Wild Herb Weekend 2022
Back to Our Roots

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Keynote speaker Mimi Hernandez, MS, RH (AHG) draws upon her rich ethnic background and the influence of her Granny Healers to inspire her work as a clinical herbalist, educator and ethnobotanist. She believes strongly that keeping plant wisdom alive is essential and has dedicated her life’s work to serving as an advocate for both traditional and professional herbal pathways while building cultural bridges of understanding.

Mimi is the Executive Director of the American Herbalists Guild and formerly served as the Director of the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies at Frostburg State University in Maryland

Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager Abby Artemisia lives on the edge of Appalachia in South Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is to offer nature and herbal education, creating healing through connection with the natural world and each other, to create local and global health and prosperity. She is the author of The Forager’s Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders, host of the Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft podcast, and co-founder of the new Sassafras School for Appalachian Plantcraft. Find out more at www.thewanderschool.com

Margaret Bloomquist is a Research Associate with the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences at NC State University. Based in western North Carolina she engages with production based woodland botanical, organic vegetable, hemp, traditional Chinese herb, and other specialty crop research and extension efforts. Margaret received a BSc in Global Resource Systems from the University of British Columbia, and a graduate certificate in Rural Project Management from Makerere University in 2006. She homesteads with her family including dozens of animal, plant, and fungal friends.


A world percussionist of more than 20 years, herbalist of nearly 14 years, and a practical Spagyrist of more than 7 years, James Brock studies and performs the art of Alchemy on herbs and plants using traditional philosophical methods of ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Renaissance period according to planetary rule, the four elements, 3 philosophic principles and alchemical glassware to heal in line with the framework of our universe.

Originally from Upstate NY, Lorri Bura has been (working) with medicinal herbs and energy medicine for over 30 years. She is a Reiki Master who holds an M.S. in Training and Development. Her Upper Hominy Valley herb farm Green Heart Gardens was a viable company for 6 years before she grew the first Certified Organic Hemp in North Carolina, and it's really taken off since. She currently serves as the Steward of the land working in the Wise Woman Tradition and is a founding board member of Carolina Cannabis Cultivator Coalition (C4). Also she raised 3 kids.

​Doug Elliott is an herbalist, naturalist and storyteller, known for his lively presentations as well as his broad, practical, scientific and cultural knowledge of the area's many useful wild plants.  He is the author of five books and a number of award winning recordings. 

Todd Elliott is a biologist, naturalist, and forager with a passion for fungi. His work in global biodiversity and interrelationships in nature has taken him to remote corners of six continents to study the biodiversity and ecology of fungi. Most recently, he has been conducting research in Australia for his PhD on the role vertebrates play in the dispersal of fungi (truffles in particular). 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.

Brenda Huffman is a Naturopathic Doctor and Herbalist. She owns Huffman Herbs, a herb shop in Morganton, NC and has practiced for over 30 years.

NCHA Vice President Mena Killough is the founder and heart of the Green Faerie Apothecary, a project that has allowed her to bridge her knowledge of herbalism into the realm of cocktails and spirits, focusing on the combination of booze and extractions as a tool to shift consciousness. Killough became the first woman to win on the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners: Master Distiller” with her absinthe. 

Pam and Charles Leonard have owned and run Gentle Harmony Farm, a three-and-a-half-acre herb farm, since 2008. They grow high quality USDA certified organic medicinal herbs and through carefully applied hand cultivation and processing offer fresh and dried herbal products to both individuals and businesses. Gentle Harmony is located in the Yadkin River valley not far from Winston-Salem, North  Carolina. 

Taylor Lo Grasso is a lifelong student and practitioner of various healing arts. She is a 500hr certified yoga teacher trained in Traditional Tantra Yoga. Also, a full spectrum, birth+postpartum+abortion+any situation doula, Taylor supports families in their birth and beyond. She has a passion for helping individuals heal through holistic mind/body practices and most recently discovered the power of dislodging stress or trauma stored in the body through polyvagal and Craniosacral touch skills.


Mary Ellen Lough is a poetry therapist, single mother, homesteader, and writer living in a beloved old farmhouse in southern Appalachia. Her family has worked in community organizing and with international non-profits for over two decades, most recently with the Dream Catchers project in Lagos, Nigeria, teaching poetry to children coming off of the streets and helping Seyi Oluyole, founder of the first Free School of the Arts for Girls in Nigeria. She is an herb grower and forager who descended from a long line of German Appalachian folk healers, hillpeople, farmers, wise women, artists, musicians, dreamers, and mystics. 

Gabe Noard of Pangaea Plants has over a thousand years of farming ancestry in his blood, and has has been working the land in Old Fort since 2015. Gabriel has a commitment to not only the organic, biodynamic farm he manages, but also to the local ecology; he’s reserved over 10% of his land for the diverse wildlife that helps to create the perfect, sustainable environment for growing his superior agricultural products.

To be closer to the land, the idea of growing the herbs that were not so readily available locally, evolved into the idea of starting a home-grown business. Inspired by national trends and increased interest in herbs for food and health, Margaret Shelton began her agricultural journey with just a few dozen herbs the first year, in 1986.  Shelton Herb Farm is now open year-round with plants for the changing seasons.