HerbDay Coalition Celebrates HerbDay 2021 Online
By Gayle Engels
The 15th annual celebration of HerbDay took place on May 1, 2021. HerbDay is a grassroots movement meant to raise awareness of the significance of herbs and the many ways they can be used safely for health, beauty, and culinary enjoyment.
In 2005, five herbal nonprofits* began working together as the HerbDay Coalition to lay the foundation for an annual coordinated series of public, independently planned educational events across the United States and beyond. Over the years, it has been celebrated in various settings: at public gardens such as the United States Botanic Garden and the San Diego Botanic Garden, schools such as Bastyr University and the American College of Healthcare Sciences, herb societies, alternative health care clinics, natural food stores, and the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) headquarters at the historic Case Mill Homestead in Austin, Texas.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were few live HerbDay events in 2020, and ABC canceled its onsite celebration. Many people celebrated in a smaller way by planting herbs, drinking herbal tea, or doing something else that involved herbs and was meaningful to them.
With continuing uncertainty due to the pandemic in 2021, the HerbDay Coalition planned and held an online event for the first time. Twelve herb-related videos and 13 additional resources were posted throughout the day via the ABC and Official HerbDay Facebook pages and on the HerbDay website. All the posts will remain on Facebook, and the event calendar with links will remain live on the HerbDay website until it is archived in 2022.
The event featured a “Welcome” video by ABC Art Director Matthew Magruder and other videos from Soul Fire Farm; ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program; American Herbal Pharmacopoeia President Roy Upton; ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal; herbalists Rosemary Gladstar, Mindy Green, RH (AHG), David Winston, RH (AHG), and Rosalee de la Forêt, RH; United Plant Savers; previous recordings from the late Jim Duke, PhD; Rising Appalachia; and the staff of the American Herbal Products Association.
Other materials include resources such as blog posts, recipes, and more from herbalists Deb Soule, Susan Belsinger, Jennifer Galuska, and 7Song, as well as the Herb Society of America, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, Ayo Ngozi, the Herbal Academy, and ABC.
Based on the responses on Facebook, the experimental virtual HerbDay was well received. The coalition estimates that the event may have reached more than 5,000 people. Everything offered in 2021 was based on the curation of materials by a small group of interested parties, but the coalition hopes to increase the diversity of its offerings for future events.
The HerbDay Coalition is currently seeking public input for another virtual event in 2022. The goal for the future is to offer an inclusive, diverse, educational, entertaining event so that people who do not have any HerbDay events happening locally can meaningfully participate online. Some of the events being considered for next year are live-streamed videos of presentations, interactive panels, quizzes, and how-to videos.
Whether you participated in the virtual event or not, please consider filling out this survey to provide feedback to improve HerbDay for 2022.
As part of the virtual HerbDay celebration, the ABC Facebook page shared a blog post by Jennifer Galuska (top) and a video by herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt (bottom)