After spending much of September on the road, I finally am home and settling into my daily life. Right now, that means finishing up our December/January 2012 issue of The Herb Companion and getting ready to ship it off to the printer—always an occasion for “Whew!”
I wouldn’t trade my time on the road, however—and not only because I got a chance to see my new grandbaby for a few days. While I was in California, I spoke at the wonderful Heirloom Exposition, a project of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and co-sponsored by the Petaluma Seed Bank, GRIT and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, among others.
A brief break and then I headed for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, which, after two years has become one of my favorite events. It looks sort of medieval, doesn't it? But much of the discussion and many demonstrations were quite cutting edge, in the way so much of the "new" conversation about gardening and raising food reaches far into the past to provide a path forward.
The fair was held in the mountains southwest of Pittsburgh, on a beautiful early autumn weekend. More than 12,000 people attended, with 180 booths filling the grounds of the Seven Springs resort. We had more than 200 workshops on 14 stages throughout the grounds, on topics as wide-ranging as how to make brooms to the best way to build healthy soil and just about anything gardening, homesteading or food-related in between.
The image above is famous farmer Joel Salatin speaking to a rapt audience about creating a workable alternative to the industrial food system.
Our Herb Companion stage featured 15 different speakers talking about soap-making, growing and using herbs daily, sustainable herbal remedies, homeopathy, preventing chronic disease and the alchemy of wild weeds. A couple of our favorite bloggers, Dr. Jaclyn Chasse and Lemon Verbena Lady (Nancy Heraud) spoke on health issues and making herbal jellies, respectively. All in all, it was an herb-rich event and I’m grateful for the opportunity to spread the word even further about nature’s powerhouse plants.
I was able to steal a few minutes from Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs to discuss her workshop topic, “Sustainable Herbal Remedies,” in which she talked about the good sense of choosing herbs that are locally grown, just as we’re now learning to do with our food. Here’s the interview with Linda.
I also spoke with Sue Morris of Sue’s Salves about the salves she makes from fresh, organically grown herbs. Her talk, which she recapped briefly here, emphasized the benefits of using plants for effective and natural healing of simple to chronic skin disorders.
Both Sue and Linda’s talks, as well as many of the other discussions, emphasized how plants can heal us while protecting the environment. That's what we're all about and it was a joy to meet so many other people who are interested in finding out more and who are spreading the word in their own way wherever they are.