Through a Continuing Farmer Education Award granted from Organic Growers School, Melissa Kelmar, CRAFT Apprentice at The Lord’s Acre, had the opportunity to attend The Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference in October 2017. Read more about her experience below.
by Melissa Kelmar
The Wise Women’s Herbal Conference was a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in a community of women involved in all aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Three days of workshops taught me a huge amount about native medicinal plants and about myself both personally and professionally. I was introduced to new plants and techniques of healing, and new ways to connect with nature by tuning in to the “wise woman” within myself.
Because of my personal battle with digestive health, I benefited particularly from a workshop offered on “Herbs for Gut Health”, where I learned about the probiotic benefits of eating organic unwashed produce that still contain soil microorganisms. This only adds to my reasons to keep farm-fresh food as part of my diet and health-care routine. But this was only the beginning. One unique and somewhat surprising thing about this conference was its emphasis on holistic health that extends beyond the physical body. I was introduced to the ability of herbs to heal emotional ailments through aromatherapy, flower essence and meditation. Because I have always thought of a connection to nature as an essential part of holistic health, it was exciting to learn in one workshop how to communicate directly with the energy of a plant in meditation.
Overall, attending this conference served to confirm my decision to study herbal medicine professionally. I was introduced to the variety of professional opportunities available within herbal medicine which I had not previously considered. I now feel more confident moving forward and building knowledge on farming herbs, processing, and making plant medicines. I would like to learn to formulate medicine for myself and others, taking into account a holistic viewpoint of what it means to be healthy.
The Continuing Farmer Education grants were awarded to CRAFT Members in the Summer of 2017. Consider joining CRAFT to be the first to know of other awesome opportunities like this!
Author: Sera Deva
Sera Deva has a B.S. in Microbiology & Agroecology from The Evergreen State College. She was hired at OGS as the Farmer Programs Associate in 2016, and as the Conference Coordinator in 2017. She has served on the board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) since January 2018. When she’s not geeking out over genetics, systems theory or soil hydrology, she spends her time working for farmers, homesteading, and river jumping in the South Toe Valley in Burnsville, NC.