Almost a year ago I decided to convert my vegetable garden to medicinal herbs. I spent the spring scouring every nursery for plants, visited local farms, and slowly planted beds a few plants at a time.
My goal was to start a Community Supported Herbalism project: a seasonal apothecary share of freshly made herbal products with herbs grown on our homestead or sustainably wildcrafted from nature. I had a very limited amount of members and spent the season tending to the herbs and making fresh plant remedies. My love of herbs and the earth deepened. My ties with my community grew. Somewhere in July with my whole face buried deep in a bed of tulsi, I knew I had truly fallen into a place I was meant to be. It just felt right.
This winter I sat and looked over my notes, at what worked and what didn't. What was popular with my members and what they were unsure about. I read wonderful books. I learned and grew as a herbalist and new (dare I say) herb farmer. I chose new plants to add this year – thinking of both my needs as a herbalist and the pollinators I share my growing space with. I'll be adding at least one more raised bed, perhaps two as my plant heart and growing space usually do not communicate with one another well. Our program will expand to include 24 members for 2017. Slow & steady growth.
I have big dreams for the future. Within the next year, I will be digging up the bulk of these herbs (mostly perennials) and moving them north to the farm in New York. In five years I hope to be settled in our new farmhouse, selling my herbs & products at the tiny local farmer's market and teaching in our new community. I see my dream unfolding, little by little. As a person who struggles to keep herself in the moment – always caught up in planning for the next move – these plants are literally grounding me. With every weed to pull. Seedling to care for. Flower and leaf to harvest. Medicine to make. Knowledge to share. They grab hold of my wanderlust and keep it from carrying me away.
And this time of year I sketch maps for bed plans, recipes for products and make list after list, almost like a farmer……
ps – if you are interested in our CSH program (herbal apothecary share), click on the link to read more about it. we ship in the US & Canada and have 10 spaces left for the 2017 season – we are also hosting a giveaway of one share on Instagram this week!