Wild Herb Weekend 2023
Science & Tradition
Our Keynote, Justin Robinson, is a botanist, studying and preserving the rare plants of NC–carrying on the ethnobotany work of his grandfather, J.G. Known for his work as a culinary historian and ethnobotanist, Robinson explores the ways that plants, foods, and knowledge of the African Diaspora shaped Southern culture. As fiddler for the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he is preserving traditional forms of music and to remind audiences that the fiddle was, historically, an African American instrument.
Lorri Bura gardens with the help of the Spirits (Devas) of the Plants, the land and with Nature herself to create an environment that brings out the best the plants have of offer. Lorri has taken her farm from a small crop of calendula to 20 acres of USDA Certified Organic production; even the Poison Ivy is certified. She is currently studying the cultivation of Woodland Medicinals as part of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition and has several woodland crops under cultivation.
Whether he's pointing out poison ivy, pontificating on poke sallet, crooning about creasy greens, jiving about ginseng, or extolling the virtues of dandelions, herbalist, author and storyteller, Doug Elliott is known for his lively presentations as well as his broad, practical, scientific and cultural knowledge of the area's many useful wild plants.
Karen Hurtubise served as Creative Program Advisor for Gardening, Nature Studies, Soapmaking, and Storytelling for the John C Campbell Folk School. Karen has been farming and gardening since 1982; in 2013 she switched from u-pick raspberries to turmeric and ginger for market. Karen and her husband John Clarke love learning about and cultivating mushrooms and a plant wide array of pollinator friendly, native, and medicinal plants including Oak and American Chestnut trees.
Alexander Meander is a forager, wildcrafter, naturalist, herbalist, nurseryman, and homesteader. His existence is punctuated by seeking connection to, and cultivating relationship with, the Otherworld, the divinity within and without. Meander and his family dwell on 60 acres that were originally inhabited by indigenous peoples. Primarily this would be the Cherokee (Aniyvwiya, “the real people”) and the Catawba (Iswa, “people of the river”).
Larson Smith, owner/farmer at Sunshine Cove, cultivated his passion for farming while growing microgreens and other small crops out of his basement and unused office spaces. Larson moved operations to Valle Crucis, NC in 2017 where, with the help of his crew and partner, Michelle Dineen, the farm continues to provide The High Country and beyond with the finest and rarest microgreens, shoots, and edible flowers.
Abby Artemisia’s interest in the botanical world first began as a child–climbing trees, hiking in the woods and tromping through creeks. This love of nature led her to a degree in Botany from Miami University. Abby believes that many modern ailments are a result of not enough time spent in nature. Her favorite activity is to take people out in the woods and teach them about the plants that grow all around them.
Dr. Jeanine Davis is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. For over 30 years, she has researched medicinal herbs, forest farming, and organic agriculture and shares her knowledge with growers across the country. She is the lead author of the book “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals”. Jeanine and her family operate Our Tiny Farm where they raise and board mini-donkeys.
Todd Elliott is a biologist, naturalist, and forager. His work in global biodiversity and interrelationships in nature has taken him to remote corners of six continents. Todd is an author of the Timber Press field guide Mushrooms of the Southeast and has discovered and described species of mushrooms new to science. Recently he has been conducting research in Australia studying the role vertebrates play in the dispersal of fungi (truffles in particular).
Lori Jenkins is an Asheville-area Traditional Herbalist, Wildcrafter, and practicing Kitchen Witch of over 20 years. She is the owner and creatress behind Sister of Mother Earth, LLC, a small-batch herbal business focusing on herbal tonics, wildcrafted potions and elixirs. Lori creates magick in the kitchen to share with the community around her. Her classes often include practical applications of kitchen witchcraft and medicine, informed by many great teachers and herbalists in turn.
Chris Smith is executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a food and farm focused non-profit increasing agrobiodiversity in Western NC. Chris collaborates on The Heirloom Collard Project, hosts a seasonal Trial to Table event series, and publishes Crop Stories, a crop specific multimedia project. His book, The Whole Okra, won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2020; in 2023 he was awarded the Organic Growers School's Organic Educator Award.
Mary Morgaine Squire
aka Mary Plantwalker steeps herself daily in the spirit of plants. Whether it be drinking, tending, eating, planting, observing or singing to them, plant relations are her life! As the matriarch of Herb Mountain Farm, Mary creates sanctuary for not only plants, but birds, humans and many other creatures through conscious earth stewardship. She documents the life unfolding on this magical planet through writing, photography and collage, hoping to inspire others to care deeply for our Mother Earth and all of her children.