MOTHER EARTH MIAMI
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FIELDSNOTES BLOG

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED HERBALISM FALL 2018

Seeds are starting to sprout, and we are celebrating the official start of the Miami growing season! We love the sun, but we are happy to think about wearing sweaters to work.

This Fall will be a very special one for us, since we will be working from our first nursery and we are building our very own farm plot and garden for the community located in Little Haiti. Finding land in Miami for agriculture is a huge challenge. Our communities are constantly being gentrified and developers often take the seldom available green spaces to build high rises. We are very grateful to our landlord, Ray Chasser, from Earth n Us Farm for allowing us to build our dreams within his farm and animal sanctuary. We feel very welcomed by the neighbors and in awe of all the people that have stopped by and helped us build this space under the harshest sun. We sweated, laughed, cried, lost a few pounds, and feel hopeful that Miami can create a community that cares for mother earth. It is also a very special time since September marks 1 year since we both decided to join forces and venture into this project. Feliz cumple to us!

We don’t have enough words to describe how happy it makes us to know so many people care for us and are interested in connecting with nature. Thanks to Patty, Juan, Mike, David and Daniel for working and creating with us and putting a lot of love and dedication into the project. We would also like to thank Ray, Leslie, Nikki, Alessa, David, Beth, John, Mary, Vicky, Pats, Jason, Paula, Santi, Margie, Marcelle, Andrew, Ashley, Marco, Zarron, Drigo, Sharlia, Otto, Jordy, Andres, Kevin, Maria Alecia, Nati, Sandra, Monica, Alecia, Logan, Sandra, Olivia, Emily, Muña, Beth, La pollita Miami, Rebecca, Marcelle, Noah, Marco, Rocio, and many other friends that volunteered.

In this share you can find two collaborations. For the reishi double extract we collaborated with Carmen and Arturo from South Florida Fungi and for the scalp tonic we collaborated with Albertte from Hair Therapy 101.

We are excited to share with you our first community supported herbalism share pick-up at our new nursery! Let’s celebrate the Fall Equinox together.

SMALL SHARE

Avocado pit dyed bulk bag

Ashwagandha infused honey 4 fl oz

Herbal salt 1.5oz

Gardeners salve 1oz

Reishi mushroom double extract 2 fl oz

Neem sticks (a gift)

LARGE SHARE

Avocado pit dyed bulk bag

Ashwagandha infused honey 6 fl oz

Herbal salt 4.5oz

Gardeners salve 2oz

Reishi mushroom double extract 2 fl oz

Neem sticks (a gift)

Echinacea elixir 2 fl oz

Scalp Tonic 8 fl oz

AVOCADO PIT DYED BULK BAG

This season making the bulk dyes was truly a community collaboration. We chose to work with avocado pits and due to the natural high tannin content in the pits, we achieved a beautiful light pink color without using a mordant. We love experimenting with natural dyes and very soon we will host ‘talleres’ (workshops) where you can learn how to paint with plants and with compost. Food and plants scraps, compost, are more environmentally friendly. 

We met La señora Maruja through our friend Karla and she sew the bags by hand with much love. Maruja is from Puerto Rico and teaches sewing classes to teenagers in La Guadalupe church in Doral.

Avocados are highly present in our diets and in recent years the consumption of avocados in the US has increased significantly. With the increase brings some consequences to our environment, like deforestation and social impact issues to countries where they grow. Luckily for us, avocados grow well in Miami and we can enjoy them around this time of the year. We encourage you to grow them if you have the space or source them locally when in season.

The word “avocado” derives from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means “testicle” and obviously describes the shape of the fruit. In Spanish we call them aguacate and they’re originally from South and Central Mexico.

 For the bags we used avocado pits from a tree by Churchill's pub harvested by Muña and delivered by Otto Von Schirach (from the Bermuda triangle). We also used pits that our neighbor Beth (check her beautiful art) brought us from La Pollita restaurant. We also received help from our friend Bimini Rose, who helped us wash the bags and play with the water hose after school.

ASHWAGANDHA INFUSED HONEY

Sometimes we don’t know if a plant will survive the growing conditions in Miami, most of the information online is directed to people farming in places where they deal with snow or different types of soils. We have used ashwagandha roots in the past to help us go through stressful situations or periods of time since it’s a pretty powerful adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine.

We had noticed the boom in consumption of ashwagandha in the past years in the US and we also noticed that most of the ashwagandha we consume comes from Asia. We read that the plant likes Alkaline soils, so we bought some seeds last year and we were able to harvest the roots last spring. The berries are medicinal and look like tomatillos.

We decided to make a powder with our roots and infuse it with Tessa’s honey from Colony and Comb down in Homestead. The roots have this very strong, particular smell, reminiscent of a horse and a very bitter, pungent flavor. The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. It is said that the plant gives you energy and vitality.

For an easy sleep aid, you can try the classic Ayurvedic combination of milk and the infused ashwagandha honey. This mixture calms vata and fosters healthy sleep patterns, supports the reproductive system, and bolsters strength. If you can’t tolerate milk you can replace it with water1 to 2 tsp a day of this honey is just the right amount to feel its wonderful effects.

We will be selling two varieties of ashwagandha seedlings starting this fall in our nursery!

HERBAL SALT

Culinary salts are a great way to preserve herbs and we love preparing them. This time around, we used rosemary, bay leaves and Cuban oregano as the main ingredient. This strong scented herb is called oregano and smells like oregano, but it actually belongs to the mint family. This perennial plant grows pretty well in Miami, so well that it can take over your garden if it’s not constantly pruned.

Sometimes the plants we take for granted or grow too easily are the most powerful. In our experience you can tell the power of certain weeds and plants by the number of names people give them. Cuban oregano is known by so many names such as Oregano Orejón, Oregano brujo, Menta Mexicana, Borraja India, etc but its scientific name is Plectranthus amboinicus. It is also known for its many medicinal properties specifically related to respiratory conditions.

You can add this salt to many dishes and if you feel inspired in the future, try making some at home! 

GARDENERS SALVE

We want to dedicate this salve to all of our members that love to get their hands dirty with soil. We call it a “Gardeners Salve” but it can be used pretty much for everything... cuts, scrapes, itchiness, burns, etc.

We like to forage for plants when we have time and we have noticed the abundance of Anamu (Guinea Hen) that there is in our new neighborhood. That’s why we used this magical healing herb as the main ingredient in our Gardener’s Salve. We used the leaves and roots and infused them with grapeseed oil. When we chopped the roots, our eyes got so watery, the smell is truly intense like garlic and you can tell by the way the salve smells.

Guinea Hen or Anamu is a cure all and has a million names but it’s scientific one is Petiveria alliacea. It was re-introduced to us by our fellow Herbalist and friend Julia Onnie-hay. In Colombia and Venezuela, we call it Mapurite or Hierba de ajo because of its intense garlicky smell. I know, maybe you were expecting a floral fragrance but most of the time the most powerful medicine is bitter and pungent. Getting healed sometimes means a strong scent.

Anamu is a perennial plant that is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa. It is a highly used herb by curanderos in the Amazon and, it is used for both for medicine and magic. The roots of the plants can be used in topical remedies for the skin. Guinea Hen (Anamu) has anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and many other beneficial properties.

We also added Neem leaves, Calendula flowers, Comfrey leaves, grape-seed oil, castor oil, and beeswax from our friends at Colony and Comb.

REISHI MUSHROOM DOUBLE EXTRACT

We met Carmen from South Florida Fungi at the USDA office one day when we were looking for grants as small farmers. She worked in the grants/loans office and she shared with us her passion: growing & foraging fungi. We got so excited with her stories that we pre ordered reishi mushrooms from her before she even started growing them full time. She grew them with love using organic practices here in Miami with her husband Arturo. We then put together the mushrooms with organic sugarcane alcohol followed by a second extraction. It took months to make and the results came out amazing!

We are going to be putting together a medicinal mushroom workshop with them next month, so please stay tuned for updates! You will learn how to make your own extract, you will take home a mushroom growing kit and your extract amongst many other surprises. It’s going to be amazing.

Reishi is probably the most well-known medicinal mushroom and it’s an adaptogen. Its use as a general wellness tonic is evident in some of its other common names, like “Mushroom of Immortality” and “Mushroom of Longevity.” It can be used on both an acute and long-term basis to support immune functioning. This restorative mushroom also helps support the adrenal glands. We think of this as the mushroom to use when you’re stressed out, run down, and getting sick frequently. It’s also a fabulous mushroom for allergies and hay fever, as it can reduce the histamine response to environmental triggers. 

How to take

The doses are on the high end for medicinal mushrooms. It’s suggested to take 5 ml of the tincture 3 times daily for active immune boosting, or 2 ml twice daily for immune and adrenal support. One full dropper is 0.8 ml.

Medicinal and dose information taken from Aviva Romm, MD.

NEEM STICKS

Many cultures around the world use the twigs of trees to cleanse their mouths, most often from oak and neem trees. This method is very effective, that is if they stick to their unprocessed traditional diets, to their health and environment. In some parts in rural India, Africa, Southeast Asia and South America people use brick, charcoal, rangoli powder, mud, salt or ash for cleaning the teeth. 

Because of our consumption of sugars and processed foods and many other habits, we tend to suffer much more from dental health issues and that’s why we tend to use different methods to wash our teeth.

Neem contains anti-carcinogenic, anti-bacterial, antiseptic, antimalarial, anti-viral and antioxidant properties which makes it effective for oral care hygiene.

How does it work? 

Chew the tip of the neem twig. You can do so until you get bristles, as you chew, the fibers of the twig loosen up working like a brush and releasing medicinal agents that can help get rid of harmful microbes. Use it once and when you’re done you can chew and split the twig to make a tongue cleaner. The best part is that when you are done, you can throw it in your compost pile and it will become part of the soil again.

A beautiful cycle!

 

ECHINACEA ELIXIR

Last year our echinacea patch was a great teacher to us. Even though many people, and the internet, told us that it would not be possible to grow it in Miami, we tried anyways. To our surprise, this beautiful purple cone flower bloomed right in front our eyes. It was a treat to see so many butterflies fly around it every day.

We harvested the roots and flower petals right before moving from Little River Cooperative incubator program and after dehydrating it, we proceeded to prepare a tincture with brandy. That tincture we made, turned later into an elixir by adding honey to it. we sourced the honey from our friend Rebecca at Comb Cutters. When we visited Rebecca, she mentioned to us that they are currently selling Bee Hives to people. If you are interested in hosting bees at your house, please contact them!

Echinacea is a member of the daisy family and one of the most widely used and researched herbs in the world! It is known as an herb that helps us re-store our immune system. It is a North American native and the most common type used for medicinal purposes is the E. purpura. Even if you are not into herbs you have probably heard of this one.

Although Miami does not have the ideal weather for this plant, you can still try to grow it at home. We see more and more people trying to grow it a home with good success! We are going to be selling seedlings of 3 different varieties of echinacea plants in our nursery this Fall. Yay!

The brandy that we chose for this elixir is made in small batches in Northern California with organic grapes. With climate change this region and California in general has suffered from wild fires and we wanted to support them and this small and beautiful craft.

You can add a couple drops of the elixir to your tea or take it directly. If you feel that you are getting sick take 1 tsp 3 times a day.

 

SCALP TONIC

We met Blossom Beauty Salon through our dear friend Monica who happens to have beautiful, abundant and shiny hair. We asked her what she did to her hair and she told us that she would visit a woman called Betty and she would get scalp treatments, haircuts and use Betty’s grease. We visited Albertte in her salon in Opa-Locka and we connected immediately when we found out that besides working with hair, she is an Herbalist studying biology and a mother of 2 beautiful girls. Betty likes to make you feel at home, you can feel she cares for her customers and spends time preparing her own scalp/hair medicine and soaps. 

Albertte started using herbs when she had her first child. She learned from her mother how to make homemade medicine for her daughter's eczema and after seeing the results she started sharing her soaps, creams and medicine with people she knew that were going through the same skin problems.

For this Fall CSH, we are happy to collaborate with Albertte. She prepared a scalp treatment that we later infused with herbs and flowers that have been used by many cultures to treat psoriasis, dandruff, alopecia and other scalp diseases while stimulating hair growth.

The base of the tonic consists of potato skins, onion juice, shea butter, plantain extract, castor oil, raphia nitida (osun), cocoa pod ash, lemongrass, blue clitoria flowers, and rosemary.

We would like to thank our neighbor David Bley, for harvesting and dehydrating the clitoria flowers we used to make the castor oil infusion.

How to apply:

Spray a few pumps over your hair. If you have time leave it on for 45 minutes, if you can leave it overnight even better. Massage your scalp for a little while to make sure the liquid reaches everywhere, plus it feels nice. Rinse it off with water.

If you like her product and want to get a schedule an appointment, her is her instagram.

OUR PACKAGING 

Our packaging consists out of amber bottles and glass jars. All these are made in the USA and they are recyclable. Our new labels are made out of recycled paper and they are also made in the USA. The new label drawings were made by local artist and friend Nicole Salcedo.

This information is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease, as these statements have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA or any other organization.

Always consult your healthcare professional before adding any new herbs or supplements to your regime, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking pharmaceuticals.

mother earth