By Kara Buchanan
The Spoonful Herbals Apprenticeship program is winding down for its 4th season, anchored at the Rooted Heart Rising garden at Rock Point. An enthusiastic group has been meeting weekly since May to learn to identify, cultivate and create food and medicine with native and cultivated herbs in locations around the greater Burlington area. The garden space at Rock Point serves as a primary cultivation site and the wild meadows of the land offer a unique opportunity to study many plants in the wild.
The apprenticeship program encourages respectful stewardship of the land, honorable harvesting practices and community service. As a result of learning to grow and prepare the plants, they create a variety of products which are further shared with community members through a CSA share. CSA members have also been invited to events at Rock Point to learn in the garden and sample herbal-themed pizza fresh out of the Rock Point pizza ovens! Other visiting groups have included UVM and Burlington High School students, City Market members, and YMCA Camp Ignite.
Spoonful Herbals is dedicated to creating and protecting pollinator habitat and helped to grow and share a number of plants for Rock Point’s newly-planted pollinator meadow demonstration garden. Working with property manager, Chuck Courcy, several areas of regularly mowed lawn, were designated for less frequent mowing, allowing them to flower and provide increased nectar and habitat. The resident beekeepers have had a particuarly healthy honey harvest this year and attribute this change as a significant part of that success.
Spoonful Herbals is a non-profit organization and is the collaborative effort of co-directors, Kara Buchanan and Katherine Elmer. Kara and her husband, Gus, history teacher at Rock Point School, have stewarded this garden for 20 years. Self-guided tours are most welcome! Descriptive signage is provided through out, sniffing and tasting is encouraged, and pollinator sightings almost guaranteed!
Registration will be open soon for next years programs. Kara & Katherine are happy to work with individuals and groups who would like to learn more about herbal medicine. More info can be found on the website: https://spoonfulherbals.org/