OUR TEACHERS ARE THE HEART OF THE SCHOOL
Welcome to Our Stellar Lineup of
Foraging Course Instructors!
We’re beaming proud to showcase this fine array of herbal teachers, foraging experts, wild foodies, and writers.
Juliet Blankespoor started the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007, after deciding to become a professional plant-human matchmaker. She lives with her partner Tom outside of Asheville, NC, in a wee handbuilt home where they nurture a medicinal herb garden and a delightfully hilarious daughter. Juliet has been sharing her passion for plants for over twenty-five years through teaching herbal medicine and botany. Despite a seemingly single-minded obsession for medicinal plants, she’s branched out in the last few years, exploring new territory and interests—namely photographing, videoing, and writing about: medicinal plants.
Juliet is an unabashed botanical entrepreneur –her earliest project during her collegiate years included a get-rich-quick-scheme involving papaya trees. After graduating from University of Florida with a degree in botany, Juliet founded and formulated a tincture line, Green Faith Herbals. She spent her twenties growing and wildcrafting medicine for her tincture business.
During this time, Juliet continued her studies by attending extensive herbal programs at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, the California School of Herbal Studies, and the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. Her teachers are 7Song, James Snow, and Michael Moore.
After many years of teaching intensive, all-outdoor herbal programs, Juliet has decided she is a raging introvert and her teachings are best suited to the virtual sphere. She is currently writing her first book – The Healing Garden: Cultivating & Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet has spent the last few years videoing herbs, and their admirers and cultivators, for the Herbal Immersion Program. She is delighted to continue to teach and connect with herb lovers through the ethers. Please visit Blog Castanea to enjoy her herbal articles and botanical photography.
Asia Suler is a writer, teacher, herbalist and energy worker who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC. She is the creator and concoctress behind One Willow Apothecaries, a small Appalachian-grown business that offers handmade and heartfelt medicine. She is also the muse behind Woolgathering & Wildcrafting, a blog detailing the potent magic of good medicine: plants and dreams, primitive skills and developing a deep connection with the land.
Asia began her journey into healing and plant-based medicine after early years of chronic pain. The experience— which pushed her into a deep search for healing, both within and without— led her to the altar of the green world, where she fell irrevocably in love with plants. She began her formal study of herbs with Juliet Blankespoor and the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and has continued to study, seek, listen and learn ever since. Asia’s work is a unique combination of western and energetic herbalism, stone medicine, earth-centered shamanism and intuitive healing. She holds a B.A. in English, Anthropology, and Native American studies from Vassar College and a Reiki Master degree. Asia teaches at schools and gatherings across the country and is blessed to work intimately with people and plants, spirit, and stones.
She is currently in the depths of working on her forthcoming book about intuition and earth-based living.
Asia teaches Medicine Making for the Herbal Immersion Program, Medicine Making Course, and Foraging Course, and she is also a recipe contributor for the Foraging Course.
Meghan is one of the Chestnut School’s primary instructors through her written lessons, and is the principal pollinator of the school’s social media community—sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of herbalists, gardeners, healers, and plant lovers.
She has been in a steady relationship with the Chestnut School since 2010—as an intern and manager at the Chestnut Herb Nursery; as a plant-smitten student “back in the day” when the school’s programs were taught in the field; and later as a part the school’s woman-powered professional team. Meghan lives in the Ivy Creek watershed, just north of Asheville, North Carolina.
Lorna Mauney-Brodek is a traveling herbalist, medicine maker, wildcrafter and teacher dedicated to promoting diversity, environmental responsibility, and social justice through herbalism. Growing up “americana,” her health practices reflect the abundantly diverse influences of these lands to blend western medical herbalism, traditional Chinese five phase, Ayurveda, and southern folk. Early barefoot adventures in the Appalachian foothills and global wanderings with tent-packing parents led to more formal trainings in plant medicine. She completed an herbal residency with Michael Moore at the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and her clinical internship at the Blue Ridge School for Herbal Studies. Lorna is the founder and director of the Herbalista Health Network, a web of clinical services, health education, and service opportunities that provide earth-based care to underserved communities. Lorna teaches around the country and abroad, spreading the Herb Bus method and celebrating our capacity to build community through herbalism.
Lorna teaches Materia Medica in the Herbal Immersion Program and Foraging Course, and Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy in the Herbal Immersion Program, Medicine Making Course, and Foraging Course.
Introducing Our Brilliant Lineup
of Course Contributors
Our Foraging Course features an array of delicious wild food recipes and tincture and tea formulas recipes from Juliet as well as our guest recipe contributors. Written by seasoned herbalists and expert wildcrafters, we are thrilled to include these delectable medicinal treats in the course!
7Song is an herbalist, teacher and naturalist who lives in Ithaca, NY. He is the director and main instructor at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine that he started in 1992. He is a founding member, Director of holistic medicine and an herbal practitioner at the Ithaca Free Clinic. This is an integrative clinic with herbalists, doctors, nurses, acupuncturists and other health care workers all offering their services for free. The clinic opened its doors in 2006.
Some of his other focuses in herbal medicine include clinical work, first aid, wildcrafting and botany. He also spends a lot of time taking photographs of things that run, crawl, fly or photosynthesize.
7Song teaches Materia Medica for the Herbal Immersion Program and the Foraging Course.
Amber Brown is a Native Alaskan from the Tlingit & Haida tribe of southeast Alaska and the Nisga of British Columbia. She grew up in Homer, Alaska in the house her father built, processing salmon, picking berries, learning to bead necklaces and earrings and watching her grandmother dance in the Naa Kahidi dance group in Sitka, Alaska. In 2009 she migrated from her ancestral home in the far north of Alaska to reside in the rich mountainous fold of the Cherokee Nation territory, in what is currently known as western North Carolina, where she currently homesteads with her partner and their three spritely children. Amber and her family are passionate about wild foods and medicine, as well as native trees and forest medicinals that promote longterm health of the land. Amber is a concoctress of wild food delicacies and puts her culinary expertise to the test at the Chestnut School by helping to create and test herbal and wild foods recipes. She also supports her team with recipe development, modeling and photography assistance, and various administrative tasks. Amber is also the Scholarship Coordinator for the school. In addition to her passion for wild food and arts, she’s also adept at gathering and propagating local plants and minerals and makes small-batch, seasonal tinctures, potions, and brews. Visit @glorious.forest to learn more about Amber and her creations.
Brandon Ruiz is a community herbalist and urban farmer living in Charlotte, NC. He owns Atabey Choreto Medicinals and directs the CLT Herbal Accessibility Project and spends his time working in urban gardens, making medicine and working with his community. Brandon works mainly with plants of the tropics, specifically from the Caribbean and in Boriken (Puerto Rico), his ancestral homeland.
Dina Falconi is a clinical herbalist with a strong focus on food activism and nutritional healing. An avid gardener, wildcrafter, and permaculturist, Dina has been teaching classes about the use of herbs for food, medicine, and personal care, including wild food foraging and cooking, for more than twenty years. She created Falcon Formulations natural body care products and Earthly Extracts medicinal tinctures. She is a founding member of the Northeast Herbal Association, a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and an organizer of Slow Food-Hudson Valley. She is the author of Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair: Natural and Healthy Personal Care for Everybody and Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. www.botanicalartspress.com
Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz
An American medical herbalist of 22 years, Holly Bellebuono is renowned for her work documenting women healers and teaching formulary and pharmacology. Holly’s seven-year project of interviews and research culminated in the documentary book Women Healers of the World: The Traditions, History & Geography of Herbal Medicine and was awarded Book of the Year by The International Herb Association and the Gold Award for Women’s Books by the National Nautilus Book Award. Holly directs The Bellebuono School of Herbal Medicine on Martha’s Vineyard, training and certifying in herbal medicine, and she is the founder of Vineyard Herbs Teas & Apothecary.
Her work has been published in Parabola, SageWoman, Juno (Britain), Taproot, and more, and her six other books and CDs include The Essential Herbal for Natural Health, The Authentic Herbal Healer, Goal Setting for Open-Minded Business Owners, The Healing Kitchen, An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary, and How to Use Herbs for Natural Health (audio CD collection). As a two-time Small Business Owner of the Year Award recipient, Holly leads engaging empowerment workshops for entrepreneurs, and she lectures and leads workshops and retreats internationally for conferences and universities about herbal medicine, symbolism, and the philosophy of healing. Holly lives on Martha’s Vineyard. www.hollybellebuono.com
Dr. Jus Crea Giammarino
Raised with her Penobscot culture and Native American spiritual practices, Dr. Jus Crea Giammarino realized the healing powers of nature at a young age. She received a Certificate in Herbal Therapeutics and attended the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies. She received a Bachelor of Science from UMass, Amherst in ‘Ethnobotany and Holistic Health’, graduating magna cum laude from the Honors College. Here she also received a Certificate in Native American Studies as well as completing premedical coursework. She went on to receive a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Bridgeport, College of Naturopathic Medicine graduating at the top of her class earning the award for ‘Academic Excellence in Naturopathic Medicine’. She completed an advanced externship in pediatrics, women’s health, and family medicine as well as receiving advanced training in Sankaran Homeopathy. She became an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Hospital in Bronx, NY and a certified practitioner in WTS Therapy.
Jus Crea has lectured extensively on Native American Herbology and leads ethnobotanical tours. She teaches Native American cultures, histories, and traditions. Previously she taught Nutrition at Springfield College and was a primary care physician in Brattleboro, VT. Currently, Dr. Giammarino practices Naturopathic Medicine in Springfield, MA treating people of all ages. Visit her website for more information.
Kiva Rose Hardin
Kiva Rose Hardin is a culture-shifting author, folklorist, a determined advocate for neurodivergence and ethnic and gender diversity, a natural perfumer and sensualist chef – as well as a noted practitioner of plant medicine, and proponent of the interconnected healing of self, society, and this living Earth. Kiva’s special juju can be seen in her catalyzing of what Paul Bergner called “a new herbal resurgence,” inspiring the coming together of an entire community of unaffiliated and sometimes sidelined herbalists, kitchen witches and community providers, committed activists and unashamed celebrants. She and her husband Wolf Hardin provide a home and venue for this resurgence, as founders and editors of the quarterly Plant Healer Magazine, and creators of the unique Good Medicine Confluence educational conferences and annual parties. While contentedly busy with her homestead, family, and new baby Ælfyn Thorn, Kiva is still somehow able to co-organize the event, coproduce their periodicals, and write new and inspiring works for Plant Healer Magazine, the free periodical Herbaria Monthly, and her engaging Enchantments Blog. Her powerful essays appear in a number of books including The Plant Healer’s Path, The Enchanted Healer, and Radical Herbalism.
With a journey that began as a little girl mixing herbs, clays, and mud on her grandparents’ farm, Lucretia VanDyke has been in the industry for over 20 years. She is a Holistic Educator, Speaker, Herbalist, SacredSexologist, Ceremonialist, Spiritual Light Coach, Intuitive Energetic and Reiki Practitioner, Diviner, and world traveler with over 3000 hours of training. She has studied with some of the greats minds of our time and indigenous healers. Lucretia been a holistic esthetician and practitioner for over a decade focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals, plant spirit medicine, and meditation into modern-day practices. She brings her vivacious spirit and message of self-love in her work to inspire others to embrace their unique beauty and purpose. Her work with herbs and sacred practices honors Women’s Wholeness Medicine, grief work, sexual trauma, ancestor connection, womb healing, self-empowerment, food alchemy, and holistic skin care. You can connect with Lucretia on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.
Marc Williams is an ethnobiologist. He has studied the people, plant, mushroom and microbe interconnection intensively while learning to employ botanicals and other life forms for food, medicine, and beauty in a regenerative manner. His training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture with a minor in Business from Warren Wilson College and a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies concentrating in Sustainable Development with a minor in Geography and Planning from Appalachian State University. He has spent over two decades working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms and has traveled throughout 30 countries in Central/North/South America and Europe as well as all 50 states of the USA. Marc has visited over 200 botanical gardens and research institutions during this process while taking tens of thousands of pictures of representative plants and other entities. He has taught hundreds of classes to thousands of students about the marvelous world of people and their interface with other organisms while working with over 100 organizations and particularly as a Board of Directors member of the United Plant Savers and online at the website Botany Everyday. Marc’s greatest hope is that this effort may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.
Mia Wasilevich is a chef, forager, wildcrafter, artist, food photographer, educator and founder of Transitional Gastronomy based in Los Angeles, CA. She creates pop-ups and bespoke events featuring local forages, as well as teaches wild food identification, food styling, and culinary workshops. Her nature-based cuisine is influenced by the more than 20 countries she’s traveled to before the age of 15. An avid researcher, she aims to uncover forgotten foods and re-create them for the modern palate. She is author of Ugly Little Greens: Gourmet Dishes Crafted From Foraged Ingredients. She has been a featured consultant on MasterChef and Top Chef and was featured in Los Angeles Magazine’s ” 2015 Best of LA: Favorite Things” list as well as numerous TV shows and publications including Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and Tastemade, among others. She considers herself “a little bit country and a little bit escargot.”
Natalie is the founder and director of Wild Abundance and the Firefly Gathering, both in and around Asheville, NC. Natalie teaches and shares tools and skills that are essential for living harmoniously within the natural systems of the earth.
She lives in her lovely, growing homestead nestled deep in community in the Southern Appalachians. She spends her time harvesting in the wild, building, gardening, planting, putting up food, growing, teaching and scheming about how to introduce more people to Earth-based living, all while worshiping the beauty around her.
She teaches at the Maps meet and Earthskills Rendezvous, and has given talks at FSU, Southern Adventist University, Tulane University, Ohio University, Vanderbilt University, Western Washington University, and many other places. Natalie was also featured in Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Freedom in America and appeared in the National Geographic series: Live Free or Die, in an episode titled “Butchers and Builders.” Natalie holds a B.A. in ecological agriculture and, more importantly, has studied with teachers who have deeply enriched her perspective, including Juliet Blankespoor, Margaret Mathewson, and Frank Cook.
Robin Rose Bennett
Robin Rose Bennett, founder of Wisewoman Healing Ways: Herbal Medicine and EarthSpirit Teachings, has been offering classes and events since 1986 at herb conferences, festivals, medical and nursing schools, and most joyously, outside with the plants. She has guest lectured at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, St John’s Hospital, Montefiore Teaching Hospital, Beth Israel’s Nursing program, Chilton Hospital’s New Vitality program, and Brown University’s Medical School. Robin is the director of the Wild and Native Medicinal Plant Garden she and other volunteers created for her community. She is the author of two guided meditation CD’s, available online through CD Baby, and two acclaimed books, Healing Magic- A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living-10th anniversary edition and The Gift of Healing Herbs- Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life. www.RobinRoseBennett.com
Rosalee de la Forêt
Rosalee de la Forêt is passionate about re-awakening people to the beauty and awe of the plant world. Her teachings transform complex concepts into simple elements in order to empower people to immerse their lives in herbs and natural health. She is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator and author of the book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transforming Everyday Ingredients Into Foods and Remedies that Heal. She is also the Education Director at LearningHerbs and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild. When she is not immersed in herbs, you can find her taking photos of nature, tending to her garden, kayaking with her husband, or curled up in a hammock with a good book. www.HerbsWithRosalee.com