Pathways SU24 Digital Magazine


Wild Ginger Community Herbal Center: Local Roots for Global Learning

to create new connections, friendships, and build relationships with the plants. We always seek to weave together and deepen our under- standing of the interrelationships in our ecological and human com- munities, and learn the tools to move forward with care, compassion, a deep sense of justice, knowing each small part of a person or plant or action is part of an interconnected whole. St. John’s Wort Harvest


More than a decade ago, we recognized the need for accessible opportunities for our community to learn about folk healing ways. As an herbalist, mama, birthworker, and plant lover, as well as a de - scendant of settlers, who grew up in Maryland, I dreamt of creating a space where folks could come and learn and remember the knowledge that is held within each of our respective lineages as well as build rela- tionships centering care of the plants and of each other. With that in mind, I founded Wild Ginger Community Herbal Center in 2012, and it has taken root in the small town of Bryans Road, Southern Mary - land, just 20 miles south of DC ( Now, I manage our programs together with my husband, Javier Brown, a land tender and tour guide born into a family of agricultur - alists, farmers and chocolate growers in the Afro Costa Rican commu - nity, along with our kids. At Wild Ginger, we are dedicated to keeping herbal, plant, land-based, healing and birthing knowledge dynamic and vital at the community level. We love working with folks who are part of our communities to bring these educational spaces alive! Wild Ginger began with the goal to both embody and reflect the folks who practice herbalism in our communities in inclusive ways. For 10+ years we have had the joy and the honor to work with hun - dreds of teachers to create programs and collective learning expe- riences. At the center of our work is relationship-building between the plants, ourselves, and with each other. Together we utilize a wide variety of ways to share knowledge in hopes to weave a story of herb- alism, healing, food and birth that reflects the many different lineag - es, traditions, cultures, values and identities that our community is made up of. We’ve served thousands of students at our herbal center in Southern Maryland, in our beloved online programs, as well as in our traditional herbal and foodways programs in Costa Rica. Here is a closer look at some of our efforts, which involve grow - ing herbs for donation to local mutual aid organizations, running our Medicine Keepers Community Herbalism Certificate Program, host - ing herb camps for kids as well as the Chesapeake Herb Gathering, and more!

Learning along with the plants’ seasonal rhythms is a central part of our programs at Wild Ginger Herbal Center in Maryland. Here we harvested St. John’s Wort in order to create a topical oil ex- traction, a powerful medicinal preparation traditionally used to support pain relief, anti-viral, and supportive of our nerves. Though the flowers are red, the oil be - comes a vibrant red once extract- ed because of the constituent hypericin.

Flower Essences Flower Essences are created by encoding the energetic imprint of a flower’s vital energy into water, and then preserved. They are supportive of our emotional, mental and spiritu- al patterns; honestly, just the process of creating them is healing in itself! Each summer we create flower es - sences together at Wild Ginger.

Chesapeake Herb Gathering in Maryland Since 2013 we have hosted the Chesapeake Herb Gath- ering, an intergeneration- al event bringing together herbalists, healers, youth, birthkeepers and land- based peoples. The week- end includes workshops,

live music, art, community connection, artisans market, youth activi- ties and so much more. Each year this event is a fundraiser for a local organization.

Medicine Keepers Community Herbal Program in Maryland Our annual Medicine Keepers Community Herbal Certificate Pro - grams offer our community members the chance to dive deep into the extensive foundations of herbalism. We learn to grow, process and create herbal medicines with plants we tend throughout the seasons that students can bring home and build their own apothecaries. Our incredible faculty of teachers embody the path of herbalism in many inspirational and creative ways! This program has always been an amazing place to come together

Wild Ginger in Costa Rica: Herbal & Foodways Im- mersion Each year we offer several programs centering the tradi- tional herbal and foodways of

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PATHWAYS—Summer 24—9

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