Herbal Scholarships for Social Change & Environmental Healing

Building Connection & Community
Through Herbal Education

Since the flowering of our first online herbal program in 2016, the Chestnut School has awarded more than 170 scholarships to plant lovers around the world. Many of our scholarship participants work towards social change—community gardeners, herbal teachers, and innovative organizers.

Our scholarship application period is October 21-30, 2020.

Read below for details and learn how to apply.

Who Participates in Our Scholarship Program

These need-based scholarships are awarded in line with our mission to promote inclusion and equity in the field of herbal medicine and herb cultivation.

Our scholarship participants are primarily (70%) folks who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Plus)—from which many Western herbal practices and medicines are derived and who have lacked representation in mainstream herbalism. Participants also include folks with disabilities and immigrants, refugees, and veterans

We also award scholarships to anyone demonstrating financial need whose work centers on herbal healing and herb gardening in communities organizing for collective liberation. (Past scholarship participants in this category include organizers, non-profit workers, and volunteers involved in  free herbal clinics, urban community gardens, and school, prison, refugee, and immigrant herb gardens.) This second group of scholarship participants may have multiple societal advantages (including the identities of white, male, hetero, able-bodied, and cis-gendered [identify with the assigned gender at birth]) but nonetheless demonstrate financial need and existing work in communities facing systemic inequities and bias. 

Additionally, we ask that folks only apply if they have a financial need due to our scholarship program’s highly competitive nature, thus increasing access to herbal education for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to study with us.

We receive far more applications than available spots. In our previous scholarship application period, we received more than 750 applications and awarded 65 spots.

If you enjoy major societal privileges (white, male, heterosexual, college-educated, able-bodied, and cis-gendered [identify with your assigned-gender at birth]), and don’t identify as a veteran, disabled, BIPOC or LGBTQ+, or work or volunteer in communities organizing for collective liberation, it’s not likely you’ll be selected considering the highly competitive nature of our scholarship program. 

Please note that all applicants will need access to high-speed internet and a computer, tablet, or phone to participate in our online programs. You’ll also need a minimal amount of supplies, herbs, and materials to complete our programs’ hands-on portions. (We have a Medicine Making on a Budget Guide to help with low-cost or free resources.)

Who We Are

The Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine is an online herbal school founded in Cherokee Nation territory (in what is currently known as Asheville, North Carolina), nestled in the botanically rich Southern Appalachian Mountains. 

We practice–and teach–holistic herbalism, which means we look beyond the obvious plant + human pairings and take into account all the factors that affect health and the right to live—including injustice, discrimination, and marginalization. 

While we primarily award scholarships to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folks, we want to be transparent that our instructors, staff, and students are predominately white, middle to upper class, and cis-hetero. (Our Scholarship Coordinator, Amber Brown, is Indigenous–from the Tlingit & Haida tribes of southeast Alaska and the Nisaga of British Columbia.)  We are actively expanding our programs with more diverse instructors and implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism initiatives. Care to learn more about who we are and what we do? Visit our About page. 

If you would be better served by studying with an LGBTQIA+ or BIPOC-led organization, many of which offer their own scholarship programs, check out our list of schools and conferences in our free Guide for Budding Herbalists. As part of our reparations initiatives (and understanding the need for safe spaces and relational resonance), the Chestnut School also prioritizes supporting scholarship programs for BIPOC students to learn from BIPOC-led schools and conferences.

Chestnut School Scholarship Participant Stories

Chestnut School Application Details

Our scholarship application period is October 21-30, 2020.

We will be awarding 75 Online Medicine Making Course (150 hours) scholarships. Students who graduate from this course are eligible for a full scholarship to our Herbal Immersion Program (1,000 hours). 

We also have 25 Herbal Immersion Program scholarships that are available with no prerequisite. These are primarily offered to those who are already working actively for food and medicine justice by taking part in community gardens; free clinics; school, prison, or refugee gardens; or other community-based initiatives. 

If you are a Medicine Making Course and/or Foraging Course scholarship participant and have graduated (earned a certificate of completion), you are automatically eligible for an Herbal Immersion scholarship. (You don’t need to fill out an application – please contact us to get enrolled.) 

All applicants will receive an email in the second week of December letting them know whether or not they are accepted. 

Thank you for your patience as we review your scholarship applications! We anticipate receiving close to a thousand applications this period, and with a small team, it takes many weeks to thoughtfully consider each one. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the scholarship covers the entire tuition for the course.  However, additional required and optional materials (such as printing course manuals, herbs and other ingredients, jars and containers, books, etc.) remain the responsibility of the student.

To help with costs, we’ve established a partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs and other bulk herb suppliers, who provide a 10% discount on materials and supplies for our students.

Please visit  the individual course FAQs on their homepages for details on estimated costs of course supplies:

In addition to prioritizing BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks, we also award scholarships to veterans and those with disabilities. An additional group of participants are those who are actively building access to herbal healing and herb gardening in marginalized communities. (Past scholarship participants in this category include organizers, non-profit workers, and volunteers involved in  free herbal clinics, urban community gardens, and school, prison, refugee, and immigrant herb gardens.) This second group of scholarship participants may have multiple societal advantages but nonetheless demonstrate need and existing work in marginalized communities facing societal stress and bias. 

If you enjoy major societal privileges and don’t identify as a veteran, disabled, BIPOC, or LGBTQ, and don’t already work or volunteer as described above, it’s not likely you’ll be selected considering the highly competitive nature of our scholarship program.

Yes, our scholarships and courses are open to all regardless of location.

The Medicine Making Course in particular isn’t dependent on climate or location, and we offer metric weight and volume measurements for all of our recipes. 

However, the herbs discussed in the Online Herbal Immersion are most common to the Northern and Western hemispheres. The program is designed to serve a wide geographical area and most of the herbs are suitable for cultivation in temperate climates around the world. There is some inclusion of Ayurvedic, Caribbean, and other herbs in the course.

All of our programs are fully online and available to students anywhere in the world, as long as you have reliable internet access.

All students will need access to high-speed internet and a computer, tablet, or phone to participate in our online programs.

If you are already enrolled in the Herbal Immersion Program, you cannot apply for this scholarship program. However, if you are a previous scholarship recipient and you have graduated from the Medicine Making Course and/or the Foraging Course, you are eligible for an Herbal Immersion scholarship. (You don’t need to fill out an application – please contact amber@chestnutherbs.com to get enrolled.) 

We want to support you in working through your herbal education at the Chestnut School! If you are a currently enrolled student experiencing hardship, please reach out to let us know.

All applicants will receive an email letting them know whether or not they were accepted in the second week of December.