463: Nicole Finklestein on Urban Herb Farming.
Tapping into the many benefits of backyard botanicals.
Nicole is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, licensed acupuncturist, and registered herbalist who was raised as a naturalist on her family’s berry farm in rural Ohio. She spent much of her childhood exploring the plant kingdom and testing botanical remedies passed down through generations of Appalachian healers. With over a decade of Western and Eastern herbal study, she founded Herban Austin – an herb farm in Central Texas where she cultivates botanicals for both medicinal and culinary use.
In This Podcast:
While becoming a licensed acupuncturist and doctor, Nicole Finklestein felt the carbon footprint of the medicinals and botanicals in her practice was extensive. She drew on her family farming background to start growing herbs and flowers. She discusses holistic practices used on her farm, as well as regenerative agriculture used to rebuild the soil. She has great advice for those interested on jumping into the niche market of medicinal farming.
Listen in and learn about:
- Her childhood on a strawberry farm
- Relocating to Texas and becoming licensed as an acupuncturist and doctor
- Recognizing the carbon footprint of the medicinals being prescribed was unsettling to her
- Herb growing for medicinal use is a niche market at the moment
- Growing up to 52 botanicals on one acre for several markets
- Increasing the flowers and botanical with an apiary
- Using sustainable gardening practices: polycrops, leaving blossoms for pollinators, building a holistic system
- Using regenerative agriculture to help build the soil
- Over 360 medicinals in Chinese herbal pharmacopeia
- She was involved in local urban gardens and agriculture
- Started a greenhouse and started experimenting to find out what would thrive there
- Incorporating education for families in the area
- Wildcrafting and foraging for medicinal – but with respect for the plants
- Venturing into hemp and CBD oil
As well as:
Her failure – Tried shove as much as possible on the limited land and running into crop failure.
Her success – Seeing people who are willing to take the next step and grow or incorporate new herbs
Her drive – Seeing the industry changes occurring right now
Her advice – Educate yourself as a grower as much as possible on the botany of the plant and plant families. Also incorporate companion planting into your grow space. Basil with tomatoes, cilantro with spinach, nasturtiums with squash.
Nicole’s Book recommendations:
The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale by Jeff and Melanie Carpenter
How to reach Nicole: