By Jackie Dobrinska
August, 12th 2014
As you may have noticed, the herbal garden at The Lord’s Acre has blossomed this year. It is full of amazing medicinal herbs – from Echinacea and Spilanthes (great immune building herbs) to Tulsi and Ashwaganda (powerful adaptogens that help ameliorate the impacts of stress.)
In this second year of growth, the garden is not only deepening its perennial roots, but also providing habitat for beneficial insects and offering great beauty to the community at large. We have recently finished a beautifully rendered map of the garden (thanks to Carson Whitmore’s talented artistry). This will be will be printed and posted soon. Also under development, and very close to completion, is an accompanying “Materia Medica” which shows the uses, history and harvesting needs of each plant on the map. This will make the garden more “user friendly” to anyone who stops by.
We are also ready for the next stage of development — to make these wonderful herbs available to the community while supporting the mission of The Lord’s Acre. To do this, we are getting creative. Herbs, to be made into medicines and safely given to the public, must be processed in a facility that is compliant with the FDA’s Best Management Practices. A local herb company does, and is interested in getting involved.
Jeannie Dunn, a passionately engaged herbalist who runs Red Moon Herbs, is interested in harvest of the herbs and making an appropriate financial donation to The Lord’s acre in exchange. Next year, we hope to broaden the exchange, both with Red Moon Herbs and potentially another local herbal company, to also include final products of tinctures and teas that can be used in the development of a local herbal free clinic.
A free clinic would bring herbal medicine to people who need them, making sure they are dispensed appropriately along with the educational component of how to use them. We are currently talking with the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine who may bring their clinical students to the Saturday morning markets to distribute the finished herbal products. We hope to enlist other local herbalists as well.
Next year, we also are planning another fundraiser, this one offering not only donated tinctures at reduced rates, but also the extra perennial starts that can be taken for the health of the garden while spreading herb gardens into the community. We also hope to have more educational programs on herbs – which I’m currently developing as part of a larger curriculum.
This herbal garden is unique in nature and has great potential for the community. Alyssa Sacora (TLA board member) and Carson Whitmore (2013 TLA intern) are offering their highly skilled talent, energy and enthusiasm to this project and if you are interested in learning more or in becoming involved, contact me, Jackie Dobrinska, at Jldobrinska [at] gmail [dot] com