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ABC and SHP Launch Webinar Series Focusing on Sustainability, Ethnobotany, and Plants in Commerce

By ABC Staff

In August 2020, the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP) announced a new series of free webinars as part of the SHP Sustainability and Regenerative Practices Toolkit, a collection of resources and best practices for the botanical industry. Since then, largely due to the success of the first webinars, the SHP webinar series has evolved into a joint ABC-SHP webinar program with three tracks or series: the original SHP Toolkit series, an Ethnobotany series, and a Plants in Commerce series.

The SHP Toolkit series of webinars, moderated by SHP Director Ann Armbrecht, PhD, features conversations with experts in botanical sustainability and related fields. As of early October 2020, Armbrecht has moderated three SHP Toolkit webinars: “Personal Wellness for Young Adults in the Time of COVID” with Tieraona Low Dog, MD, an internationally recognized integrative medicine physician, author, and educator; “Botanical Supply Sustainability in the Time of COVID” with Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance, Angela McElwee, president and CEO of Gaia Herbs, and Ajay Patel, founder and CEO of Verdure Sciences; and “The Business Case for Sustainability” with Andrea Zangara, head of scientific marketing at Euromed, and Brian Zapp, director of marketing at Applied Food Sciences.

Armbrecht also publishes related articles with more information and extended conversations with the webinar speakers on SHP’s blog. Links to these articles and descriptions of past and planned webinars can be found in the tables below.

Webinars in the Ethnobotany series “explore themes of plants, people, and commerce through the lens of ethnobotany,” according to SHP’s website. As of this writing, ABC and SHP have held one webinar in this series, on “Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany.” This webinar featured a discussion with ethnobotany experts, researchers, and authors Mike Balick, PhD, and Paul Cox, PhD, based on the recently released second edition of their book of the same name (CRC Press, 2020).

Three additional ethnobotany webinars are currently scheduled: “Ethnobotany and the Secret Life of Plants” with Claudia Ford, PhD, an ethnobotanist, educator, and author (October 15); “From Peru to Pompeii: What Everyone Needs to Know About the Amazon with a Chaser of the Ethnobotany of Ancient Wine” with Mark Plotkin, PhD, of the Amazon Conservation Team (November 12); and “Cultural Values of Medicinal Plants” with Nancy Turner, PhD, an ethnobotanist and professor at Michigan State University (December 10). Wade Davis, PhD, explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society, and Steven King, PhD, executive vice president of sustainable supply, ethnobotanical research, and intellectual property at Jaguar Health, have also agreed to be featured speakers in future ethnobotany webinars, with topics and dates to be announced.

The Plants in Commerce webinars focus on individual herbs and include discussions with experts on quality and sustainability issues. The first Plants in Commerce webinar, held in early October, was on “Saw Palmetto: A Conversation on Sustainability, Quality, and Authentication” with herbal expert, author, and photographer Steven Foster; ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD; Umasudhan Pal, CEO and president of Valensa International; and Edward Fletcher, president of Native Botanicals. The next Plants in Commerce webinar will focus on elderberry (Sambucus spp., Adoxaceae).

According to ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, the webinar series is an example of how ABC has been able to adapt during the pandemic to continue to serve its members and the public.

“Our new series of webinars is based on the basic nonprofit research and educational mission of ABC,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “ABC strives to educate on herbs and medicinal plants and fungi. Our webinars provide additional value to ABC members, giving them more opportunities to learn directly from many key experts in the various fields associated with herbalism. And, they are free!”

So far, the webinars have exceeded expectations in terms of viewership and, as with most of ABC’s content, these webinars are reaching a global audience. Balick and Cox’s ethnobotany webinar was particularly popular. More than 3,370 people in at least 38 countries had watched the live or recorded version of the webinar as of October 15.

“The People, Plants, and Culture webinar was truly the best I have watched in recent times,” noted one attendee, Nelle Rose, in feedback submitted to ABC (email, September 18, 2020). “Balick and Cox were full of joy and reverence. Together, they gave us a flowing narrative that was authentic in reflecting their basic theme of how stories matter.”

How to Watch

All webinars are free and available to the public. Participants must register for the event beforehand, and registration links are available on the webinar description pages, which can be found on ABC’s Webinars page and SHP’s Webinar Series page. Attendees can watch the webinars live on Zoom and Facebook Live, and participants are invited to submit questions in advance of and during the webinar. For those who are unable to attend the webinar, recorded versions are available for free on ABC’s Facebook page, SHP’s Vimeo channel, and through SHP’s website and ABC’s website.

ABC and SHP are currently planning additional webinars, which will be announced in the coming weeks and months. For a full list of scheduled webinars, visit ABC’s Webinars page or SHP’s Webinar Series page.

Upcoming ABC-SHP Webinars (as of October 15, 2020)

SHP Toolkit Series

Leadership and Mission: Creating a Culture of Sustainability and Regeneration

November 19 — 2-3 pm EST

A conversation with Sebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs, and Tal Johnson, CEO of Herb Pharm.

Registration information coming soon.

How Is COVID Affecting Producers in the Botanical Industry around the World

December 4 — 2-3 pm EST

Speakers to be announced. 

Registration information coming soon.

Ethnobotany Series

From Peru to Pompeii: What Everyone Needs to Know About the Amazon with a Chaser of the Ethnobotany of Ancient Wine

November 12, 2020 — 2-3 pm EST

A conversation with Mark Plotkin, PhD, about his upcoming book The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know, ethnobotany, and the traditional use of wine in ancient cultures.

Register here.

Cultural Values of Medicinal Plants

December 10, 2020 — 2-3 pm EST

A conversation with Nancy Turner, PhD.

Registration information coming soon.

A Conversation with Wade Davis, PhD

January 7, 2021 — 2-3 pm EST

Title and description to be announced.

Registration information coming soon.

A Conversation with Steven King, PhD

Date and time to be announced

Title and description to be announced.

Registration information coming soon.

Plants in Commerce Series

Elderberry

Date and time to be announced

Speakers to be announced.

Registration information coming soon.

 

 

Previous ABC-SHP Webinars (Prior to October 15, 2020)

SHP Toolkit Series

Personal Wellness for Young Adults in the Time of COVID

September 2, 2020

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, spoke about the ways in which young people can care for themselves and their communities during the time of COVID-19.

View the recorded webinar here.

Related:

Planting Seeds of Wellness: A Conversation with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog. SHP Blog. September 14, 2020.

Plant Allies During COVID. SHP Blog. September 22, 2020.

Botanical Supply Sustainability in the Time of COVID

September 22, 2020

Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance; Angela McElwee, president and CEO of Gaia Herbs; and Ajay Patel, founder and CEO of Verdure Sciences discussed challenges and opportunities related to the botanical supply chain and the importance of sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the recorded webinar here.

Related:

Webinar: Botanical Supply Sustainability in the Time of COVID. SHP Blog. September 9, 2020.

COVID: A Stress Test for the Botanical Industry. SHP Blog. September 29, 2020.

 

The Business Case for Sustainability

October 1, 2020

Andrea Zangara, scientific marketing manager at Euromed, and Brian Zapp, director of marketing at Applied Food Sciences, spoke about the relationship between investing in sustainability and sourcing high-quality herbal material.

View the recorded webinar here.

Related:

Webinar: The Business Case for Sustainability. SHP Blog. September 25, 2020.

Ethnobotany and the Secret Life of Plants

October 15, 2020

Ethnobotanist Claudia Ford, PhD, will speak about medicinal plants used by African slaves in the American South during the 1800s. She will also discuss the preservation and importance of traditional ecological knowledge.

Webinar recording coming soon.

Related:

The Stories Plants Tell: A Conversation with Claudia Ford, PhD. SHP Blog. October 11, 2020.

Ethnobotany Series

Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany

September 17, 2020

Mike Balick, PhD, and Paul Cox, PhD, spoke about the recently released second edition of their book, Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany, shared stories of their ethnobotanical field work, and discussed the connection between culture and biological diversity.

View the recorded webinar here.

Plants in Commerce Series

Saw Palmetto: A Conversation on Sustainability, Quality, and Authentication

October 8, 2020

ABC Board Member Steven Foster, ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, Umasudhan Pal, CEO and president of Valensa International, and Edward Fletcher, president of Native Botanicals, spoke about the harvest, sustainability, and adulteration of saw palmetto and the challenges in producing high-quality extracts.

View the recorded webinar here.

 

References