New date - July 8: North Salem’s Westchester Local Food Project presents The Healing Garden: Backyard Herbal Medicine with Shoshanna Rome


There’s a whole world of healing at your fingertips right in your own backyard. Did you know that annoying yellow dandelions hold many different properties for health and well-being? For starters, its roots are used as a diuretic and support the liver; the leaves can be added to salads, the stems can be used as a straw substitute, and the white sap can regulate blood sugar. And that’s just the beginning.

In “The Healing Garden: Backyard Herbal Medicine with Shoshanna Rome,” the first in a series of events, Rome, a community herbalist, will take participants on a journey around Kitchawank land at D.I.G. (Dealing in Good) Farm in North Salem for a “walk and talk” to open up the natural world of holistic healing. Participants will learn how to identify common medicinal plants and their healing properties found in their own backyard, including weeds, flowers, and edible plants. Rome will also explain how to practice ethical harvesting and explore which parts of plants can be used as medicine and how to use them in daily life. The event takes place on Saturday, June 24, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at 115 June Road. Tickets are $25.00. Rome encourages participants to bring a notebook and a camera.

In addition to the dandelion, Rome notes yarrow can be used to stop bleeding, and can also be used on bee stings and bug bites. “Another common backyard plant is violets. The flowers and leaves make a wonderful tea, and the flowers can be infused in oil that can be beneficial for breast and chest tissues,” said Rome, whose goal is to have people become proactive in identifying at least one or two plants with confidence and start adding them to their daily life, even if it’s just a nibble.

The event is being presented by the Westchester Local Food Project (WLFP), whose mission is to collaborate with organizations, schools, and the community at large, encouraging volunteerism, participation, and engagement through educational events to create a thriving, equitable local food system in Westchester county. It’s hosted by D.I.G. Farm, a non-profit teaching farm in North Salem with a mission to reconnect communities to the natural good of the farm. “We have partnered with several school gardens, community gardens, and kitchens to broaden our reach and teach people about living and eating seasonally and locally. This includes wild and foraged food and herbs, which is where Shoshanna and Heather Flournoy fit in as our educators,” said Allison Turcan, D.I.G.’s founder and farmer.

Rome has been immersed in the natural world of holistic healing for the past 14 years. “I love herbalism, incorporating it into my life, and supporting my community in having access to knowledge and use of medicinal plants,” explained Rome, who grew up in Japan where foraging and the use of medicinal plants are still very common. “I remember tagging along with my grandpa and mom into the forest to harvest various plants.”

In 2009, Rome completed an internship at Herb Pharm, a medicinal tincture company in southern Oregon, where she studied medicinal plants and their uses. She expanded her knowledge by attending several conferences and classes across the U.S., where she learned from various herbalists. “I incorporate herbal medicine into my daily life by drinking teas, cooking with herbs, and using herbs as my first line of defense when it comes to common illnesses. Being connected to plants allows me to feel more aware of my surroundings, myself, and to stay passionate and involved about the environmental issues that our world faces.”

According to Rome, more people are showing a greater interest in the natural world. “Local food has taken off in popularity and people’s knowledge about how it is so important for the local economy has expanded. It’s natural for people’s curiosity from local food to grow into local foraged food, food as medicine, and also medicinal plants,” she said. “I think people are eager and interested to know what beneficial plants grow around them and their history of use.”

At the event, Rome will discuss a holistic approach to healing that recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit. She will also share how to create herbal remedies that address physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and ways to add them to your daily routine for maximum benefit. After the class, Rome notes participants will have the knowledge and skills to create their own backyard apothecary and to incorporate holistic healing into their daily life.

“It’s a day to meet other folks with budding interests in herbal medicine, have conversations about plants, and learn about the natural world around them,” said Rome. At upcoming events in the series, there will be medicine making, such as creating tea blends and salves. To purchase tickets, click here.

For more information, visit You can also follow Rome on Instagram at: @communityherbalist

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