Herbal education

Free presentations about herbs continue at Emerald Street Community Farm through the summer

Little green thumbs: Children learn about herbs with Terri Simmons during an herb talk at Emerald Street Community Farm. PHOTO COURTESY DANIELLE JARECHA

Ever wonder how thyme could be used for congestion, turmeric could calm inflammation, or basil was believed to bring good luck? Wonder no more.

Free herb talks continue through the summer at Emerald Street Community Farm, Emerald and Dauphin streets, courtesy of Luna y Sol Midwifery and Family Wellness and All Things Herbal Collective.

The presentations focus on the healing power of herbs and aim to educate audiences of all ages, with a focus on children and how these powers can be harnessed and used in everyday life.

Terri Simmons, proprietor of Luna y Sol Midwifery and Family Wellness, created the educational series last summer and the talks continued at Franny Lou’s Porch during the winter months, with a focus on culinary herbs.

“All winter long, we have been meeting at Franny Lou’s Porch. We again have picked an herb but this time we dive deeper in to the uses and why it might work in a certain situation,” Simmons said. “We have been excited to get back in the garden.”

Herbal talks resumed in the garden on Friday, June 1, with a different herb highlighted each week, along with a different presenter.

Danielle Jarecha, owner of Lakshmi Hair Studio and creator and owner of Mothercraft Herbal, participated in the herbal talks last summer, at Franny Lou’s, and is back at Emerald Street Farm now.

“Terri chose herbs that people would be familiar with so it would encourage them to come,” Jarecha said. “We use these culinary herbs every day, and most people don’t know the healing properties of them.”

And, while the talks’ focus may dive deeper into herbs than just the flavor they can add to your next culinary dish, Simmons and presenters aim to keep the atmosphere light-hearted.

“It’s a way to learn about plants in a fun way,” Simmons said. “Of course, children are the focus. We put them in the center of it all and learn together.”

In addition to sharing information about an herb, talks include making tea featuring the herb and hands-on activities such as smelling essential oils and making oils, creams and edibles.

Simmons has often referred to the educational presentations as “free medicine for the people,” and Jarecha elaborated on the phrase.

“The overall goal is to provide people with information so they can make their own medicine,” Jarecha said.

And, although Simmons is primarily responsible for disseminating the information about the herbs, even the teacher walks away with new knowledge each week.

“I have had a great time sharing with everyone about the herbs and their folklore and many uses.” Simmons said. “And those who have been gathering, young and old, have shared much-valued info at every gathering, the children being my greatest teachers.”

Herbal talks at Emerald Street Community Farm will take place every Friday, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., until October. Talks are free and open to the public. Kids welcome. First talk starts at 9 a.m. and repeats at 10 a.m.