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The Seed SistAs Go Back To School

by Fiona Heckels

We Seed SistAs have a vision. A dream to create positive social change through connecting people with the medicine and healing potential of the plants growing around them. We have devoted our lives to the teaching of plant medicine and are so grateful to all of you that open our newsletters, come on workshops, share our events and interact with our social media.

We are passionate about the proliferation of plant knowledge and bringing this ancient wisdom back into our daily culture. It seems bizarre that so much of society is disconnected from the knowledge of plant medicine, something that is so effective, accessible and many times free.

We have a long and complex political history in the UK that has affected the way we view and interact with our wild spaces and our health. The Seed SistAs believe, and see in action in our work, that connecting people with their local medicinal plants often does two things. It empowers people to take charge of their own healthcare and it inspires people to connect more deeply with the land around them and to protect our clean soils, air and water.

As our projects have become more wide reaching, and the number of community growing projects initiated by us and our students is increasing across the country, we became aware that we needed to make the foundations of our Social Enterprise more solid. From solid foundations we can then manage the volume of exciting projects and off-shoots of the organisation and increase our social impact.

Sensory Herbalists tending to a community herb garden

Capitalist business models with their sole focus on profit and growth, while useful for identifying purpose, don’t sit right with our goals of promoting freedom, autonomy and diversity in healthcare and stewardship of the land. That is why we formed our company as a not-for-profit Social Enterprise. This year, we have been fortunate to be able to access mentorship from the School of Social Entrepreneurs.

The School of Social Entrepreneurs was founded in 1997, by a forward thinking socialist named Michael Young. It came from the ideas generated by a think tank for community studies. As well as supporting those individuals striving to create a better world, it helps to establish strong foundations in business so that their work can be sustainable and create a larger social impact.

The School of Social Entrepreneurs has been an amazing link for us. We are enrolled in a year-long program that will help us to establish whether we are achieving the social change that we envisage and the ways in which we can do it better.

Part of the strong foundations that we need in order to work deeply and efficiently toward our goals for social change involve establishing a permanent home for Sensory Solutions work. A place where we can bring creativity, learning and healing together to form a hub of expertise and education that can reach into the wider world. A teaching school and convalescence centre. Where medicine is food and herbs, art and fresh air. Where the plants, community and creativity are our teachers.

We want to reduce the pressure on the NHS by empowering people to take simple steps towards supporting their own healthcare needs and that of their families and communities. We embrace seasonal ritual, celebration and creativity as tools to enhance cohesion and resilience in our communities. We want to protect the Earth from greed and violence by educating people to spread biodiversity, establish growing projects and steward the land and our valuable plant allies.

Embarking on the journey with the School of Social Entrepreneurs has been simultaneously humbling and empowering. To share a room with so many amazing and generous minds and to be inspired and encouraged by the tutors has been really remarkable. Projects from food waste cooking, to health and social care provision for the elderly, LGBT support groups and pamphlet production for new dads. There are so many areas in which our society falls short but together we can inspire each other, cross-pollinate ideas and knowledge and build a more inclusive, diverse and healthy society now and for future generations.

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