2017 Featured Presenters
Aviva Romm, MD has bridged the best of traditional medicine with good science for over three decades. A midwife, herbalist, and Yale-trained MD, Board Certified in Family Medicine with Obstetrics, Dr. Romm's focus is on the impact of stress, diet, and environmental toxins on health, willpower, food cravings, chronic disease, and hormone imbalance in women.
gina Breedlove is a singer, songwriter and sound healer from Brooklyn, NY. She began using sound to create safe space in her body at 5 years old, in response to childhood trauma. A medicine woman and traditional healer, gina discovered 11 years ago that she could share this medicine with others. gina travels the world holding sound healing circles wherever she tours with her music. She is a grief doula, a way-shower, and a sharer of Grace.
Robin Rose Bennett
Founder of Wisewoman Healing Ways - Herbal Medicine and EarthSpirit Teachings, Robin Rose is a compassionate herbalist, gifted writer, and empowering teacher. The focus of her healing work is to share the generosity of the earth and the magic, mystery, and beauty of the web of life. She is the author of several books including Wild Carrot, a Plant for Conscious, Natural Contraception, and her newest book, The Gift of Healing Herbs- Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life.
Angelique "Sobande" Moss-Greer
Sobande is an army veteran turned certified holistic nutritionist, herbalist, consultant, author, and educator with more than 20 years in the field. She is the founder and owner of Natural Choices Botanica, the only African American, hand-blended, tea company in the South. Sobande also runs the NCB School of Herbalism and Holistic Health where students can learn the art and science of herbalism the old fashioned way. Sobande has travelled the world extensively, learning, teaching growing her passion for health.
Marsia "Mother Turtle" Shuron Harris
Marsia Shuron Harris aka Mother Turtle, resides in the hills of Western Massachusetts where she is a facilitator, photographer, and musician, who has been performing her original compositions for over 25 years. In 2009 she designed and began facilitating “Healing the Stories We Tell Ourselves With Mother Turtle,” a unique and interactive experience for healing and transformation. Using her voice as a tool, she can lift you to great heights, as well as take you to those deep places within that are seeking illumination.
Phyllis D. Light, MA, RH, is a fourth generation herbalist and healer. Her studies in Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine began at the age of 10 in the deep woods of North Alabama with lessons from her Creek/Cherokee grandmother. Phyllis has seen clients for over 25 years. One of her goals is to be a bridge between traditional and scientific knowledge. Phyllis is the director of the Appalachian Center for Natural Health in Arab, AL.
With a journey that began as a little girl mixing herbs, clays, & muds on her grandparents’ farm, Lucretia VanDyke has been in the industry for over 15 years. An educator, erosologist, light coach, & world traveler with over 2500 hours of professional training. She has been a holistic esthetician for over a decade focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals into modern day treatment protocols.
Sarah Thomas, BS, MAc., LAc., Dipl. Ac. owns Clarity Acupuncture in Asheville, North Carolina. She has studied extensively with Jeffrey C. Yuen and has been steeped in stone and crystal medicine, clinically and academically, for years. She developed North Carolina's first Studies in Mineral Healing Program, certifies "stonalists" in a yearly intensives, and leads rockhounding trips into the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Tao is to assist in the dissemination of the vast knowledge and uncharted potentials of healing with stones.
Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Mineral, VA and serves on the board of Organic Seed Alliance and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She is also an organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello a fun, family-friendly event featuring an old-time seed swap, local food, hands-on workshops and demos, and more. Her book The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast is available from booksellers everywhere.
Patty Grant-Edgemon is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Her primary experience has been working in the field of substance abuse and mental health. Patty has a masters in social work and is certified in substance abuse treatment since 1993. She has presented on historical grief and trauma in many different venues since 2003. She has been in recovery since 1987 and promotes sobriety and recovery on all levels.
Director and instructor at the Southeast's oldest herbal studies school, Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, Ceara Foley has empowered adults and children to honor their inner and outer environments for over a decade. She has served as president of the NC Natural Products Association, vice president of NC Plant Savers and has taught at colleges throughout NC. A certified herbalist and beekeeper, Ceara is steward of Soulflower Botanical Sanctuary in Leicester, NC, where she has lived off the grid for 15 years.
Many More Inspiring 2017 Presenters...
Founder of the WANDER School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives on the edge of Pisgah National Forest in the Black Mountains of North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the woods, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor’s degree in Botany, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine in her Wild Apprenticeship Program and throughout the country.
Amanda is a plant loving, medicine making, wildcrafting, gardening, community herbalist who sees clients and teaches classes and apprenticeships in Ithaca, NY. She has been intimately working and playing with herbs for 20 years. As a lover of plants and a lover of people, she is passionate about bringing them together in a down to earth, accessible way that promotes personal and planetary health.
Amy Walker, an elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, is a passionate gardener and a feisty activist, known for her initiation of a recent legal battle protecting the rights of bears--kept in concrete pits at the Cherokee Zoo--under the Endangered Species Act. Amy also joined the movement at Standing Rock last fall.
Award winning songwriter, folk rock musician, caring clown Ash Devine is based the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville North Carolina. Ash Devine’s folk Fusion style gleans sounds of Appalachian traditional folk, americana-pop and classic rock. Ash Devine is an accomplished instrumentalist on finger-style and Flat Pick style Guitar and innovative original Ukulele picking style.
Asia Suler is a writer, teacher, energy worker and herbalist who lives amongst her gardens in the Blue Ridge. She is the concoctress behind One Willow Apothecaries, an Appalachian-grown company that offers lovingly handcrafted medicines. A unique combination of western and energetic herbalism, stone medicine, earth-centered shamanism and intuitive healing, Asia’s work includes private consultations as well as workshops + mentoring. Asia facilitates classes locally at her apothecary on Blannhassett Island in Marshall, NC.
Brittany Wood Nickerson
Brittany Wood Nickerson is a practicing herbalist, health educator and cook. She brings her love of nutrition and using food as medicine to her training in Western, Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine. She owns Thyme Herbal in Western Massachusetts where she maintains an herbal practice, a student clinic and teaches a three-year herbal apprenticeship program. Brittany is the author of the Everyday Living Series; posters and zines for the home, The Herbal Homestead Journal and Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen.
Byron Ballard is a writer, ritualist and urban homesteader in Asheville, NC. She offers workshops and lectures on traditional mountain culture and Goddess spirituality, and is one of the founders of Mother Grove Temple. She was featured at the 2007 Forging Folklore conference at Harvard and presented at the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology in 2010. Her writing has appeared in print and online and she blogs for the Asheville Citizen-Times.
“Souljazz” artist Cheri Maree, affectionately known as “The Love Goddess”, is transforming hearts with music. Her powerful style and musical passion have taken her to audiences worldwide. “Music is Love’s pathway,” says Cheri Maree. “It generates an energy that transforms the heart, helping us to conquer challenges and make positive life changes.”
Christan Carter has had the opportunity to learn and instruct students throughout the South and Southeast. Through instruction, performances, preservation, and exposure, Christan continues to study and keep the traditions and dreams of her predecessors alive. To know and work with Christan is to know love for the African Dance and Drum Cultures, communities, people, music, energies, and characters it brings together.
Cindi Quay, Traditional Herbalist & Menominee Native American, has been working with our plant kingdom most of her life. Turning this into a deeper passion, she opened Cindi’s Sacred Garden in 1997. Cindi grows her own herbs in a traditional manner and also gathers herbs from around the United States, giving respect to Mother Earth.
Corinna Wood is founder and director of Southeast Wise Women. Her early initiation into the herbal world included an extensive apprenticeship with Susun Weed. For the last 25 years, Corinna has been practicing and sharing the Wise Woman Tradition, based in honoring of women and the Earth. Through two decades of teaching, as well as founding Red Moon Herbs in her home community, Earthaven Ecovillage, Corinna has opened countless hearts to the wisdom of the plants and their own bodies.
Daisy Conway Marquis teaches subtle herbalism, flower essence therapy, energy healing certification, yoga and meditation at the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, the Wild Temple in Nevada City California, and in Black Mountain, where she lives with her two kids, aspiring to practice contentment every single day.
Emily Ruff is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for over a decade. Daughter of a botanist, she completed apprenticeships with beloved Western herbalists including Rosemary Gladstar and George D’Arcy. Under her direction, the Florida School of Holistic Living runs a professional herbal training program, a community clinic, a teaching garden, a seed library, and an annual conference. She founded Orenda Herbal in 2004 as an expression of the healing power within each of us and reflected through our relationship with plants.
Gina Contla is an herbalist and an educator. Through her work with the notorious mushroom enthusiast, Paul Stamets, Gina has traveled the country training practitioners and the public on the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. She has served as a community herbalist throughout the South, and currently resides in the Southeastern Appalachian Mountains. When not traveling and teaching, she focuses on cultivating medicinal herbs and mushrooms through sustainable organic farming practices.
Gina Spriggs is an Author, Holistic Intuitive and Intuitive Development Mentor. She is committed to the growth and empowerment of “Intuitpreneurs” through teaching advanced, experiential, “results oriented” intuitive-development programs and authentic cutting-edge business strategies. Gina is the creator of the Lumin8 Oracle and has authored The Intuitive Tarot Workbook. She supports thousands of people with her readings and programs where she teaches students how to create successful businesses based in their unique skills, while creating a fulfilling life of purpose.
Holli Richey RH(AHG), LCSW is a registered herbalist and mindfulness-oriented psychotherapist practicing mind-body-spirit care in Chattanooga. For over 20 years, Holli has facilitated nature-based therapy, herb walks and Forest Bathing (shinrin-yoku) experiences in the mountains of southeastern Tennessee and beyond.
Jesse was first introduced to the djembe and traditional rhythms of West Africa in 1998 and traveled to Guinea and Ivory Coast West Africa in 2001 and 2007 for a total of 6 months to study and perform traditional music with masters of the traditional drum and dance. She has an innate passion that she brings to her musical performances and her teaching of traditional West African djembe music. A patient and knowledgeable teacher, she strives to share the culture, music, drumming and dance of West Africa with all communities.
I believe in unicorns, the magical healing power of women gathering intentionally, belly laughs, mama bear energy, the clarity that comes from long walk and talks through the woods, moonlight baths, and in walking your talk. Motherhood is the most exalted position I could EVER hope to achieve. I think passion trumps balance every time. I live in Asheville, North Carolina with my sweet, sweet, tall, tall, good, good man, all of our children, one dog, and one cat.
Kathleen Wildwood is the founder and director of Wildwood Institute in Middleton, WI, providing health consultations and education in herbalism and holistic healing, including a comprehensive Herbal Apprenticeship Program. Kathleen has studied and practiced in scientific, shamanic and Western herbal traditions for over 20 years. The former President of the Madison Herbal Institute, she has taught workshops at Meriter Hospital, UW Medical School, and Edgewood College. She has been in private practice and teaching herbalism since 1996.
Kim Duckett, Ph.D., Priestess, has been teaching women’s studies in university settings for nearly 30 years, including classes in women’s psychology. She is the founder and spiritual director of WHISPER: Land of the Sky Chapter of the Reformed Congregation of the Goddess – International, in Asheville, NC, where she offers classes, circles, rituals, and A Year and a Day Sacred Mystery School for Women. Kim travels nationally to teach the year-long training of Wheel of the Year as a Spiritual Psychology for Women.
Lucia became a local community organizer by co-founding an urban agriculture program in public housing, and a women’s well-being circle in public housing. For the past five years Lucia has worked as a Civil Rights Specialist, and community educator.Lucia is a local farmer, and the mother of three wonderful daughters.
Maia Toll, RH(AHG), spent a life-changing year in Ireland apprenticed to a traditional medicine woman. Twenty years later, she's built her life around earth medicine, curating gorgeously crafted botanical products for her retail shops, the Herbiary, as well as teaching and blogging to an international following. Maia spent the winter writing her first book, a quirky character sketch of 36 bodacious botanicals, which will be available from booksellers in the summer of 2018.
Michelle Dionne graces the Herbal Conference with her sacred and healing dance. Working closely with Corinna Wood, Red Moon Herbs, and the Wise Woman Tradition over the last decades, Michelle has developed a unique style of teaching dance, helping women cultivate greater self-awareness and self-love through traditional world dances and spontaneous movement. She focuses on Birth Dancing, Belly Dance, and leading circles for adolescent girls through her school, The Mandorla.
Michelle Neubel was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, always one having an affinity for plant life. Her parents instilled a healthy lifestyle; especially, her mother, teaching how to use food as medicine. Residing in Tennessee ignites Michelle’s spirit to encourage nature walks, learn native and plant identification, study the benefits of how plants nutrients heal the body, and formulate botanical products for sensitivities. Michelle continues to study to obtain her clinical herbalism certification, exams for Esthetics, Aromatherapy, and artwork.
Mimi believes strongly that keeping plant wisdom alive is essential and has dedicated her life's work to serving as an advocate for both traditional and professional herbal pathways while building cultural bridges of understanding. Her teachings weave together science, tradition, and intuition in ways that speak to diverse learning communities. Based in Asheville, NC Mimi currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Herbalists Guild.
Since 1988, Ombassa Sophera has combined herbal study and home remedies passed down through her family to provide wellness solutions that help others lead holistic lives. Her philosophy: "while stress consistently has a stronghold on people’s lives–causing; debilitating illnesses, relationship breakups, unhappiness and depression, the key to healing isn’t just ingesting an anecdote, but cleansing your body of the thoughts and emotions that make these imbalances possible," Ombassa provides custom herbal consultations and conducts workshops on herbal medicine across the USA and abroad.
Rebecca Word is a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) right here in Black Mountain, NC. She is also an instructor at the Center for Massage and Natural Health in Asheville where she teaches Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology as well as Diet and Nutrition. Rebecca utilizes nutrition, botanicals, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, person-centered lifestyle counseling, principles of Chinese Medicine and in depth consultation in practice. Women’s health, children’s health and individualized somatic sleuthing are her areas of greatest interest.
Shannon Lockhart is a Mother, Folk Herbalist and Yogini. Her passion is empowering others by helping them be responsible for their personal health and well-being. Teaching yoga over 5 years now, she is truly humbled by the opportunity. Allowing yoga to take a key role in her life has been essential as it has opened doors to new positive opportunities, new friends, and most importantly opened her heart!
An accomplished dancer, director and choreographer, Shea-Ra Nichi has been performing professionally since age eight. She studied professional theatre in New York City through the Circle in the Square School and has traveled to Haiti, Europe and Brazil researching and learning all forms of African cultural dance. She continues to work with UNCW Upperman center as their Resident Artist since 2005. Shea-Ra Nichi teaches dance classes in both and Wilmington and Fayetteville, NC.
Suki Roth is a Community Herbalist and Educator in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Years ago she co-founded the Piedmont School of Herbal Studies which has transformed into a sought after Wise Woman Apprenticeship Program. Her greatest teachers are the plants themselves, communicating to her their unique gifts during plant meditation. Her line of teas and tinctures, Suki's Blends, are a natural extension of the plant knowledge received. Growing, exploring, and communicating her love for plants is her life's passion.
Tatiana is currently the Lead Therapeutic West African Drumming Instructor at Youth Villages, a residential treatment facility in Douglasville, GA. She is dedicated to using art-integrated therapy to help youth find their voices through therapeutic drumming and dance.
Whapio is an elder midwife and teacher. In 2001, she founded The Matrona, a midwifery and conscious birthing program that is designed to bring birth wisdom to the masses. Whapio continues to direct The Matrona, now a non profit, and teach midwifery, homeopathy, peacekeeping skills and altered states consciousness.