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African American Herbalism Panel at UCGTCF's Harvest Festival!

This Sunday, straight after our farm fresh lunch, we’ll be blessed to learn from four amazing ladies about African American herbalism in the Northern East Bay.

One of these ladies is named Iyalode Kinney, founder and garden director of CURME (Communities United Restoring Mother Earth). Iyalode grew up in San Francisco in the 1950s and found a connection with Mother Earth at a very early age. At six years old, she explains, “I started on my quest of working with the soil, cultivating people and plants, together, in a healing environment…I was laughed at, running around picking and eating plants, bringing plants to school for lunch, trying to pass edible flowers around at dinnertime. The laughter and ridicule didn’t bother me; my calling was larger than what some people thought of me. In school, the more I was told ‘no,’ the more determined I became.” And determined she was! Iyalode has worked hard her whole life to bring herself and others closer to Mother Earth, and provide food and healing for others along the way.

Iyalode founded CURME in 1999. “We reclaim vacant lots and schoolyards and turn them into flourishing gardens of utility and beauty where human, animal and botanical life mingle and create shared and sustained value. In these havens, we provide job training to the homeless; edible landscaping is grown to offer high quality nutrition for the hungry, and medicinal plants and garden pharmacies are grown to assist in the healing of those without healthcare, and provide education for creating a consciousness that combines spirituality and ecology, offering hope for the future.” CURME’s work also provides a space for folks to share cultural knowledge of biodiversity and healing remedies with one another. “A rich, yet common living knowledge, a wealth of historical biological understanding and human value, often ignored, is not only preserved through our work – it is thriving.”

Don’t miss the chance to hear from Iyalode this Sunday! She’ll be joined by Michele Lee, traditional healer and author of the soon-to-be-published Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing. Additionally, we’ll be blessed with the presence of Doris Mason, and Maya Blow from Soul Flower Farm, an urban farm “striving to incorporate biodynamic farming methods and permaculture design to be self sustaining.” It will be an incredible panel.

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