Community Exchange on Health Sovereignty 2022 – Nurturing Community Health Sovereignty and Connecting Herbal Initiatives in Europe

In the context of the global commodification and industrialisation of healthcare, communities all over the world are organising to rebuild and claim sovereignty over their health from the ground up, starting with their relationships with plants. 

In November 2020, The Plant Medicine School (TPMS) and Global Environments Network (GEN) began discussing the importance of community-based herbalism and of democratizing access to herbal medicine and remedies.* There already exist several grassroot, community-based initiatives for health and healing around Europe. And we know of many herbalists dreaming of, collaborating in, or founding community-based herbal health initiatives that aim for accessibility, affordability, equity, sustainability and resilience in our collective health. 

Our goals

This community exchange (CE) will gather herbalists and community organisers at different stages of their journey in the creation and coordination of community-based herbal health initiatives in order to build a European network of mutual support and learning. We aim to grow and strengthen the regional movement for community-based health sovereignty while offering tools for helping communities to heal and reconnect with their local plants and ecosystems. Our vision is that this network will help seed a reweaving of relationships between humans and their ecosystems and enhance the health and wellbeing of all beings. 

Participants

The event will gather around 30 grassroots herbalists and community health organisers from all over Europe who are involved in building or hoping to build community-based herbal health initiatives. We will welcome people from a diversity of cultural backgrounds, contexts of work, and types of initiative. At this event, voices and ideas that are not usually given a platform will be celebrated, and new connections, cross-learning and ideas will be seeded.

A two-part event

The CE is organised in two parts. Part 1 is a series of 6 monthly 2-hour workshops beginning on 23  March 2022. Part 2 is an in-person event held 21-25 September in Ireland.

Registration fees and bursaries

We encourage everyone to participate in both Parts 1 + 2. However, we understand if individuals are unable to travel to Ireland for Part 2. 

Part 1 + 2: The full fee to participate in Part 1 + 2 of the community exchange is €150/£125, which is a small contribution to the costs – including accommodation, food, field trips, and facilitation. Please note that those participating in Part 2 will need to cover their travel expenses to and from the location of the event in Ireland. 

Part 1: For those participating only in Part 1, the fee is €60/£50. 

We operate a sliding fee scale, which means that if you are financially able to contribute more than the basic registration fee of €150/€60 (£125/50), you will help others with fewer means to access the event. GEN also offers support and guidance to crowdfund for fees and travel costs. Please contact us if you are interested in crowdfunding your fee. Please register your interest in the sliding scale or crowdfunding by emailing samirah@globalenvironments.org.

 

Bursaries: We have a limited number of bursaries that will be offered through an application process. If you have indicated an interest in a bursary, we will contact you in the next two weeks. Please emailhannah@global-diversity.org if you have any questions about bursaries. 

Covid-19 contingency, cancellations and refunds for Part 2

In the case of Covid-19 related travel restrictions preventing the organisers from travelling, the event will be postponed to a later date and participants will be refunded €100 (the reg fee for Part 2 alone). In the case of local lockdowns, local travel restrictions or national lockdowns, or other Covid-19 related travel impediments that affect participants, a refund of €100 will be issued. In the case of non-Covid-19 related cancellations, the cancellation fee is €50 if you cancel one month or more in advance of the event. If you cancel less than 1 month but more than 2 weeks before the retreat start date, the cancellation fee is €75. If you cancel less than 2 weeks before the start date, the cancellation fee is €100, which can be waived in exceptional circumstances.

*Organisers

The event is being co-organised by Nikki from TPMS and Emily, Samirah and Nessie from GEN, with the support of a core group of herbal practitioners: Daisy Mae from Ceratonia Herbal Gardens, and Edyta Bodnar from Poland.

TPMS has 12 years of experience in training community and clinical herbalists, running introductory workshops and providing open-source material on its website and the Veriditas Hibernica website. It has a policy of supporting many community initiatives, partnering with community-based initiatives and networking with those of a similar vision. GEN has ten years’ experience organising international events in the environmental sector. Since 2012, we have organised four Community Exchanges, and have found them to be very effective spaces for gathering and offering intensive mutual learning opportunities to practitioners within one global region on specific topics.

Feature image: Little beings on Wild Angelica flower in the meadow, Alex Duffy, The Plant Medicine School