I have been working with plant material all my life, I come from a very long lineage of gardeners/farmers on both sides of my family. It's not a wonder that at 6 year of age I made honeysuckle jello, candy violets, mint syrups in my drinks and always check out gardens, water ways,forests and paths for plants.
As a child my parents spent many hours visiting with friends whom later opened up an animal refuge and learning center. As a little one, I was taken to the woods and taught about Teaberry,mountain mint,mushrooms, mosses, lichens, fiddle heads and more. I was taught how to gather many of the plants to make healing salves, ointments, tinctures and soaps.
As I got older it dawned on me that I had been trained on the property of one of the United State's best known herbal Doctors, Dr James Still. Dr Still was a Pinelands Dr in the late 1800. His brother Peter was the father of the Underground Rail Road and assisted many slaves on their path to freedom.
It was a little ironic, since I have been friend with Francine Still since I was about 9 years old. Francine is the great-great granddaughter of Dr James Still. She and I can laugh and carry on for hours, as if we have know each other many many times over.
Two year ago I was approached by the New Jersey State Historian and was asked to be involved with the making of a DVD on Dr James Still. It was such a great honor to be asked and of course i said "Yes". With many weeks of preperation and anticipation, the DVD was produced. Francine said to me the night of its debut,"you are now part of the Legacy".
Two weeks later Francis and I had lunch, during lunch our conversation again, lead to " The Legacy". Francine said to me, "there is only one person left with this knowledge, are you going to die with the legacy left in you or share it". This statement left me with some very deep food for thought, how could I share the legacy.
Over the next two months I spent time develping curriculum, preparing workbooks, handouts, places to hunt wild's, weeds and herbs. I then put a notice in our local health food news, facebook, emails and more. My dream was to have 6 herbal students follow me for one year. To my wonderous suprise, I now have 18 students. They meet with me once a month and we spend all day herbaling, it is so wonderful to have such great people and the help is awesome too!
One of the class projects is for them to come to this site and join in. They are all gardeners, they all eat organically and are a total gift to me and their future clients.
I look forward to their inter-actions here too!
The picture is of my healing centers medicinal cabinet with my wares to sell.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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