenthread, Huacatay, Kkaennip, Labrador Bog Tea, New Jersey Tea, Green Pepper Basil, Perilla, Pushkarmool, Safflower, Hoary Skullcap, a few new types of Tulsi, Yauhtli, Hairy Wood Mint, and more. So excited to be starting seeds in my seed trays, and planning and plotting the gardens for summer. It is the perfect time to sort through all of the successes of last summer and bag seeds to share. I hope to share more about growing medicinals this summer, as well as tips for seed starting and propagating woody cuttings. Seed starting season always comes just as winter feels like it has been here forever, and I need growth and light to grow.
What are you growing this year you have never grown before?
I like giving regular updates on things. It helps me feel like I am recognizing the work I am doing, and, marking the time and passage of the things I am doing. In this work people often do not focus on any self care - well, I know I don't, anyway - and so it is a steamroller full speed ahead. By sharing updates, I feel more that I am recognizing my own work.
It has been a hard few weeks. My mother passed away suddenly on her birthday at home. We were able to see her urn and have a few minutes by ourselves before everyone arrived (we had to leave as people came in), but it was hard to not be able to be included in any memorial service due to my son being immunocompromised, and the service having so many people. It helped with some sense of closure, but also felt pretty sad and alienating.
But with that all happening, I have been struggling a bit. Luckily, I had several huge deadlines that I had just completed 2 days before she passed. So that helps me feel like I accomplished something, even though the past 2 weeks have been a wash.
One project I completed is as a guest presenter for a Health Justice and Accessibility Intensive for Wild Rose College of Herbal Medicine (MORE INFO HERE). I am presenting a series of 3 webinars on accessibility, community herbalism, and using social permaculture in community models, followed by a live Q&A coming up in March. I have been wanting to begin teaching more again, and this is a perfect way to get into the swing of presenting and recording myself for webinars and classes. I hope to do a lot more online teaching in 2022.
I was also interviewed for an Integrative Medicine publication that will be out in a few months, and interviewed for a video module within an Integrative Medicine program online - a "Meet the Herbalist" type of interview - where I was able to share more about the profession of herbalism, our work, the state of the profession in the US, finding an herbalist, and more. I will share more when some of these pieces go live!
I am also working on a few modular courses on Herbal First Aid and Trauma-Informed Practice, and am planning some more social permaculture and garden design webinars and online classes for this spring.
It is also seed starting season! We will be selling some seedlings on the farm this spring - if you are a local and might be interested in seedlings (veggie, fruit, culinary herb, medicinal herb, flowers), please fill out the interest form. It is just to help us get an idea of what types of plants people would be most interested in so we can start enough seedlings! (FILL OUT FORM)
I am happy my teenagers want to do all of the seedling work with me this year - and are helping me create spreadsheets to calculate it all and will be helping manage the plants until they are hardened off and ready for purchase/pickup. So excited for even the thought of spring. How about you?
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.