We’ve been organising the Gathering for 4+ years now and want to use some of the energy of our collective connections to offer support to grassroots herbal medicine and related projects that share our reasons for being and our objectives in making change. So we’re starting Herbal Aid – a fund that will be generated from any extra money made from the Gathering each year – to offer small grants to projects. If you are coming to the Gathering this year some money from your ticket charge will contribute to it! 2015 saw the first Herbal Aid from the UK Radical Herbal Gathering but it’s a concept that has been going in the USA for some time – more info about this in the film screening of Herbal Aide.
We’re looking to offer funds to startup projects that we are inspired by that are working to aims that we share – please see our page about Radical Herbalism for a clear idea about this. So we’ll be looking at projects that in some way seek to address health and social injustice & inequality and ecological destruction or are sharing knowledge around herbal practice in accessible ways. The Herbal Aid fund will seek to mainly offer seed money to new projects that will make it possible for them to get up and running. Projects need to be groups or collectives of two or more people.
The projects that were funded in 2015-16 were:
Herbalists without Borders: enabling medical herbalists in cities around the UK to offer free clinical treatment to refugees and asylum seekers where they live and work, and organising medicine-making workshops to send herbal supplies to Calais.
Wild Brew Crew: taking herbal medicine to the streets of London at demos, protests and other events where this collective of herb growers, foragers and practitioners can bring solidarity to struggles they support. Herbs will be gathered fresh on the morning of demos and offered in the form of healing infusions to protesters, with a kelly kettle – with plans to expand to a bike trailer to offer other medicines in future. So far the crew have been at anti-third runway demos in Parliament Square and at Grow Heathrow’s 6th birthday celebrations.
Herbal Caravan/Wild Sistas: crew of dedicated herbalists bringing plant medicine support & healing as well as medicine-making and knowledge-sharing workshops to anti-fracking camps, originally at Barton Moss community protection camp and then at a number of other camps in the north including Hull, Chester, Borras (Wrexholme), Davyholme & Woolston, from their caravan dispensary.
Scottish Radical Herbal Gathering: first one held Autumn 2016, organised by a group of activists & herbalists seeking to challenge inequality and hierarchy inherent in mainstream medicine and working together to develop alternatives based on mutual aid within communities. Currently developing Radical Herbalism Scotland network to skillshare & cultivate better practices and collective analysis around radical healthcare in Scotland.
Grassroots Remedies worker’s cooperative creating free community herbal clinic in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh: aimed at local residents on low incomes in Wester Hailes, in Scotland’s top 5% of deprived neighbourhoods where unemployment, poor mental & physical health and addiction are commonplace. The clinic is based at an integrated centre where local health & other support services as well as low cost massage and other therapies are offered.
Feral Crust, Philippines project: a land & permaculture project planning to make a handbook about natural healing using locally-grown herbal remedies for common illnesses, relevant to their local context and to be circulated with the aim of empowering self-care and mutual aid, to friends in the city and country, families & neighbourhoods and local activists and autonomous spaces – our Herbal Aid aiming to deepen solidarity across borders.
We will invite next year’s Herbal Aid participants to talk about their projects at the 2017 gathering so you can hear about outcomes of the funding.
For more information and to apply for Herbal Aide in 2016-17, email us at radicalherbalismgathering[at]gmail.com