Lately, I've been musing on community and collaboration and the amazing things the two can accomplish.
For one thing, the Clinical Herbalist/Herbal Entrepreneur course over at the Academy is nearly complete! I'm so grateful to have been invited to participate in creating this phenomenal resource- the amount of dedication, research, and inspiration that has gone into this program by everyone involved is breathtaking. As always, the Academy has done a stellar job involving an entire, beautiful community in their project- and there's nothing else out there that's quite like the end result!
For another, I am thrilled to be coming on board as the Community Herbalist at The Wrens Nest Center for Wellbeing in Dalton, Georgia, where I will be hosting garden walks, volunteer garden days, and monthly classes. Monthly classes have officially started, and we're looking at having a garden meet-and-greet on the 25th, so be sure to stay tuned for pics and more updates!
Cindy Michaels, who founded Wrens Nest with her late husband, Marty, has brought a beautiful wellness center to life in northwest Georgia, and her vision-made-real includes a community space with a walking trail, labyrinth, outdoor yoga platform, raised garden beds, and a native plants garden. I'll be working with Cindy and Wrens Nest to revitalize and expand on the herbal aspects of the garden in the coming months.
The garden was mostly left to its own direction this year, and has become a wild tumble of beebalm, wild carrot, false indigo, meadow sage, passionflower, lavender, and echinacea. I was able to begin taming some of the taller plants this week so that the smaller ones don't have to want for sunlight. The rain has made the ground soft and perfect for the first stages of work!
If you remember my community herbalism project, Common Branch Herb School, you will no doubt be just as excited as I am that this collaboration with Wrens Nest fits perfectly with many of the goals of the School. Wrens Nest will also be an ideal place to host Common Branch core classes on a regular basis, and to host herbal workshops and lectures by visiting herbalists.
My work at each of these unique places- Wrens Nest, Common Branch, The Herbal Academy, and here at Indie Herbalist- comes from a common place of love. Connecting people and plants gives me a sense of purpose and pure joy, and I consider my vocation as an herbalist to be one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.
If you keep your fingers to the pulse of the herbal community as a whole, you will quickly realize that my experience isn't an isolated one. It's a very exciting time to be an herbalist! We're in the midst of what feels like an herbal renaissance. So many wonderful community resources, herbalist-visionaries, socially minded herbal enterprises, gorgeous books, new courses, and new opportunities are available at every turn.
So come on in and join us! Whether you are just beginning your herbal journey or have been walking this path for many years, there are many ways to reach out and become a part of the larger herbal community. Here is a small sampling of resources to get you started:
Herb Rally has a lively webpage that features herb schools, events, and media like podcasts and webinars. Keep an eye on it for listings of events in your area. It's run by Mason Hutchison, the events and outreach coordinator of Mountain Rose Herbs.
Chapters of the American Herbalist's Guild
Most of the chapter meetings of the AHG are open to the public as well as to members of the guild, so these are a great place to meet some of your local herbal crowd. I've been a member in the past and really should renew. Our chapter is very lively and full of great professional and lay herbalists alike, plus they host workshops on a regular basis featuring a wide variety of herbalists from near and far.
Herbal Academy of New England's Top Picks
The Academy put together a not-to-be-missed list of their favorite blogs and magazines. If you're interested in checking out the online community of bloggers and periodicals, this is a great resource to get you started.
United Plant Savers Sanctuary Network
This organization's driving purpose is to build a network of botanical sanctuaries for plant conservation. Many of our native medicinal plants are at risk, and by creating sanctuaries we can raise public awareness while maintaining the biodiversity needed for healthy wild plant communities.
At it's heart, herbalism is all about collaboration and community. Collaboration between plants forming ecosystems and gardens; collaboration between plants and people as we work towards wellness for ourselves and the natural world; and collaboration between people as we build communities together that place wellness, connection, and relationships at their hearts.
What's at the heart of your herbal community? I'd love to hear your thoughts on your herbal community and what it means to you, so please feel free to drop me a note in the comments below!
All the Best,