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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Create a Thriving Local Herbal Community

Aug 31, 2015 08:26PM

Ten Ways to Get Started

by Molly Meehan
Farmers markets, CSA's, and local foods restaurants have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.  Consciousness around food justice, seasonal eating, and supporting our local farmers have become more common place. Yet herbalism, another a land-based profession that is central to our health, has remained fringe and poorly understood.

Here are some ways you can support your own vitality and wellness, learn more about medicinal plants and join in supporting an emerging local herbal movement:

Buy Local - Support local herbalists at the local food and farmers markets.  When an herbalist is at the local farmers market with a table full of teas, herbal salves, elderberry syrups and more, ask them questions to learn more.  This creates a relationship with those growing food and herbs and buyers can know that they are chemical-free, sustainably grown and that the people growing them are earning a living wage.  

Join a local Herbal CSA - Community Support Agriculture is an awesome way to incorporate local and seasonal foods into the diet, while supporting local farmers. There are several herbal CSAs in the greater Washington, D.C. area.  Check them out and join one.

Join a Local Plant Walk or Herb Class - The best way to begin to understand the world of medicinal plants is learning more from local experts. Join in on a local class or plant walk taught in the area.

 Get an Herbal Wellness Consultation - Modern allopathic medicine can be life-saving, but incorporating healthy lifestyle strategies including the use of medicinal herbs is unparalleled at preventing as well as supporting our healing from chronic disease.

Support Accessible Affordable Holistic Health Care - Support organizations providing holistic care at affordable/free costs to those who need this access.

 Engage the Youth and Honor Our Elders - The more we young people are exposed to herbs and plants, the more natural this knowledge and healthy practices will be integrated into their lives—long term. Engage elders in sharing their experiences and knowledge of herbs—they are incredible wisdom keepers.

 Visit Local Apothecary & Herb Shops - The greater D.C. area have a few where you can become acquainted with herbs.

 Don't Use Over-Harvested Medicinal Plants - When using herbs to support wellness, make sure to use abundant, and better yet, bio-regional herbs. Using local herbs help cut down on the carbon footprint on shipping herbs around the world. Also, stay away herbs that are at risk of being over-harvested in the wild.

Support Regional Herbal Farming -   Farming is not easy and we all should be in awe of those with the perseverance to do this noble work. If there was greater understanding of the toil that farmers and herbalists sustain, they wouldn’t have to feel deflated when people complain about their prices.  Regulations and policy have a long way to go to support herbal farming. Become an educated advocate for policies that can change this and support farmers with new income-opportunities through growing herbs.

 Come to the Chesapeake Herb Gathering - Everyone is highly encouraged to come to come to this annual intergenerational event, bringing together all regional herbalists, ethnobotanists, farmers, homesteaders and more, to exchange and build upon this knowledge locally. There will be 25 local speakers and an entire track for youth. For more information, plus the schedule of speakers, visit CentroAshe.org.

 Molly Meehan is passionate about community based herbal and food systems and specifically working cooperatively to keep the knowledge of our food, herbal medicine, seeds, and our healing traditions alive and vital within our communities! Molly coordinates programs for Centro Ashé Community Herbal Education based in Maryland and Talamanca, Costa Rica and also contracts with local organizations on community outreach, engagement and program design.

 Photo Attached:  Students in the Centro Ashé Grassroots Apprenticeship Program Photo By Lacey Walker

 

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