The plan: to create a large medicinal herb garden in a neighbor's field with permission generously granted to me by the land owners. I have for the past two years been growing medicinal plants in a small abandoned garden plot that was once cared for by a lobster fisherman growing food for his family. Now this lobster fisherman's garden is home to many plant allies such as blue vervain, elecampane, nettles, rose, chamomile, lemon balm and lavender-- all herbs that can support one's health and wellbeing. The new field space abuts this plot and will be a natural extension of the space I am currently tending where I can use water from a shallow dug-well nearby.
This fall I plan to build a large wooden frame greenhouse beside my current garden where I can start seeds that will eventually be planted in the larger garden design. The greenhouse will also be a place to dry herbs for storage and later use in teas, baths, or other herbal remedies. I hope to have the garden space open to visitors so that people can meet the plants that may be calming their hearts, mending a broken bone, or soothing a sore throat. Classes will be held in the garden to share how both cultivated and wild plants can support our health. The variety of medicinal plants will not only support the community, but also local wildlife and pollinators.
I have been studying herbal medicine for 5 years and gardening as a means of income for 7. I have seen and felt the magic of these plants work on myself and others throughout my time as an apprentice with Healing Spirits Herb Farm, during my clinical training at the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine, and through my personal studies. I was clinically trained in energetic herbalism. My teacher Karyn Sanders and her partner Sarah Holmes shared with their students what Karyn's grandmother shared with her from their Choctaw tradition. Now when working with the plants I not only call upon the plants' physical healing properties but also honor the energetic "personality" of the plant to help people shift and change their own energetic patterns of holding. I have learned that much illness is rooted in an energy held in our physical body. When plants help us to shift the energy, the physical shifts as well. Through Wild Island Herbs, I hope to share my love for the plants and continue introducing people to these incredible beings that can support us and teach us so much.
Getting this project off the ground will be no easy task. Building up the soil in the field alone will take nearly a year with cover cropping and the application of organic soil amendments. Along with the construction of the greenhouse, fencing will need to be installed around the large garden space to keep deer from munching on select medicinal plants. And of course the plants must to be procured, planted and tended throughout the years.
Expenses will exceed $8,000 dollars for supplies alone but with the support of family, friends, and loved ones the financial burdens would no longer be a hinderance as I work to get this little business up and running.
Some expenses will include:
Greenhouse Cost: Est $3,500
Fencing Cost: Est $2,000
Cost of trees, shrubs, root stock, and seeds: Est $1,500
Cost of Compost and other soil amendments: Est $1500
If you would like to support this project, a diversity of wild plants, pollinators, and the Cranberry Isles Community, anything will help, and every little contribution will be deeply appreciated.
P.s. You may have seen my grant application video. The grant money I am applying for unfortunately will only cover a small portion of the expenses outlined above. The money I am asking for in the GoFundMe will help cover additional expenses, and will ensure that I can get started even if I am not chosen for the grant.
P.S.S. If you are local to the Cranberry Isles, you may remember my brain child the “Island Ecology Project” farm stand. For the past few years I’ve been working with a group of young women doing farmy-gardeny projects and classes here and there, talking about compost, pollinators, water, veggies, and of course herbs. Unfortunately the band had to break up as each of the girls sought their own unique path. My path is to be here on this island working with medicinal plants so I guess Great Cranberry is stuck with me! You can follow my adventures with the plants on instagram :@sarahjmccracken
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