Local herbalist expands her space to provide community offerings with a focus on respecting and cultivating a relationship with the environment

Danielle Hagel began studying herbal medicine 8 years ago as she felt it was inherently connected with the practice of growing her own herbs. In the summer of 2020, Danielle started her business, Eramosa Herbals, on a perennial plot in the community gardens at Ignatius Farm. This year, Danielle partnered with The Urban Orchardist to lease a half-acre of land. The farm primarily grows 40+ European herb varieties as well as native plants, trees, and shrubs. Danielle feels that it is important to not only model the different ways of practicing agriculture but also how it can be integrated with local ecology. When Danielle launched Eramosa Herbals, she offered her version of Community Supported Agriculture, and called it Community Supported Herbalism (CSH). The CSH allowed people to purchase a share at the beginning of the summer and would receive a variety of herbal products throughout the growing season. CSH shares included bundles of tinctures and extracts, tea blends, salves, infused honey, and more.

The Seeding Our Food Future (SOFF) program was the perfect opportunity for Danielle to scale-up Eramosa Herbals into a teaching and gathering space for the community. She will be growing herbs and CSH shares, cultivating the teaching space, and building a gathering space where people can come and learn about how to use and make their own herbal medicines. Danielle’s project for SOFF has really helped develop Eramosa Herbals’ offerings, including home consultations. She will offer help to anyone who is interested in growing their own herbal medicines according to their needs and available spaces. Eramosa Herbals is hoping to launch a variety of workshops and classes this season. Since the pandemic, there has been a surge of interest in plant medicine, foraging, and wild edibles but it is crucial that this is done in a way that is sustainable and respectful. Danielle is excited to help people on this journey and will be focusing on maintaining natural habitats.

For Danielle, circularity means being connected with the earth that grows our food and medicine and respecting that relationship. It is more than just growing what is needed, it is growing in ways that give back to the land and water while doing our part to protect nature. Danielle believes that to cultivate the right relationships with the land, you need to remember that we are guests on stolen land and to honor the people who have been stewarding and protecting the land for thousands of years. Inspired by permaculture, Danielle practices no dig, no till, regenerative, and ecological practices on her farm to tend to the soil. For Eramosa Herbals, investing in the environment and caring for it will produce a superior product. She is also looking to reduce waste in her packaging and will be launching a container return program or a discount for customers who bring their own containers. Another aspect of circularity for Danielle is redistributing resources to marginalized communities. A portion of the income brought in from Eramosa Herbals is donated to Black and Indigenous food and medicine projects including the Seed Soil + Spirit School's BIPOC scholarship fund. Eramosa Herbals believes that investing in the resilience of communities that may have less access to land and resources makes all of us more resilient.

Follow Danielle and her journey on Instagram @eramosaherbals.

Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash