A couple of weeks ago, I spent a magical weekend in Port Townsend, Washington visiting a very dear friend of mine and attending the Medicinal Herb Growing and Marketing Conference. I really enjoyed this conference and was impressed with how well they executed the event, despite it being their first year. And considering the fact they only planned it a few months ahead! There were a few logistical glitches, of course, since it was a first-time event, but overall, I had a wonderful, heartwarming and educational time. In general, the people there seemed welcoming, supportive and just happy to be there. It felt like a truly community-building event without a tense feeling of competition and stand-offishness. The location at Fort Worden was fantastic for an herbalism conference–we had access to forested areas for wildcrafting walks and meadows covered in plantain, clover and yarrow for sun-bathing, eating and relaxing. And the Fort had some beautifully scenic views–if you walked to the edge of the housing area, you could get a panorama of the snow-dusted Olympic Mountains looming over the water. There were WAY too many alluring workshop options for me going on simultaneously, so it was difficult narrowing it to just a few! And I didn’t attend every session slot since I wanted to spend time with my friend, but I did attend the following workshops:
-From Farm to Pharmacy: Running an Herbal Dispensary with Dr. Jenn Dazey
-Intro to GMPs for Small Businesses (good manufacturing practices) with Linden DeVoil
-Building an Herb Business: From Farm to Product to Retail with Kim Otto of Moon Valley Organics (You should check out their inspiring story on video!)
There were some fantastic vendors there, too! These included, Pharmacopia Herbals (I bought some beautiful, vibrant, dried calendula flowers from them); Wildroot Botanicals (Their hydrosols are amazing. I had to bring Western Red Cedar and Black Sage home. Obsessed!); Portland Apothecary; Friends of Trees’ herbs (bought a big bag of wildcrafted, dried sumac); and Susan Parker’s Power of the Seed book for all you carrier oil geeks. Here’s a photo of some of my conference/Port Townsend loot below.
If you happen to visiting PT and need some gluten free or healthy dining tips, I had a fabulous GF chicken sandwich with pesto and bacon at the Owl Sprit. I usually have my reservations about chicken breast, but this sandwich was on POINT. And it came with a side of GF, breaded sweet potato wedges. I also had a fine time wandering around the PT health food co-op, which has a deli. I bought a bag of loose leaf tea from a local company called Wild Sage. This particular tea is named Kavalander and includes raspberry leaf, lemon balm, kava kava, lavender, and St. John’s wort. It’s a beautiful tea! Check them out online.
All in all, my weekend in Port Townsend was restorative, inspiring and healing. The salty, ocean air, lack of traffic, small-town warmth and slower pace of life made my heart so very happy. I felt so much more peaceful and more like MYSELF. It’s strange how much truth, authenticity and connection is lost by being “connected” to the digital world and trying to keep up with the break-neck speed of most of the people around me. I aspire to live a slower, richer and more intimate and connected life back here in Portland, but it’s definitely more of a challenge out here. Especially given that our city is growing and morphing so quickly. I also hope to spend less time on the internet, comparing myself to others, and seeking a constant barrage of mental stimulation and “inspiration”. I need more time to “be” and “actually create”–and by create, I mean using my hands to make herbal concoctions and beauty products, build things, cook things, get dirty, and labor in the real world. It all probably sounds cliche in these harried times, but it’s a serious, constant struggle for me. Maybe I should do like Louis C.K. and take a month off the internet and see what happens. Except for blogging and email! If you haven’t heard this Pure Magazine podcast, “Finding Balance in Wired World with Christina Crook”, I highly recommend it.