Basic herbal knowledge for self-care is a human right, a need embedded in our evolutionary DNA, and all the more vital in a time of decreasing healthcare and increasing healthcare discrimination!
I created Online Herbal Summer Camp because I’m passionate about health justice and about herbalism as “the people’s healthcare”!
Health justice seeks to not just bridge gaps in accessibility, but to dismantle systems of oppression in favor of new ways of doing things that provide open access to all.
Once upon a time, all of our ancestors lived in harmony with the land, depending on it for sustenance and nurturing it as it nurtured and nourished them. If they had a cut they knew which herb to pick. They knew what plant to turn to for an upset stomach or indigestion. Rashes and bug repellants were at their finger tips. In fact, etnobotanists have found that chamomile was one of the very first crops ever planted, suggesting that herbal knowledge extended back into the paleolithic era. We quite literally evolved to live in harmony with nature, using herbs!
Unfortunately, systems of oppression, genocide, capitalism, and patriarchy have pushed aside the common plant knowledge and self-healing-wisdom our ancestors carried. Traditional healers were burned or hung as witches. Women were forbidden from practicing medicine. People were stollen from their land and forced into slavery on another continent. Whereas land had once been their joy and sustenance, it now became a tool of torturous oppression at the hands of those who cared nothing about harmony with the land and cared everything about capitalism. Natives here were driven from their home lands, their hunting and gathering grounds. Their medicine and their spirituality were one, and yet their religion was outlawed in the US until the 1970's (yes, despite a constitutional freedom of religion!) resulting in deep losses of healing wisdom. Native children were forced from their families into residential schools in a system of cultural genocide. Through it all, systemic racism and oppression became the backbone of where our culture is at today. The Civil Rights Movement and other moves for freedom have only begun to address these issues.
As a result, few people today know the power of plants, and fewer still have access to this knowledge and the wellness it provides. The way our culture is set up at present, especially here in the United States, herbalism is an expensive, out-of-pocket, alternative healthcare modality that’s available only for those who are privileged enough to know about and to afford such things. This is further complicated by the fact that we are at times using indigenous and traditional remedies that have been lost to and are no longer affordable to the very people whose cultures we robbed them from!
Again... health justice seeks to not just bridge gaps in accessibility, but to dismantle systems of oppression in favor of new ways of doing things that provide open access to all.
Online Herbal Summer Camp - and my other seasonal online herbal workshops - are an attempt to build a new container or system capable of providing widespread access to basic herbal knowledge.
Research shows that most folks in the developed world have internet access via smart phones and even more via libraries or internet cafes. Even in the developing world many people have internet access. By offering these workshops online, they become accessible to English speakers worldwide. Last year there were participants from 6 continents!
But what about cost? I offer these workshops on a sliding scale basis to make them affordable to most everyone. In the future, I'd like to explore scholarship and/or grant opportunities that can further bridge the gap for people from other nations. I'd also like to partner with herbalists from other nations to offer a similar structure but with herbs that might be more easily accessible in other nations/climates. If you are an herbalist interested in this work, do let me know! And if you know more about grants for such work, I'm all ears!
By participating in all four seasonal workshops, participants gain a wide body of basic knowledge empowering them to use herbs for themselves and their families - and a foundation of knowledge on which they can easily build further, should they choose to.
Online Herbal Summer Campwww.rebeccagraceandrews.com/online-herbal-summer-camp.html - participants learn herbs, recipes and techniques for basic herbal first aid.
Online Herbal Harvest Fest - we cover basic herbs, recipes, and techniques for immune fortification and cold and flu symptoms.
Online Herbal Winter Retreat - this session focuses on herbs and recipes for mood boosting, sleep, and exquisite self-care - an R&R session.
Online Herbal Spring Awakening - in the spring we cover herbs for rejuvenation, cleansing, and energy - following the burst of new life around us.
Each session is 4 weeks in length and held online, on a private Facebook page which provides an online room to chat, post photos, request feedback, and network with others in one's corner of the world as well as with folks around the world. I post a few fun herbal quizzes and conversation starters as well as the course info.
On Mondays the herbal info goes out - PDF info files and sometimes instructional videos. This year we'll also be making use of the live Facebook video feature! In addition to the Monday herbal info, Wild Wednesdays focus on nature connection and bonding around sharing of photos and art inspired by one's time in nature. Finally, each week there are special activities just for the sweet children amongst us - for they are our future! 💕