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Powerful Plants: A Q&A with Guest Instructors Evelyn Cooley and Silvia Abel-Caines

We're really looking forward to our upcoming Versatile Herbs class at the farm on July 14th, especially because we're welcoming Evelyn Cooley and Silvia Abel-Caines as guest instructors. Not only will we learn about how to incorporate herbs therapeautically into our diets, we'll create natural body care products to take home.

teach recipes for incorporating them therapeutically in the diet.  You’ll learn techniques for creating natural body care products and make several to bring home. - See more at: http://www.learngrowconnect.org/node/4495#sthash.3Ftg8VN8.dpuf
We’ll discuss the qualities of different herbs and teach recipes for incorporating them therapeutically in the diet.  You’ll learn techniques for creating natural body care products and make several to bring home. - See more at: http://www.learngrowconnect.org/node/4495#sthash.3Ftg8VN8.dpuf
We’ll discuss the qualities of different herbs and teach recipes for incorporating them therapeutically in the diet.  You’ll learn techniques for creating natural body care products and make several to bring home. - See more at: http://www.learngrowconnect.org/node/4495#sthash.3Ftg8VN8.dpuf

To learn more about our instructors and their backgrounds with herbs and herbal medicine, read on.

To sign up for the class, head over to our events calendar.

What drew you to studying herbs?
Silvia: My interest in herbs started when I decided to focus on alternative treatments for treating dairy cows. I started researching on the best process to extract the active compound in herbs about 14 years ago.
I also decided to minimize the use of antibiotics and conventional treatment to heal my children, and to grow an organic medicinal herb garden in my home. I now have close to 15 perennial and annual herbs growing in my garden!
Evelyn: There are several reasons that herbs have become a passion of mine.  First of all, I am part Native American, so natural ways of living and healing are in my blood.  I helped in the garden growing up and appreciated the harvest of food we would bring in, or eat right there!  I have very sensitive skin, and cannot  tolerate chemicals in skin care or in food.  The smell of the herbs is intoxicating to me!  They are there for us in abundance to use for food and medicine.


Tell us a little bit about your background in your studies and teaching.
Silvia: I have a degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from UNPHU University (Dominican Republic), a Master degree (MS) from the University of Tennesee, Knoxville and a PhD from The University of Nebraska, Lincoln in Ruminant Nutrition.  I currently work as Staff Ruminant Nutritionist for Organic Valley.
Evelyn: I am a Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.  I am an Herbalist, with a certificate from the state certified Northern Prairie school of Herbalism in Sycamore, Il.  I have raised three children and bring out the herbal remedies whenever there is a need. I have presented herb classes at the Dekalb County Farm Bureau, at Kishwakee College, various garden clubs, the Rockford Herb Guild, and others.  I also give classes through my business, Wild Thyme Herb Garden, in Genoa, Il, where I grow a native prairie and organic herb garden for teaching, for display, for wildlife, and for using for medicine.  Most of all,  I am a lifelong student.


What is the most amazing thing you've learned about herbs?
Silvia: The compounds that are responsible for the healing benefits are usually increased when you grow them on soils that are biologically active and mineral balanced. It is so amazing how the care of  each section of the carbon cycle influences the stability of each other.
Evelyn: The most amazing thing I've learned about herbs is their ability to do what we need done; they are so diverse and sharing.  There is no end to learning about these plants - and that is the most amazing thing to me!
 
If you were stranded on an island and could only have seed for one herb, what herb would you choose and why?
Silvia:Whoa, this is a hard question! From the medicinal stand point: Garlic. From the enjoyment and healing: Lemon Grass. 

Evelyn: Even though extremely difficult to choose, I would have to go with Lavender, because it would Love the growing conditions of sand and heat. Lavender would keep my spirits up, being a natural anti-depressant.  Lavender is my friend in the sun.  Being a redhead, I am very sensitive and burn easily; lavender would protect me.  Lavender is a natural disinfectant for the cuts and scrapes my skin would surely endure.  I totally LOVE the smell of Lavender!

 

Visit our website now to sign up for the class!