76: Amanda Midkiff on Growing Medicinal Herbs
Amanda’s favorite herbs:
Nettle – Supports the body’s nonspecific response to stress, is safe for almost everyone, can be taken every day, and is high in vitamins and trace minerals
Lemon balm – It’s easy to grow, delicious, and is used as a mood uplifter!
Comfrey – Great for small spaces, helps to heal cuts quickly, and one plant is more than you’ll need for all your Comfrey needs, and can be used for mulch
3 books on growing herbs Amanda highly recommends:
The Medicinal Herb Grower by Richo Cech
The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm by Peg Shafer
The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale by Jeff Carpenter
A book that continues to give Amanda the courage to run her own farm: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. “Whenever I feel trapped or very frightened I read that book and it feels like a reality check that the world around us is an illusion that we create for ourselves… That book always reminds me that if I’m opting into a system, I’m the one opting into it…I’m creating my own reality in every moment and I’m responsible for that and I need to take responsibility for my choices.”
More about Locust Light Farm:
Locust Light Farm grows over 80 varieties of medicinal herbs on just over an acre of land. They use the herbs they grow to make healing herbal products and distribute those products through a Community Supported Wellness program (CSW). The CSW works much like a CSA: members sign up and receive a “share” of herbal products once a month. Locust Light Farm offers two types of CSW shares: The Wellness Share, which features medicinal products such as tea blends, tinctures, and salves, and The Decadence Share that feature culinary items and body products, such as herb-infused honeys and vinegars, massage oils, and elixirs. The CSW runs year-round and shares can be shipped nationwide.
The CSW is an excellent way for people to learn to incorporate herbal healing into their lives. Herbs can be excellent for maintaining health, for preventative care, or for treatment of daily complaints. Members receive educational information with each share, and become well-versed with a variety of herbs.
Amanda chose the CSW model because she feels passionately about helping people to feel empowered about their healthcare and wellness. She feels that herbs are a great tool for health and works to make the products accessible to people who have never used herbs before. Most of her members are new to herbalism, and she loves that. “At first members may be a little uncertain about what they’ve gotten themselves into,” says Midkiff, “but soon they’ll be saying ‘I’m getting a bad cold. Can you send me some white yarrow? Or ‘I was really drained from work this week, so I started taking the ashwagandha and it really helped!’ and that is what I love to do: put herbal medicines into the hands of people who might otherwise not have known about them.”
Locust Light Farm is Certified Naturally Grown. They strive to cultivate the herbs in ways that honor the plants’ innate wildness. They are slowly incorporating permaculture design into their operation, and feel grateful everyday to steward a beautiful piece of land.
Where can you find more about Amanda?
LocustLightFarm.com – You can find out more about her CSW and sign up here!
Locust Light Farm on Facebook
Amanda is also our featured farmer for this month! Read our Q&A with her here.