Households, urban and rural, with pots of medicinal herbs: Thyme, Sage, and Rosemary on their back porch. Echinacea and Garlic grow in their garden. Grown ups and children know where and when to gather St. John’s Wort and Stinging Nettles. They know how to dry them for tea, prepare an oil or salve, and when to use each.
Herbalists and farmers offer classes in their community; share medicinal plants and resources. These become skills everyone learns to keep themselves and their family well, as important to the sustainability and viability of their communities as growing their own food and producing their own energy, as important to the education of our children as learning to read and do math.
Medicinal plants grow in empty lots in town, in community gardens, in meadows and fields and forests outside of town. Much of the herbal medicine dispensed in the community comes from these plants.
Scattered throughout the community are community herbalists to whom people can turn for more serious conditions and who know when to send them to the hospital.
The hospitals are green, in every sense of the term: surrounded by gardens growing food that supplies the cafeterias and peaceful pathways where those who are ill can walk or sit. The medicines dispensed and the products used aren’t toxic: for the patients, for those using and producing them, and for the earth. And, most importantly, administrators, doctors, nurses – all the staff of the hospital – make decisions based on the realization that human and environmental health are inextricably connected: that what we do to the earth we do to ourselves, and that we can’t be well until the planet is well.
I could keep adding to this vision… making it sounds more and more fanciful and far-fetched.
The thing is, it isn’t that far-fetched, at least not where we live in central Vermont. Steps are being made in each of these directions, steps that, individually feel small and easily overwhelmed, but together show that we are making progress toward the transformations needed.
I believe that sharing this information is a crucial step in building on this momentum. And that’s why this website was born.
Read the interviews with individuals doing what they can in their community, no matter how big or small. Let us know what you are doing in yours and how, together, we can turn these small steps into a local medicine movement that is as widespread and powerful as the local food movement.