Growing

A Year in Herbs: Building a Local Herbal Network

15 February – 29 October 2021

Green activities are a great way to support our wellbeing, and this has been felt even more strongly since the pandemic began. Last year we couldn’t deliver our usual programme of connecting with nature, picking, foraging, growing and making in the way we always have. However we adapted and together stayed connected, at a distance, with as many covid safe versions of these activities as possible.
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We know that even small plants can make a big impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Company Drinks’ members began working with herbs a few years ago when we started growing and making herbal teas as part of our well being focused gardening sessions, (and of course locally produced drinks range!)
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This interest in herbs has grown. So this year, along with local residents, we will create a Community Herbal network in Barking & Dagenham. This will be supported by knowledge shared by some fantastic Medical Herbalists, as well as the experience, knowledge and interest of local residents.

Calendula officinalis, (AKA pot marigold) which can flower throughout the year

What is a Community Herbalism Network?

What we end up with will be influenced by those who wish to be involved. But there are a couple of starting points. From Spring to Autumn the network will plant, tend to, and harvest herbs which we will make into medicines, teas and other wellbeing products that can be distributed to those who want and need them in the borough.

 

To do this we will:

– build new herb growing areas at the Company Drinks garden in Barking Park.

– support participants to grow herbs at home, either in their gardens or on their balconies

– connect with existing gardens and growing projects and support them to grow herbs

– create video and printed guides with tips on how to care for the plants at home and use them for home herbal first aid and wellbeing

– host workshops where we can meet in person where possible, share experiences, and learn about the uses, identifications, and histories of healing herbs.

– And of course, there will be harvesting and making workshops to turn everything we have grown together into medicines and other products for the community.

 

Whatever your experience, we would like to hear from you!

  • Do you have an interest in learning how to grow herbs?
  • Do you already use herbs to support your health and wellbeing?
  • Do you have space in your garden, balcony or other green space to grow some herbs?
  • Would you like to learn how to grow, harvest and dry herbs for home use?
  • Would you like to help make herbal medicines for the community?
  • Would you like a reason to be outside connecting with nature?