Plant Allies for Emotional Resilience
In these challenging times, there is a growing need for trauma-literate caregivers to support the health of our communities. Join us for an in-depth look at strategies for trauma and grief, both personal and collective, and build your toolkit for addressing trauma and grief from an herbalist’s perspective. We will explore the journey of community healing through stories of plants reaching people in Orlando after the Pulse nightclub shooting, in North Dakota on the banks of Lake Oahe during the Standing Rock prayer encampments, Hospice work and end-of-life, domestic violence, Veteran’s Hospitals, and a variety of spaces where trauma and grief touch our community, especially and including our own personal journeys. We will lend focus to theoretical frameworks of holistic approaches to trauma-informed care, learn a comprehensive Materia Medica of plant allies with specific applications for trauma and grief, explored through the context of trauma stewardship and trauma-informed herbalism.
Meet Your Instructor
Emily Ruff is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for over a decade. Her studies have taken her around three continents where she has studied under healers of many traditions. Her background in gardening and botany came in childhood while wandering the wilderness and digging in the sandy soils of Florida with her grandfather, a tobacco farmer turned urban gardener, and her father, a botany and astronomy professor. Her journey into herbalism continued through apprenticeships in Guatemala under the tutelage of local healers on the southern coast of Lake Atitlan, in the mountains of Vermont at the feet of Rosemary Gladstar, and in the Central Florida apothecary Leaves & Roots with herbalists Carolyn Whitford and George D’Arcy. Emily’s academic studies include Ethnobotany, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies at the University of Central Florida and Curanderismo with the University of New Mexico. She is a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner.
Emily’s dedication to preserving bioregional medicinal plant traditions and ecosystems led her to become active in the organization United Plant Savers. Inspired by a need for greater connection among her regional community, she founded the Florida Herbal Conference event in 2012, an event that continues to sell out annually. In past years, she served multiple terms as president of the Herb Society of Central Florida and as co-founder of Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. Most recently, in response to the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Emily founded the Orlando Grief Care Project. From the community relationships cultivated through the national response to this tragedy, Emily formed the Herbal Action Network to continue weaving the web of compassionate herbalism into community engagement. Sharing her time between Florida and Vermont, she currently serves as director of the Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary.
Emily’s classes have been described as “heart-filled,” “enriching,” and “empowering,” creating a bridge between the teachings of our ancestors and the technologies of our modern world. Emily can be found in joy cooking, practicing yoga, writing, photographing flora, creating music with family and friends, and digging her fingers in the dirt. The plants continue to be her greatest teachers.