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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference Celebrates Nature and Sustainability

Aug 31, 2015 04:44PM ● By Sheila Julson

The fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference will take place October 3 and 4 at Red Earth Farm, in Kempton. The weekend-long event offers opportunities for women to network with others who share interests in sustainable, earth-based living and ethical entrepreneurial practices. Naprapathic doctor and ethnobotanist Rosita Arvigo will deliver the keynote address.

Experts in holistic healing and wellness will lead over 15 scheduled workshops and demonstrations exploring women’s health, herbal medicine, meditation, gardening and plant identification. The weekend will also include scheduled activities that encompass the age-old wisdom of herbal and natural medicines, such as herb walks, yoga, herbal remedy preparation, a drum circle, singing and dancing. A kids’ camp program for children ages 3 through 12 runs during class and keynote hours.

Participants can browse a marketplace of sustainably minded merchants offering botanicals, natural produce and environmentally sound health and beauty items. Local vendors will offer teas, fair trade coffee, vegan and gluten-free alternatives for lunch and dinner. “All merchants are women and offer handmade items,” says conference organizer Charis Lindrooth, who co-owns Red Earth Farm with her husband.

Lindrooth praises the caliber of the speakers and teachers she has been able to line up for the conference since its beginnings. “We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had good teachers,” she notes. “They work really hard, because this is a more intimate setting. Attendees have the chance to get close and interact with them.”

Past speakers have included influential herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Arvigo, this year’s speaker, has lived among the Maya in San Ignacio, Belize, for the past 35 years, and she apprenticed with Mayan shaman-healer Don Elijio Panti for 13 years. Arvigo will teach about plants of the Americas—oregano, basil, marigold, rue and rosemary—and how to use these plants as common household remedies.

Lindrooth was a regular attendee of the New England Women’s Herbal Conference, held every August in New Hampshire. When that location changed and the drive became too far, she formed the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. “We had a fantastic first year, and it has more than doubled,” she observes. “We’ve since added a second day with Sunday morning activities, and the on-site camping and co-op housing, which is an affordable way to stay overnight.”

Rustic camping on premises and co-op housing is available for a nominal cost, aside from the conference admission.

Cost: Varies; see website for further details. Location: 5785 Golden Key Rd., Kempton. For more information, call 610-683-9363, email [email protected] or visit

Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.

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