This past year the Herbalista Free Clinic expanded services by adding a new member to our fleet. In January 2015, the Herb Cart hit the pavement to join the Herb Bus providing free herbal healthcare around the Atlanta area.
Together these herb-stations-on-wheels facilitated 38 clinics in 2015, serving hundreds in our local community!
We continued to pour sweet, sweet herbal medicine, custom compounding all sorts of remedies for our patients, from teas to tinctures to oils and more! And though we are mobile, we provide regular opportunities for refills so that we can be a service folks can depend on! Over the course of 2015 we poured over 6 gallons of extract blends, 8 pounds of loose herbal blends, 1500 capsules blends, a quart of fixed oil preparations, dozens of aromatic inhalers, salves, spritzers and more!
We served at herbal first aid stations around the country. At these stations, herbalists and conventional practitioners (nurses, EMT’s, ect.) work together, providing patient focused healthcare.
This year the Bus drove nearly 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education in Atlanta and around the country. The 2015 Herbalista Expedition was the Herb Bus’ most ambitious trip yet, clocking 8,000 miles and covering over 20 states during her 2 month voyage.
Viva la Herb Bus!
And while we do rely on donations from the greater community, we are always striving to create more of a self-supporting system, from seed to remedy! This past year we watched Herbalista evolve from a “free clinic” into a “health network.”
( And we’re not done yet. Stay tuned for this year’s Seed Library!)
And as usual, our programming combined service with education!
We made new friends and reconnected with old ones!
We look forward to a new year filled with herbalistic adventures in healthcare…
Each fall I load up the bus and drive to the North Carolina mountains. Destination: the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference! This annual gathering of women and children is now in it’s 11th year! I am honored to facilitate the Herbal First Aid Station and hold a safe space for our gatherers.
It takes a crew and this year we were lucky to have 6 herbalists and 2 EMT’s providing around the clock care. Here are a few photos from this year’s station. Next year’s gathering will be October 14th – 16th… hope to see you there!
And we’re home! Once again, our sweet lil’ Herb Bus took this Herbalista safely around the country and back. This year’s expedition ended up covering 8,000 miles of Americana. 8,000 miles of changing circumstance. 8,000 miles of lush forests and scorching drought. 8,000 miles of dilemmas and discovery, scarcity and opportunity, of pain and of healing. It was 8,000 miles to share and to learn. 8,000 miles to think and 8,000 miles to dream.
I thank everyone who gave me this chance. Much appreciation to the clinics and practitioners who hosted me, love to the friends and family who shared my journey, and gratitude to the mighty crew who held it down in the ATL and made it all possible.
And the crew I speak of is larger than Herbalista. It is larger than the Big House or the Open Door Community. Our crew rolls deep. We may not always know each other, but we are headed in the same direction. We may not have realized we had each other’s backs, but we defend the same rights and stand by the same ideals.
A big shout-out to the urban agrarians; the homesteaders and humanitarians; the craftsmen and caretakers; the teachers and radicals; the permaculturalists and pacifists; the wellness warriors and earth champions. Thank you friends of the field, the forest, the street, and the subway. May we continue to rally together, for health and community!
This summer I had the pleasure of returning to volunteer at the LA Catholic Worker’s Foot Clinic. Every Friday they serve the homeless at their center on Skid Row. Lovingly called the “Hippy Kitchen” this is a center for hospitality, offering clinics and meals and more.
The LA Catholic Worker House is a sister community to our Open Door here in Atlanta. We have had a couple of opportunities to visit each other’s foot clinics and share our knowledge and trade ideas. I had such a wonderful time and hope I have the chance to return again soon!
Still buzzing from the Radical Herbalism Gathering in England, I have packed up the Bus and now begin a 2 month expedition around this wild and wondrous county. I will be visiting and serving in free clinics and foot clinics along the way and look forward to sharing my adventures with all of you.
Please join us at the Big House each month for access to an array of health services, including Herbal Therapy, Yoga, Reflexology, and more. Services are on a first come, first serve basis, but while you wait your turn, please take part in the free health education classes we will have running throughout the day or take the opportunity to make new friends.
In Atlanta (our herbal hub) we continued regular services at our 2 Herb Bus Stations,
conducting 148 consultations over the course of 22 clinics.
At these monthly clinical rounds, we poured endless pots of seasonal tea, dispensed 6 1/2 gallons of customized tincture formulas (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), 14#’s of raw custom herbal and powder blends, and a variety of other remedies including aromatic inhalers, herbal capsules, and oil rubs.
We served at several herbal first aid stations including:
The Bus drove over 10,000 miles delivering healthcare and herbal education around the country.
We shared the Herb Bus model of healthcare with classes and communities from Atlanta to California. Some of our hosts included Ponderosa High School, the California School of Herbal Studies, Sacred Plant Traditions, Five Flavors Herbs, Homestead Atlanta, and the High Museum of Art.
We expanded our efforts to make community herbalism sustainable by initiating new programs that combine service with education:
Coming in 2015, this service project of the Herbalista Free Clinic will provide free, earth-based care and health education. This pop-up first aid station will set up at soup kitchens and at other marginalized communities around the Atlanta area. We hope this project will not only place more healing herbs into the hands of the people, but also provide an educational opportunity for those looking for herbal, hands on, clinical training.
If you have been looking for a way to put your herbal knowledge to work, if you are looking for a chance to serve your community, then here is the chance to do BOTH!!
To volunteer with the Cart you must meet the following requirements:
CPR and First Aid Certified within the last 2 years. This can be through any number of organizations, such as the Red Cross, American Heart Association, etc. This must be completed prior to attending an Herb Cart Weekend Training Session.
Attend an Herb Cart Weekend Training Session (Herbal First Aid, Herb Cart Protocol, etc.) Each training session is limited to 8 participants. Contact Lorna to register and make payment arrangements.
Train at the Harriet Tubman Free Foot Clinic at least twice (Safety and Sanitation, Clinical Flow, Anti-Oppressive Practice, etc.) This clinic meets every Wednesday Night at the Open Door Community.
Demonstrate herbal competence, compassion & pragmatism as a health worker. Please note, participation in the program is at the discretion of the Herbalista Crew.
We will schedule Herb Cart Clinics on various Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s throughout the year.
To enroll in this project, please email Lorna@herbalista.org
Each year we set up an Herbal First Aid Station at the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference to support this gathering of over 1000 women and children. Our clinic is a collaborative effort between EMT’s and Herbalists, as we strive to provide compassionate care for this temporary community. For more information on the clinic (such as how we stock it, staff it, the forms we use, etc.) please check out the SEWHC Herbal First Aid Station Manual. This Manual is a free pdf download available at the herbalista website. And for a glimpse inside this year’s clinic, check out our photo album.
The weather was lovely this year, the overall energy was so joyful, and I was particularly moved by the keynote given by Rosita Arvigo on service and the dharma of a healer. While I am not situated to speak on the concept of “dharma,” I do know that while our work as herbalists (or any community healthcare provider) is often beautiful. It also requires that we witness and work with deep emotional and physical pain. When we partner with our patients through their struggles, we can be at risk of neglecting our own needs or those of our loved ones. It can also be hard to grapple with the suffering of multiple patients all in the same day. This is what can make a gathering like the Southeast Women’s to be so important, as it brings together a community, all of whom are dedicated to this path. It gives us a chance to nurture and support each other, a chance for care-takers to be cared for. We are grateful to have the chance to do just that.
The final stop on the Herb Bus’s 2014 west Coast Tour, was at Ponderosa High School in Flagstaff, AZ. This is my second year visiting this accomodations high school that is tasked with educating a diverse and underserved group of teens. The Bus was hosted by the Terra BIRDSprogram, a local nonprofit that teaches kids stewardship and sustainability through gardening. Together with the students they have turned what was once desert pavement, into an incredible example of permaculture in action.
This Tuesday morning, we set up the Bus so the students could learn more a bit about what we do at the Herbalista Free Clinic. After showing the medicine kits and describing the type of healthcare we provide, we stepped into their garden and talked about the plants they had already growing around them. I was honored to get to share my work on the Bus with them and look forward to another visit!