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 – Cultivating Medicinal Herbs; A Guidebook to Growing Healing Plants in the Home Garden, which is slated to release in 2018. 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.
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.
Meghan’s relationship with the Chestnut School has been abloom since 2009! She grew some of her first herbal roots as an apprentice in Juliet’s medicinal herb nursery and later became a much-enamored student at the school. The plants spoke to her most clearly of women’s health and she attended the Matrona School of Quantum Midwifery in 2012, after which she herself became pregnant! Her daily joy is in her herb gardens, harvesting forays, new mama-hood, writing, and eating rainbowed handfuls of flowers. If you ever want to make her day come April, violets are her uncontested favorite!
Meghan is one of the primary instructors of the Herbal Immersion through her written lessons, and she is also the prime pollinator of the Chestnut School’s social media community – sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of friends, gardeners, healers and plant lovers.
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.
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.
Marc Williams is an ethnobiologist. He has studied the people, plant, mushroom, microbe connection intensively while learning to employ botanicals and other life forms for food, medicine, and beauty. 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 close to two decades working at a multitude of restaurants and various farms. He has travelled throughout 28 countries in the Americas and Europe and all 50 of the United States. Marc has visited over 150 botanical gardens and research institutions during this process while taking thousands of pictures of representative plants. He is also Executive Director of Plants and Healers International, and on the Board of Directors of the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies. He has taught hundreds of classes about the marvelous world of plants, people and their interface while working with over 60 organizations in the last few years and online at the website. Marc’s greatest hope is that this information may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.
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.
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
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
Amber Brown migrated from her childhood home in the far north of Alaska in search of warmer pastures. She landed in the rich mountainous fold of North Carolina where she currently farms, forages and plays with her sweetie, their two spritely young boys, and baby girl. Inspired by the woodland squirrels, fairies, and gnomes, Amber’s family gathers and tucks away an impressive cache of wild nuts annually. They feast on their nuts all year round and likewise share them with their herd of forest-fed hogs at Glorious Forest Farm. She is a magical concoctress of wild food delicacies and has been told she makes “the best food ever.” Amber brings all manner of nut confections and wild foods to her local farmers markets. In addition to her wild food shenanigans, she’s also adept at gathering local plants and minerals and makes small-batch, seasonal tinctures, potions and brews.
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.”
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