A Nourishing Harvest (Sweet Flag Herbs)

is creating resources for toxin-informed foraging and gardening in WNY
Select a membership level
per month

Thank you for your membership and support!

Partridgeberry members have access to all "Nourishing Harvest" articles exploring the history and management of WNY forests and parks; WNY-relevant information about toxin-safe gardening;  interviews with local farmers, landscaping employees, DEC and park employees, soil experts, corporations, and more. 

Nettle Leaf
per month

Thank you for your support! So grateful you're a part of this community.

Nettle Leaf members have access to all "Nourishing Harvest" articles on Patreon. 

Plus, choose ONE of the following every 6 months:

1.) Your admission is covered for a WNY plant walk. Choose the most convenient location and date from a list.

2.) Receive seed packets for 3 of my favorite medicinal herbs in the mail, along with info about seed starting + growing herbs.

St. John's Wort
per month

Your membership makes a huge difference! Thank you.

St. John's Wort members have access to all "Nourishing Harvest" articles on Patreon. 

Plus, choose TWO of the following every 6 months:

1.) Your admission is covered for a WNY plant walk. Choose the most convenient location and date for you. 

2.) Receive seed packets for 6 of my favorite herbs in the mail, along with info about seed starting + growing herbs.

3.) Receive two Sweet Flag Herbs tea blends in the mail. 

Solomon's Seal
per month

Thank you for valuing this work and information!  

You'll have access to all "Nourishing Harvest" articles on Patreon. 

Plus, choose ONE of the following every 6 months:

1.) You are invited to one full-day Harvesting a Home Apothecary class! Learn about wild plant identification, herb gardening, natural support for body systems, and medicine making. Sessions are held monthly at various locations in WNY. Sarah will contact you with schedule and details.

2.) Herbal Education Box. First box includes elderberry syrup kit, DIY bitters tincture kit, 1 tea / vinegar kit, 6 seed packets, and educational information + recipes. New items will be rotated in every 6 months.

Holy Basil
per month

Holy Basil! Thank you for generously sharing your resources, so that I can share mine with you and this community.

You'll have access to all "Nourishing Harvest" articles on Patreon. Plus--

Choose ONE of the following every six months:

1.) Private property / garden consultation: We will spend two hours exploring your WNY property, identifying edible and medicinal plants. You'll receive a detailed email listing the plants we saw, with photos, uses, and recipes. Details: sweetflagherbs.com/garden-consultations

2.) Join me on an outing to a WNY park or forest that will be featured in Nourishing Harvest. You choose the spot!  This event will double as an edible and medicinal plant walk + investigation of surroundings and clues about the park's history. 

3.) Delux Herb Box: I will get in touch to design the best herbal products box for you. Choose from teas, tinctures, elderberry syrup kits, bitters kits, salves, seeds and more.



About A Nourishing Harvest (Sweet Flag Herbs)

A Nourishing Harvest offers 2-3 articles per month connecting the WNY gardening, wild-foraging, and natural health communities with info that supports safe, toxin-informed harvest of food and medicine.

Articles focus on two themes:
1.) Guidance about legal and safe wild foraging in western NY's public spaces. I believe residents should have permission to respectfully harvest plants like invasive Japanese knotweed or dandelions in parks and forests. Many of us rent housing, and do not have access to private property for gardening or foraging. Harvesting invasive species also serves park management intentions. So, where is harvesting allowed? What is the history of use of that park? Is that pretty hill an old garbage dump? Was that recent planting of trees a corn field routinely sprayed with DDT? What are the pest/invasive management practices like? How can the public access herbicide/pesticide application records to know whether that invasive garlic mustard is safe to harvest for pesto?

2.) I have received many questions about safe gardening and wild-harvesting in western NY. "My lawn hasn't been sprayed in 3 years. Is it safe to grow food there?" "I live in the city and can't harvest from the contaminated soil. Is this potting soil brand really safe to use for food/medicine?" "I live 1/2 mile from a corn or grape farm. How much of the spray is getting onto my property?" "Where do local landscaping companies get their topsoil from? How can I know it's safe?"

Since I encourage hundreds of students each year to eat wild "weeds" and grow their own medicine, these questions are important to answer as best I can. I searched for gardening books that address safely growing food in our chemical-heavy country, and didn't come up with much. Online articles address gardening safely around heavy metals in the soil-- but what about other chemicals from landscaping, ag applications, and more? I'm excited to learn more from journal articles, interviews with experts, and hopefully testing local soils if funds allow.

* * * * * * * * * *
As a health practitioner with a background in environmental studies, I often reflect on the disconnect between the wellness community and environmental justice/public health. On one hand, it is important to own the power we have over our own wellbeing. Mindfulness, whole/local foods, movement and getting outdoors, managing stress, and positive relationships play a huge role. And in a capitalist society, our dollar is our vote for a more just and sustainable culture.

On the other hand, Americans live in a nation where regulations favor corporate profit over citizens' wellbeing. We experience daily exposure to toxic chemicals in our lawns and food, water, air, and home products. Communities of color and low-income individuals are most affected by environmental health risks, but have the least access to resources to support wellness and political action.

I believe that a health culture focusing solely on personal responsibility, while ignoring the social and environmental factors that affect us all, is missing the mark. It is a reflection of our increasingly individualistic society-- a society that ranks pretty low in Gross National Happiness. Addressing environmental risks is not only vital for improving physical health; working together as a community to resolve shared issues helps us to feel more connected, and more fulfilled.

I also believe that environmental sustainability requires an intimate relationship with our local ecosystem. Cultures that rely on local plants for food and medicine have a vested interest in the vibrancy of those species, and are much more likely to notice changes and issues that arise. In order for us to safely rely on plants in our local community, we must have access to information about the safety of soils in our gardens and public spaces.

Recent posts by A Nourishing Harvest (Sweet Flag Herbs)