Celebration of the Cohoshes’ was a celebration indeed. On September 28, 2013, researchers, medicinal herb growers, herbalists and students alike gathered in the spirit of medicinal plant conservation and were kept company by the warm autumn sun and brilliant glow of the hills at the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio.
The event hosted classes in wild-simulated cultivation, propagation techniques, and herbal medicine therapeutics and use of black and blue cohosh (Actaea racemosa and Caulophyllum thalictroides). Folklore and history surrounding these Ohio natives were also celebrated, providing a well-rounded educational experience on not only conserving and perpetuating the source of these native medicinal plants but also cultivating a better understanding of the consumers of these herbs, their therapeutic value, and their demand in the natural products marketplace.
Although the event was structured around the conservation and use of black and blue cohosh, many of Ohio’s native medicinal plants were also attended to throughout the conference. Tanner Filyaw, Forest Botanicals Specialist from Rural Action taught on the cultivation of Ramp (Allium tricoccum ) as a non-timber forest product. There were also classes in wild-simulated cultivation and propagation of American ginseng taught by Chip Carroll of Woodland Wise Botanicals and Ed Flecther of Stategic Sourcing. These classes on American ginseng, whose conservation continues to be of high priority to United Plant Savers, were able to create more momentum from the current national media attention to the plight of American ginseng (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505269_162-57601454/ginseng-poaching-threatens-survival-of-plant-species/) and the United Plant Savers ‘Save American ginseng’ petition through change.org (http://www.change.org/petitions/save-american-ginseng-panax-quinquefolius). The Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary was also honored by a visit from Adam Seitz of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, who came to speak to the organization and our presenters about a 3rd party verification program for growers and processors of forest-grown American ginseng that is being launched in 2014.
The Goldenseal Sanctuary (https://www.facebook.com/GoldensealSanctuary) is a special place. And like all special places it harnesses the ability to inspire hope and purpose in the lives of those who come here. We had the opportunity to engage and speak with some of our members who attended the event. One member in particular had a very poignant and humble truth to share. “This place is special’ she says, “and it special because you have to seek it out. Therefore, the people that come here to participate in these events do so earnestly. “
There is no doubt that smiles of fulfillment and furrowed brows of pensive thought were expressed by all. One of the most exciting observations from the day, from both presenters and our executive director Susan Leopold, was the amount of younger people who attended this event. Their presence at events such as this is what drives the mission of United Plant Savers and the work of medicinal plant conservationists and growers. In the mission statement of United Plant Savers, we make a vow to future generations. Their presence at this event lets us know that they are hearing us and feel inspired to seek us out. We would like to cordially thank Molly Jo Stanley and Hocking College of Nelsonville, Ohio, one of our Partners in Education, for continually encouraging their students to join our organization and participate in our events.
United Plant Savers was also significantly excited by the attendance of many of our local community members from Athens and Meigs County, Ohio. These are exciting times for our organization, inclusive of the recent move of our ‘base of operations’ from Vermont to the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio. There are so many fantastic organizations and proactive individuals within the SE Ohio Appalachian region. We are very much looking forward to engaging and building reciprocal relationships with our local community as we move forward…’Planting the Future’.
United Plant Savers and Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary would like to thank our presenters for donating their time, resources, and knowledge to providing participants with such a rich educational experience. Ed Fletcher (http://www.strategicsourcinginc.net/Strategic Sourcing Inc.), Amanda Vickers (http://www.bentcreekinstitute.org/Bent Creek Institute), Betzy Bancroft (http://www.vtherbcenter.org/Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism), Caty Crabb (Wildfire Herbs), Rebecca Wood (Hopewood Holistic Health), Mimi Hernandez (http://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/American Herbalists Guild), Marlene Waechter, CPM (Ohio Midwives Alliance), Tanner Filyaw (http://ruralaction.org/Rural Action), Maureen Burns-Hooker (http://www.herbalsage.com/Herbal Sage Tea Company), Chip Carroll (Woodland Wise Botanicals), Robert Eidus (http://www.ncgoldenseal.com/North Carolina Ginseng and Goldenseal Co.), Sasha White (United Plant Savers), and Marlene Waechter, CPM (Ohio Midwife Alliance).
United Plant Savers would also like to take the opportunity to thank our national and regional sponsors for assisting us in producing such a fulfilling event: Mountain Rose Herbs (http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/), American Herbalists Guild, Herbal Sage Tea Company, the Farmacy (18.104.22.168/~farmacyn/), Chelsea’s Real Food, and Rural Action. We would also like to thank Controlled Folly (https://www.facebook.com/controlledfolly.muka?fref=ts) from Athens, Ohio for providing great music for all as we watched the sun set over the hills of Meigs County. What an incredible day!