Rosemary Gladstar and planting the future…..

Rosemary Gladstar’s talk yesterday around the future of plants was such an incredible eye-opener..I want to share….her talk, and a delicious dinner at Asiana Noodle House, made for a stellar evening! In a nutshell, Rosemary talked about the herbal healing industry…how it has grown from a small tribe of followers in the late sixities/early seventies, when she ran an herb store selling “twigs” as she says, to the 720 billion dollar industry that we know it to be to-day. Of course, plant healing is the first, most ancient healing system of all, but in  industrialized Western societies in particular, it kind of went ‘underground’….
The incredible thing, is that  this resurgence of interest and use, has brought an awareness to the world of the powerful relationship we have with plants…the bad news is that we are over harvesting medicinal plants at such an alarming rate, we are poised to wipe out some of the varieties that many of us now depend on for vibrant health…
For some of us, seeing the words ‘wildcrafted’ on an herbal supplement label might give us assurance that the herb is grown, free of pesticides and other things…but what that also means is that the plant used to make you supplement has been taken from the wild…perhaps from one of the very last stands exisiting in a given locale…some plants take 40 years to reach the maturity needed for medical efficacy…and new plants are not being re-introduced in their stead…basically, we are over-harvesting our herbs as we have over harvested our oceans…
The US is one of the largest exporters of goldenseal ( pictured) and ginseng to Europe…we ship it there by the ton….in the process we are very quickly depleting our own resources
 Rosemary, and her group, United Plant Savers is advocating that you use herbs that are organically farm grown, and that we work to protect native species, or we will loose them and their medicinal properties forever….if a product you use doesn’t indicate the source, she asks that you CALL the company and inquire…and if herbs are not farm grown, insist they move towards that for sourcing! Send a message!…the American consumer can be a force to be reckoned with!
She also advocated planting a patch in your garden for native species, and letting it be ‘wild’ and uncultivated to attract more birds,bees and butterflies who need these native plants that are becoming more and more difficult for them to find for survival….she says this will enable creatures to sort of float and fly from patch to patch, getting more of what they really need…so in turn you are helping them survive too….United plant saver will actually SEND you plants if you join to plant in your little sustainability patch!…I am officially dedicating an area around my home for this this Spring  ( not that I am much of a ‘cultivator’ anyhoo!) She has written a guidebook if you are interested…

Heady stuff, and very important food for thought…I am so glad I went to this talk….it was unbelievable eye-opener…
hoping you are having a beautiful week-end!

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  1. Hi Kerin,
    Thank you for this post. It is definitely something that needs to be addressed…I've been reading about the ways to attract bees and give them safe harbour…My Father's land would be perfect for what Rosemary suggests. I have a tiny backyard but will try to think out the space better. I'm in Canada but I'm sure the same applies as far as the devastation of natural species goes. The housing industry is my biggest concern. The way they go in with bulldozers breaks my heart. Unnecessary I believe. I know.
    I hope your weekend was wonderful as well as informative and inspiring.

  2. Great post and information…how exciting to have attended her gathering! Thanks for sharing her info!
    Stella xx

  3. MLJ, yes!…it was so interesting…and she was a really engaging speaker!…if you were here, I would've taken you with me!

    Andrea, oh yes, I am sure some of the same goes on in the motherland! you should check out Paolo Soleri…a visionary architect who believed the answer was to live self sufficiently off the grid, in small spaces, close together to preserve wilderness…we can all easily be stewards of plant life, even in a flowerpot!

    Stella, yes, know I knew of her but had NO IDEA she was only 1 1/2 hrs away in Barre!…you can go to her place and walk 8 miles worth of trails she has created and marked certain species so you can learn to recognize them…it is going to be a summer sojourn of mine!

  4. We'll have a huge yard: I am going to start my little garden, too, then!!! 🙂
    This sounds like such an educational experience!


  5. Thanks for such an informative post, Kerin. I buy all my bulk herbs from, and although their packaging indicates the geographical origin of the plant, it's good to know what else to be on the look out for.

  6. Thank you for posting this! Very interesting. I have never considered that a wildcrafted herb/plant could be at risk…

    Like Alice I buy my herbs from Mountain Rose… they state "wildcrafted" on alot of their herbs. I wonder if they take into consideration the concerns that Rosemary has?

  7. I would LOVE to attend one of Rosemary's talks – the idea of supporting sustainable-organic rather than wildcrafted makes so much sense as soon as you consider the worldwide demand, which to be honest, I'd not really thought of when choosing herbs (so thanks!!).

    I'm in the dream phase of my new huge backyard and the garden I plan to begin as soon as I move-in next month. I've always been more prone to plan veggies and consumable herbs and flowers BUT I'm really encouraged to do my research and plant some native species too.

    ALSO… I'm in the same place as Alice and Michele – I generally buy my herbs from MountainRose so it looks like I need to start looking closely at their cultivation and maybe write some emails…

    (whew, sorry for all the long comments as of late – it's just that you post such interesting things to discuss!)

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