East Bay Medicinal Herb Garden Educational Center
PROPOSAL – view design
- That a group of significant spokespersons from East Bay herbal studies programs be invited to a conversation to discern how we can create a medicinal herb garden together.
- That we explore our abilities to jointly sponsor, fund, or otherwise procure the garden facility that we need.
- That we jointly put forth a proposal to our local municipalities, and others, to receive the garden facility we seek.
- That we jointly design this garden. A proposed design may be found here.
- That we jointly support the management of this garden through a committed directorship, and with assisting internships from each of the contributing herbal studies programs.
- That a non-profit financial remuneration be derived organically from herb plant and plant product sales, and also from public educational programs.
- That we create a board of oversight comprised from our participating herbal studies programs, and also including others of significant expertise, interest and perspective.
- That Healing Spirit Plants may have some things to contribute to the establishment and management of the medicinal plants garden.
- I would like to offer my experience and service to the creation and management of this medicinal plants garden, and to the furthering of this and its associated missions.
- A Community Centered Peace.
If you are finding resonance with this proposal and mutual need for a significant shared medicinal herb garden as a community centerpiece, please review the following background information.
Healing Spirit Plants is a nonprofit (status not yet “official”), organic (becoming “certified”) private medicinal plant nursery and garden with the mission to grow, demonstrate and provide medicinal herb plants from traditions around the world. Additional aspects of this mission are to preserve traditional plant wisdom, foster alternatives to pharmacological dependency, reclaim our economy, ground our personal energies, and encourage the return to practices which create a compassionate energy presence. The ultimate objective is to facilitate, through engagement, practice and experience, a deepening sensitivity and awareness. In the garden, there is a deeper understanding of how this can happen within us.
DEVELOPMENT and CURRENT STATUS
I, Richard S. Koenig, am the founder, owner and sole proprietor of Healing Spirit Plants. This project was inspired within me over 15 years ago, and was eventually initiated as a “hobby” (by definition, consuming all of my spare time and income) with the aspiration of becoming a self-sustaining business. My prayer is that it will actually be able to pay for my time and energy involved. It is a labor of love! Healing Spirit Plants currently consists of approximately 200 plant varieties, totaling 5,000 medicinal herb plants in “one gallon” nursery pots, entirely covering a 5,000 (50’ x 100’) square ft lot, and including a 16’ x 20’ greenhouse, as well as a plastic hoop house.
So far, Healing Spirit Plants has been blessed by the Divine providence of major material necessities (space, van, computer, greenhouse, market tent, signs, labels, website, etc) to make this all come into fruition. Because the Healing Spirit Plants nursery/garden is presently occupying a private residential property in Emeryville Ca., there is not a legal opportunity to be publicly “open for business” or for educational activities to take place on the premises.
As a business, Healing Spirit Plants entered the farmers markets in July of 2009, appearing in Oakland (Grand-Lake), Fremont/Newark (New Park Mall), San Francisco (Stonestown Galleria) and Mill Valley (Whole Foods shopping center). As the entity Healing Spirit Plants, medicinal herb plants of all genres of healing are currently being displayed and sold on weekends at the Grand-Lake Farmers Market in Oakland, and the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market in San Rafael. This presence offers opportunities for acquaintance, education, inspiration and acquisition of medicinal herb plants for the creation of healing gardens. At this point, as a business, Healing Spirit Plants is financially responsible for itself, but not yet able to pay for my personal living expenses; so I am required to continue my freelance gardening services work for necessary income.
NEED FOR LARGER SPACE
During this past year, I have received numerous requests to open the Garden of Healing Spirit Plants to various herb schools, classes and workshop opportunities, as well as invitations to teach. As an ethnobotanist and grower, I can most specifically share my experience in approximating the optimum conditions, facilitating the growth of these plants. However, it is more of my heart and understanding that it is actually the plants themselves that we need to learn from; and that therefore, it is my responsibility to stand out of the way, thus facilitating participants’ direct interaction with the energy presences of the plants. Because Healing Spirit Plants has intensively consumed its current growing space, the resulting congestion is compromising essential production and adequate growing conditions. These constraints, as well as the need for public/commercial access, and open space to facilitate personal and teaching interaction in the garden, and the potential of generate supportive revenue, make it necessary for Healing Spirit Plants to seek a new and hopefully ultimate location.
It has become clear that Healing Spirit Plants now needs a space (15,000sqft), approximately 3 times the lot size it currently occupies: ample space for people, classes, meditation and ceremonies. This space will need to have water, electricity/power and sewage; and hopefully an accommodating “gardener cottage” (or minimal living residency) for a caretaker/ garden manager. Other useful facilities could include a meeting room for classes, an herbal preparation room, and a sales shop area.
It will need a space for soils, composting, and potting, as well as a parking area and delivery access. Ideally, it will need to be fenced to secure it from marauders, to protect the property, as well as to preserve a sacred space.
This search for a new garden space has lead to several realizations concerning location. Eighteen years experience in the San Francisco Bay Area nursery industry has demonstrated that plants from everywhere in the world can be successfully grown, and expected to happily survive “in the inner Bay Area” (within the bayside of the local surrounding ridges), where the climate is non-freezing and temperate. Recently an invitation to relocate on a property in the Santa Cruz mountains made it clear that public accessibility (local presence, commercial opportunity, “easy to get to,” community example, and source of inspiration) is an essential part of this mission and transformative action. In light of this, it seems necessary that this Garden space be located within the Oakland-Berkeley East Bay community.
A COMMUNITY CENTERPIECE
Over the past years, we have experienced the realization of massive economic disenfranchisement by the very rich and established institutions, the redirection of the jobless to self-reliant innovation in local opportunities, and the resulting grass roots level reclamation of our economy through community gardens springing up in empty lots. And now, it has also become apparent that the proliferation of herbal studies and related gardening programs are in significant need of an exemplary and experiential teaching facility: A full fledged Medicinal Herb Garden in the Oakland- Berkeley community. This suggests the potential and opportunity to establish a significant medicinal herb and healing garden as an essential community centerpiece, and one which facilitates and empowers a shifting economics and paradigm, and a resulting consciousness. As we are living in a community of many cultures, comprised of rapidly vanishing cultural traditions, and with them their inherent depths of consciousness, and manner of mind use focus, it is essential that we maintain these traditional herbal resources, and our connection with them. It is this deeper consciousness and sensitivity orientation of mind use focus that facilitates compassion and peace in our diverse community, and in our relations with other cultures throughout the world.
A FULL-FLEDGED MEDICINAL HERB GARDEN
A full fledged medicinal herb garden needs to encompass the major medicinal traditions: Chinese acupuncture, Indian Ayurvedic, Arabian/ Mediterranean, classical European, Latin American, Native North American, and perhaps also African, Southeast Asian, Japanese, Siberian, etc. It should include the full spectrum of herbs used in all the known healing modalities.
These modalities include everything from the physical and physiological, through the psychological and spiritual; and in the forms of plant parts, poultices, teas, tinctures, decoctions, ointments, essential oils, flower essences, smudging smokes, and homeopathic micro-doses. Reverence for the energies of living presence, as well as pharmacological properties, requires a sacred space within which to experience spiritual communion.
If you would like to participate in this conversation and establishment process, please contact me: Richard S. Koenig at email@example.com, or call me at (510) 526-8704 with your contact information (name, organization, email address and phone number).
I look forward to receiving your reply, and to our working together on this project.
Sincerely, and with Blessings,
Richard S. Koenig
Healing Spirit Plants