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Experience Garden City + Backyard Medicine

Happy August! We hope you’re enjoying all that this bountiful Idaho summer has to offer: lakes, rivers, mountains, sun,  and PLANTS!

The Vervain Collective is busy preparing to open our doors inside the Roots Zero Waste Market space, and will be participating in the family-friendly party, Experience Garden City on August 31 from 12-8!  We are so excited to provide our community with a gathering place for celebrating the human-plant relationship. Exploring our natural environment and finding plant allies to use for food and medicine is part of the human experience. Last month’s newsletter focused on issues related to sustainable and ethical foraging, and this month, we’re journeying into our own yards!

Many Medicinal Plants Thrive Locally in Gardens & Farm Landscapes!

In addition to prairies, forests, and river banks, we can find many medicinal plants in the environments we shape near home! Read on for some thoughtful insights from Jessica Harrold ofHen & Hare Microfarm with Apis. Jess and her husband Ammon have a small-acreage farm and produce apothecary goods with plants they grow themselves.

Why You Should Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs – by Jessica Harrold

Growing your own herbs provides a multitude of benefits to the environment. With a bit of space, some clippers, and a drying rack, you can make a beautiful and sustainable impact on your personal space and community.

- Reduce your carbon footprint. Due to safety and storage requirements, herbs are often stored and shipped in plastic. When you grow your own you can store them in glass and never worry about having excess packaging to throw away. You also save the gas emissions from the farm to the warehouse to your front step.

- Control your quality and freshness.When you dry your own, you know exactly when it was harvested and you can reduce the handling and storage time.

- Provide habitat for local insects. By growing herbs and shrubs in your backyard, you provide food and shelter for pollinators and increase the biodiversity in your community.

- Ensure that wild areas aren’t over-harvested. As the human population encroaches on the wilderness, humans continually take more and more resources. By wisely using lands that we inhabit instead of infiltrating other habitats, we make the best use of our spaces and can leave more resources for animals and insects that rely on those food sources (get rid of that lawn!). If too many people harvest one location, even if they use the rule of thirds, they can have a huge impact on the plant species there (nd even at home I still use the rule of thirds)

- Save money! Many herbs are easy to care for and readily come back each season. By investing in a beautiful herb garden, you can enjoy perennial and re-seeding herbs year after year.

Thanks, Jess!

You’ll soon be able to find many luscious Apis products on our shelves! Chock full of backyard favorites like lavender, mint, sage, and rosemary, Apis’ Cuticle Salve is a summer gardener’s best friend.

Are You a Gardener,  Or Do You Want To Be?

Integrating beautiful and medicinal herbs and flowers into your home landscape creates year-round interest and resources for personal use. Kelsey, our resident gleeful gardener, shared a quick tour on our Instagram recently. Check out her happy place in Part 1 and Part 2, including that gorgeous and fragrant Anise Hyssop! This herb smells like black licorice, and also has notes of lemon, pine, sage, black pepper, and camphor giving it a complex scent and flavor. Treat yourself by chopping the leaves and flowers to make simple syrups for cocktails, a sweet flavoring to iced tea, or adding to baked goods like muffins and butter cookies.

Vervain’s Fully Stocked Medicinary Will Be There To Support You!

At The Vervain Collective’s plant-based apothecary, we’ll have jars and jars of herbs, roots, flowers, and powders to supplement the foragers’ and growers’ stocks. It’s important for people to have local sources because you can’t always grow and store everything, and realistically, many people don’t have time, space, interest, or a green thumb! We’ve got you covered! We’re working with a select group of medicinal herb farmers to stock our shelves with high quality, sustainably grown botanicals for you to take home! As Jessica Harrold noted above, packaging can be problematic. Located inside the Roots Zero-Waste Market, Vervain is committed to reducing packaging waste by ordering in bulk quantities and working with local and regional suppliers to improve the sustainability of our supply chain. By buying from Vervain in the quantities you need using reusable storage containers, we can work together to keep plastic out of our landfills and water bodies!

Meet Purple Sage Farms (as if you didn’t already know them!)

One of those amazing local suppliers is Purple Sage Farms, one of Idaho’s longest-running organic family farms. Kelsey and Nicole were lucky enough to be treated to a tour of their lush greenhouses and fields and have inspiring conversations about a sustainable, ethical, local supply chain. Mike and Jackie Sommer are incredible people who are fun to be around and show us what heartfelt hard work looks. A man of many talents, Mike makes a delicious kombucha as well!. Keep an eye out for them on our class/demo schedule so you can learn from them as we have!

Dr. Pierce’s Corner

I recently listened to this inspiring Herb Rally podcast by Maria Noel Groves of Wintergreen Botanicals about growing medicinal herbs for stress and pain, and it was as if she was speaking directly to me! It inspired me to make a stress-relieving blend for my daughter to take while she starts her first semester of college, and one for me while I send my oldest child to college while starting a new business! My formula will most assuredly contain one of my favorite herbs, Blue Vervain. Read more about our love for Verbena Hastata on our IG post!

I can’t wait to set up Maria’s books on our shelves and get started planning my own backyard healing playground! But in the meantime, my plan is to hire local landscaping wizard Niky Dryden of Split Pea Edible Landscaping to help us turn our backyard into a pollinator oasis.

Another book we’re looking forward to carrying on our shelves is The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride. Enjoy her refreshing summer smoothie recipe featuring the stress-busting Backyard Favorite, Lemon Verbena.

Lemon Verbena Nectar Smoothie Recipe

This is a simple and delicious treat that can be adapted to whatever fruit is in season.

- 1 tablespoon honey

- 1 cup frozen berries

- 1 cup yogurt

- A handful of fresh mint

- Dash of cardamom

Begin by making lemon verbena tea: Add 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried lemon verbena to 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil with a lid on the pot, let it steep for 1/2 hour and then strain out the herbs. Stir in honey to taste while the tea is still hot. Add blueberries, yogurt, mint, and cardamom.

Blend with ice and enjoy!

I hope to see you at Experience Garden City from 12-8 on August 31 To your joy and health,

Dr. Nicole Pierce NMD

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