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.
Herbalists Without Borders is thrilled to announce that the winner of the prestigious American Herbalists Guild 2017 Community Service Award has gone to our very own Executive Director Gigi Stafne MH, ND and Herbalists Without Borders.
“The AHG Community Service Award honors an individual or group that has contributed significantly to the herbal profession and made a lasting impact through community or environmental service related to herbal professions on a local or national level.”
Gigi works tirelessly as Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders International and as Director of Green Wisdom School of Natural & Botanical Medicine. She has dedicated her energies to health justice, humanitarian aid, and herbalism. She not only inspires hundreds of volunteers and students per year, but also works to raise funds and supplies for Herbalists Without Borders projects, which are critical to the health and wellness of people globally.
Herbalists Without Borders is proud to share this award with our very deserving Executive Director. Thank you, Gigi, for your hard work and ongoing efforts for Herbalists Without Borders and the international humanitarian aid and herbalism community.
Click here to read the full press release about this year's award, and Gigi’s wonderful work.
About American Herbalists Guild:
“The American Herbalists Guild was founded in 1989 as a non-profit, educational organization to represent the goals and voices of herbalists specializing in the medicinal use of plants. Our primary goal is to promote a high level of professionalism and education in the study and practice of therapeutic herbalism.”
We face yet another health care crisis. Here at Herbalists Without Borders we are taking actions daily to do something about it.
Herbalists Without Borders is a grassroots local to global organization working compassionately and efficiently to bring much needed health, herbalism and natural medicine to communities impacted by natural disaster, violent conflict, trauma or other barriers to accessing health suc h as poverty and racism. What many people do not realize about our 501 (c) (3) non-profit is that we operate on 100% volunteer-power. Last year, our 73 local to global chapters and projects served people from Syria to Standing Rock.
HWB offers full circle health justice and humanitarian aid via many projects:
- Borderless Medicine
- Free Peoples Clinics
- Trauma Trainings
- Street Medics
- Veterans Resiliency Project & Holistic Clinic
- Community Herb Gardens Project
- Medicinal Seed Saving Project
- Community Herb Apothecaries Project
We need your help. People need help today.
Without individuals, businesses and organizations such as you, HWB cannot meet the needs of communities asking daily for our assistance. Much like NPR or PBS, yet on a much smaller grassroots budget, we can only offer health justice via the dedication of volunteers and generous donations - as well as your membership.
What can you do to help this week?
Contribute, volunteer, join as a member, host a fundraiser. Encourage other herbalists in your area to join HWB as a member. Send critical supplies (herbal first aid kits to office supply gift cards). Give in a way that makes sense for you. We have a spectrum of membership levels to choose from, visit: herbalistswithoutborders.weebly.com/join-hwb.html. As a member, you'll receive 12-months of free advertising on our national-international website, other social media sites, discounts on trainings, events, free resource eGuides.
Let's discuss a generous monetary contribution to Herbalists Without Borders by reaching me directly: officeHWB@gmail.com This is so needed right now.
Thank you for your time, consideration and for believing that HEALTH is a HUMAN RIGHT! With gratitude and solidarity, Gigi Stafne MH, ND, Executive Director Herbalists Without Borders National-International
One of the very active chapters of HWB is East Africa, coordinated by Jeanne Hughes. She and her network not only work to train herbalists and deliver significant amounts of much needed herbal medicines to local communities, but they also work to provide critical human sanitation items, water, and more in the midst of political strife and escalating tensions. These conflicts and political instability make daily life a challenge, yet they continue, even at great risk.
Jeanne first started training local herbalists in the Rift Valley near Eldoret in 2005. By 2007 the post election violence had deeply divided the country. In 2008 Jeanne and her network hosted workshops in 3 regions to about 300 people, and in 2009 a private donor provided funds to support a 3-day workshop for 30 herbalists to attend. During that workshop tribal tensions were running high, so Jeanne and her group had each group share one favorite remedy and success story, to break the ice and highlight the common goals and interests!
Today, after years of working and growing the network in Kenya, all of theses groups in various regions form a network of herbalists, community healers, and citizens who grow, harvest, share, and barter botanicals and information to improve the health of their communities.
Kenya is a large country and has several groups who work in their local regions. The number of families they serve, medicines they distribute, kits they create and wells they have rehabilitated are truly inspiring. Here are a few of the groups and the VERY important work they are doing right now:
Shwari Group: 15 villages served; 170 families have clean water in 2016 thru the rehabilitation of 5 wells. 134 Days for Girls Kits (Sanitary Hygiene) were sewn and distributed in the Butere/Sabitia area of Kakamega County in Western Province. Submitted by Moses Makacha, Chairman.
Nyamira County: From Dr. Nehemiah Ndubi Okerio; 3000 litres of liquid soap were created and distributed to slum dwellers and the poor and needy to help control Cholera. 500 kg of various powdered herbal medicine were also given to approximately 30,000 persons through the efforts of 2 affiliated clinics.
Ramah Herbal Group; Likuayani area. Served 22 communities, 53 Families and 450 individuals near the Rift and Western Province border. Trained TEN Herbalists; Created and distributed 27 Days for Girls Kits; (plus 18 sent from USA), and distributed 13,500 litres of liquid and 1,500 kg powdered herbal medicines (Eucalyptus, charcoal, cypress, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and other barks and leaves.
Chep'ngasuretin Herbal Group; Uasin Ngishu County, Rift Valley, near Eldoret. From the Chairman Dr. David Muigei. This growing group of 40 trained herbalists serves 10 villages with a total population of 2,500 persons. Almost half of those persons now have clean water thru the efforts of this group. 20 Days for Girls hygiene kits were sewn and distributed in 2016. Over 80 litres of liquid and many Kg of powdered herbal medicines were given to persons in these communities.
Spark A Life Kenya is an affiliate group that Jeanne has worked with in schools to improve sanitation. 114 Days for Girls kits have been created and distributed to Primary and Secondary schools in Munjiti, Emulade, Mulufu, Eshibongu, Kwisero, Mundah and Mulwanda Villages. Richie Otiende is the Spark A Life Kenya Director, based in Kisumu.
Africa is 1/5 of the worlds land mass and has 54 countries - it is a vast continent full of traditional healers, great beauty, plant knowledge, and medicinal botanicals. Yet, it is also a land of great humanitarian need with human trafficking, female genital mutiliation, drought and strife. Donations to HWB and also the East Africa HWB help them mobilize to make medicines, get water and supplies to communities, prevent more victims of human trafficking and educate about FGM. Your support of HWB directly helps HWB chapters such as HWB East Africa - every dollar makes a difference.
Meet An HWB Chapter - South Okanagan/Similkameen HWB, serving the region of Southern British Columbia, Canada!
What is your chapter name and which region do you serve?
South Okanagan / Similkameen Herbalists Without Borders - SOSHWB. We are located in Keremeos BC and serve the South Okanagan and Similkameen regions of Southern BC, Canada
How many members do you have in your group?
Around 10 people who have stated they would like to be involved. We are relatively young and just getting warmed up so we are figuring that all out.
Who is/are your main coordinator(s)?
Laurel Irons. I am a Registered Acupuncturist and Clinical Herbalist with a clinic and apothecary in Keremeos that also acts as SOSHWB headquarters.
Do you have any past projects that you wish to share? What you did or made, who you worked with, and how it benefit community?
We started in 2015 as a group of about 8 people interested in plants and plant medicine, but
weren't very active yet. We organized one medicine making day, when a group of 4 of us made elderflower cordial together, and one gathering day, when another group of 3 of us harvested balsamroot (Balsamorhizza sagitatta) and made balsamroot honeys and tincture.
Due to some members moving away, and many time constraints (I moved and expanded my clinic in the summer of 2015, and many of our members are organic farmers and orchardists which is incredibly time consuming) we were inactive in 2016.
So far in 2017, we have just held our first public event – a People's Clinic Day – on April 22. It was a multidisciplinary event with 5 therapists (massage, reflexology and acupuncture) and 2 herbalists offering services. Everything was available free or by donation. Most of the attendees were people who were new to herbs and/or the other services provided and wanting to try them out. We gave out a total of 37 therapeutic services, a few custom herbal remedies (with consultations), and herbal tea was offered to everyone who came by. The tea was a blend of nettle, mint, alfalfa and red clover, added to fresh pressed organic apple juice, all grown on the property of one of our herbalists, and made fresh that morning. We had printing donated from our local graphic designer and printer, newspaper space donated by our local paper, and organic fruit, donated by our local grocery store, that we were able to offer to everyone who came by. We had volunteer drivers arranged – thanks to our local Community Services' volunteer driver program - for anyone who wanted to come but for whom transportation might be a barrier, but didn't have to call on them.
The idea of the event was to offer accessible services to the community, as well as let people know about HWB. We had some new people sign up as a result of the event. The next step will be to connect with our member list and see how people would like to be involved. So far this year we plan to host a medicine making day (probably a herbal healing salve) and a plant walk, open to the public, also by donation or free. The donations collected will pay for supplies and other costs for these upcoming events.
Does your region face any unique needs?
The South Okanagan (including the Similkameen Valley) is a region comprised of small towns and rural communities. The Okanagan is the hottest and driest climate in Canada, and home to Canada's only desert. We have a very unique and delicate ecosystem here, with several plant and animal species and habitats on the endangered list, especially due to climate change and development (mostly agricultural) in the area. We see four distinct and beautiful seasons here, with long hot summers and mild but cool, snowy winters. The area is prone to forest fires and droughts in summer, though we have had so much rain and snow this spring that there haven't been any major fires yet.
We are home to Canada's “Organic Capital” - growers here supply much of the organic produce, juice, etc to the rest of the country. It is also the country's premier wine producing area, home to several vineyards and wineries, and increasingly more micro breweries, distilleries and cideries.
The population is home to many walks of life: employed, unemployed and seasonal labourers. Of course there are many famers, orchardists and seasonal farm workers, and there is a copper mine that employs many locals. Many retirees move here from the rest of the country, seeking the hot dry weather and milder winters. There are several young families as well. Though when young people get old enough they tend to move away to the cities for education and employment opportunities. Because of the seasonal nature of the work here, many people call this home for half the year, especially from Quebec, Mexico and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, seasonal workers still work very long, hard hours for comparably low pay. And for those not working in mining or agriculture, or the small business and infrastructure that supports the area, it is very hard to find work. Housing and employment opportunities are scarce, as are health care resources. People waiting to see a doctor or specialist can wait several weeks or months. There are a good number of holistic service providers in the area, but few registered therapists that people can see with their private or Provincial health care benefits. (Our Medical Services Plan in BC covers basic health care costs – ie. doctor and hospital visits – to all residents, and a minimal subsidy for extended health services for low income residents: acupuncture, massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic, and podiatry. People of a certain income level pay a premium for MSP while low income people pay nothing.)
Area residents are largely from a Euporean settler background, but there is increasing diversity, especially from South and East Asian, South American and Caribbean areas. Most people are English speaking but there are many French speaking people here as well, primarily due to the decades-long history of young Quebeqois coming to this area to work. Small First Nations communities - that comprise the Smelqmix (Similkameen) people and some of the Syilx (Okanagan) people - are interspersed among the towns and villages. There is more integration here than in areas where Indigenous people were forced to live on large reservations that were isolated from towns and cities. However, just like anyone else who survives colonization, local First Nations people here as a whole still contend with fewer resources than typical Canadians, and the ongoing effects of residential schools and forced displacement from their lands and traditions.
What do you enjoy/like most about your HWB chapter or HWB international?
Accessability! Access to holistic health care is my passion and I love that HWB aims to provide this internationally, as well as offering me a platform to oranize activities locally while supporting a greater cause.
Who to contact to join: Laurel Irons email@example.com