On Saturday, September 30, the Madison Chapter of Herbalists Without Borders hosted a Community Herb Swap at Tenney Park in Madison, WI. The co-coordinators for the Madison Chapter are Carrie Ann Welsh and Shannon Renne. They have been leading this very active chapter for awhile, and always host fun & well-attended events.
The herb swap was perfect - a beautiful sunny autumn day, under the trees. Carrie Ann and Shannon brought many blankets to spread on the ground, and then everyone who attended brought something to share. The blankets held an array of fresh and dried herbs, seeds, tinctures, capsules and more. Some name brand items were traded, and some homegrown and homemade as well.
"The herb swap was an opportunity for folks in Madison to be able to do something simple to connect with each other, to give freely and take what they needed. We had organized the herb swap before the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, and by the time we gathered at the park, it felt more like a drive for HWB clinics than for people to restock their home apothecaries. We ended up with a lot of herbal medicine to send where it's needed, in Puerto Rico and other places affected by recent disasters." ~Carrie Ann
The idea was to tie in with being mindful of our consumption and not letting things go to waste. By bringing something and taking something, everyone could find what they needed, and if they took less than they brought, the remaining would be donated to HWB for our herbal first aid kits.
"It's always amazing to me how much people are willing to stretch and give when they have the opportunity. All they needed was some blankets under a tree at the park and a time to show up! Madison in particular is a great place for an herb swap because so many folks are interested in making medicine and growing healing herbs, and it's a town that considers itself action-oriented, but I think this could work anywhere. These kind of events seem simple but their effects are profound--they result in generosity, connection, and care." ~Carrie Ann
Many people attended throughout the afternoon, and as we sat in the grass we talked about Herbalists Without Borders, our vision and goals, our projects, and the critical need for accessible affordable health care for all. Everyone read labels and looked through the bottles, taking only what they needed, and HWB Madison raised a good amount of herbals for our herbal first aid kit stock.
Have you had an activity or event with your chapter recently? Do you have photos? Want to share your story? We would love to feature you and your chapter on the blog. Please email Denise at email@example.com.
As many of you may have noticed, we have had a changing of the guard here at Herbalists Without Borders. Gigi Stafne, long time Executive Director of HWB has stepped down from her position to focus on her thriving business and speaking engagements. Thank you Gigi for all of your years of dedication, hard work, and tireless enthusiasm for HWB.
Naturopath • Master Herbalist • Writer & Educator • Entrepreneur
Gigi Stafne, MH, ND, MI, has been a practitioner of natural and botanical medicine for 33 years with substantial clinical, health, environmental, social justice and entrepreneurial experience. She pioneered and created the first natural medicine clinic in West Central Wisconsin near Minneapolis, the Center for Healing Arts, bringing on a team of 12 skilled practitioners. She then founded an affiliated botanical medicine school which to date is one of the few in the Upper Midwest United States, Ontario, Canada and Lake Superior regions of North America that offers a professional Master of Herbalism Progam. For one decade, Gigi created and operated a United Plant Savers & Partners in Education project, the first UpS Botanical Sanctuary in Wisconsin, U.S. For her work there, she was awarded the 2007 North American Plant Conservation Award. She also launched a lake Superior regional chapter of Herbalists Without Borders, an international non-profit organization in 2006-2008. Gigi was appointed as the Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders International, and served in that capacity for the past decade, growing that non-profit from 7 projects to 73 national and international chapters. In 2017 the American Herbalists Guild awarded Stafne the "National Community Service Award" for her work and volunteerism. Gigi continues teaching at numerous national and global venues via Green Wisdom School of Natural and Botanical Medicine including that of being a national-international trauma trainer.
Prior to natural medicine, Gigi worked in the anti-violence field, from crisis intervention to public policy making. Her education began in Human Growth & Development and Family Social Science with the University of Wisconsin system. Furthermore, her education eventually lead to CAM degrees in Boulder Colorado which included a Master of Herbalism, Master of Iridology, Naturopathy & Natural Physician. Her continuing education and teaching is extensive, in women's health, environmental health, cross cultural medicine, ethnobotany, and beyond.
Gigi will continue in her role as Director and Lead Instructor of the Green Wisdom School of Natural and Botanical Medicine, as well as expanding her consulting business and founding the Fireweed Fund, a new micro-loan lending platform for socially innovating start-up small businesses and non-profits.
Meet Denise Cusack, our new Executive Director
Denise Cusack was appointed Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders in September. Prior to becoming the ED, Denise worked closely with Gigi Stafne over the past year designing and producing the new website as well as media and marketing items to support HWB efforts.
Denise has volunteered and organized within her community with many organizations over the years (and founded her own) including grassroots community non-profits, neighborhood organizations, national non-profits, community gardens, youth and nature projects, and holistic family groups. She is passionate about social and racial justice, grassroots activism, radical herbalism, access to affordable health care, accessing fresh food in food deserts, saving our medicinal plants, community supported agriculture, youth volunteerism, and healthy kids & families.
Denise has a BA from Columbia College in Arts Business Administration and has been a small business owner for over 2 decades. Denise has studied herbalism, aromatherapy, permaculture, and holistic nutrition with many wonderful and respected teachers over the past 25 years. Denise is currently owner of Wholly Rooted LLC, and is an herbalist and aromatherapist consulting with clients as well as handcrafting a line of herbal and aromatherapy products. Denise has a background in design and marketing from fortune 500 companies to home businesses and currently consults with a select group of small herbal/environmental related businesses to help them succeed and grow their brands in a competitive market via print and web design, marketing and media management and helps guide small businesses to learn and understand how to meet or exceed current GMP and labeling laws. She was Whole Foods and Herbal Health Editor for Tend Magazine for many years, and is a regular contributor to online and print magazines, writing about organic gardening, sustainable living, herbalism, aromatherapy, and whole foods. Denise loves to learn and do different things and is a writer, photographer, artist, designer, herbalist, aromatherapist, recipe developer, musician, and avid reader.
Denise spent many years living all around the US, but now she enjoys spending time with her family, growing a ridiculous amount of culinary and medicinal herbs in her many gardens, distilling her own hydrosols, and concocting away in her herbal studio just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.
As you may know, HWB is a 100% volunteer organization without any paid staff. We have many AMAZING volunteers that donate their time, resources, and talent to Herbalists Without Borders. We wouldn't be here without dedicated volunteers. We want to introduce members to you here regularly, so you can see the fantastic work they are doing with HWB, and how they are making a difference in their communities.
One volunteer that has worked with HWB for many years is one who is often behind the scenes, but her work contributes to unifying and gathering HWB together. She is our newsletter designer and editor. Miriah Meiers works to gather our stories, projects, news, and updates and then writes and creates a vivid testimony to the work of HWB.
HWB is a diverse and global group - with national and international projects, members and chapters. We may not get to often meet each other in person, but in hearing our stories and activities in the newsletter, we find that common ground and shared mission. Our newsletters are read by all, and represent so much of what HWB is about - acting locally to provide education, affordable access to alternative health care, herbal aid and relief, and response to crisis within our communities. While we work locally, our vision is a global one, and the newsletter brings us together.
Be sure to visit our newsletters page to read the current Autumn 2017 issue, as well as our back issues!
Thank you, Miriah, for your ongoing support and dedication to HWB. We appreciate you!
To read all of our newsletters - from past issues to current - visit: NEWSLETTERS
To submit a story, article, or photos for a blog feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit stories, events, news and photos for future issues of the newsletter, please email newsletterHWB@gmail.com.
Do you know an HWB volunteer that we should feature? Email Denise email@example.com
Herbalists Without Borders is happy to introduce our newest chapter from San Severino Marche in Italy in the Italian Apennines, Erboristi Senza Frontiere, Sezione Appennino Centrale.
The headquarters for HWB Marche is in the office of the coordinator Karin Mecozzi, in San Severino Marche. Here is an introduction from Karin about her background:
Karin blogs at karinmecozzi.com, and has posted an HWB introduction!
Interested in joining the HWB Marche chapter? First, join HWB as a member, and then contact the coordinator for your region!
Welcome to HWB, Karin!
On July 23rd, the Winona Herbal Education Society hosted the Savoring the Summer Luncheon in the picturesque Farmer's Park just outside Stockton, MN as a fundraiser event for Herbalists Without Borders. With the luncheon just the weekend after the flooding this area had experienced during the week prior to the luncheon, we weren't sure if the park would be in good enough shape for us but everything turned out perfect. Lora was even able to grab the closest shelter to the entrance so people would have no trouble finding us. We served ten guests, most of whom had not been to any previous WHES meetings.
The food was simple and delicious. Lora Krall prepared the foods which were carefully selected to highlight herbs and to be served cold, making it ideal for a warm summer's day and a picnic setting. She began the meal with a sampling of an echinacea flower head to clean the palettes of our guests, explaining to them how it would taste, and feel. She went into detail in discussing how the taste and feel of the echinacea flower heads were an indicator of the quality of the echinacea. The next dish was a combination of garden greens and wild greens which included lambsquarters, and purslane. Diners could choose between a tarragon and dandelion vinegar dressing, or a more savory herbal vinaigrette that incorporated a touch of soy. The next course was a cool cucumber herb soup with pungent cilantro, veggie roll-ups, one with herbed cream cheese and the other with hummus, followed with a melon compote with mint. The last dish served at this event was an elderflower bread pudding dressed with elderflowers and honey. Lora explained each dish, and shared ways in which she uses herbs at home in her day to day cooking.
My contribution was web promotion, online purchasing options, and beverages. My signature lavender lemonade, and Elderflower Strawberry “Fizzie” tea. During the luncheon, I shared with our diners some of the work that Herbalists Without Borders does, and how donations from fundraisers such as the luncheon were vital to projects to People's Clinics, Trauma Trainings, and other work that HWB does. It was a small group, but they all seemed genuinely interested in learning more about HWB. I think one of our secret assets had to be Deb Becker-Galewski who is a member of HWB and attended the luncheon. She was able to share her own reasons and experiences as a member of Herbalists Without Borders.