June 24, 2020
The Green Farmacy Garden stands in support and solidarity with the recent cultural uprising to defend and uplift Black life. In the weeks since the tragic and unjust killing of George Floyd, recognizing how he along with Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rashard Brooks, and innumerable other Black Americans have suffered racist violence in this country, our organization has devoted time to discussing our personal experiences, perspectives, and goals in order to cohere an organizational stance and delineate ways to ensure that our work together serves a commitment to justice and cultural equity.
While there are rich traditions of herbal medicine historically and currently used by Black and Indigenous cultures around the world, the systemically racist culture of this country and others has sought to erase, demonize, and in some cases white-wash and re-sell the same traditions that allowed Black and Brown people to survive and thrive under violent systems of colonization and for millenia prior. Additionally, outdoor activities, access to green space, and land ownership are unequally distributed in a pattern reflective of white-dominated culture, making these activities less accessible and less safe for non-white people. Although we are a small piece of the puzzle in this community with only a few employees (who are all white), we are committed and present in our examination of the ways we have been complacent in these issues. We are working to unravel racism, white supremacy, and intersecting systems of oppression and repression within ourselves and our work. As land workers, lifelong students in the natural world, and educators with access to a rich array of resources, we claim our responsibility to share these gifts. We commit to collaboratively exploring ways the resources we steward can support needs and goals of Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people of other marginalized, oppressed, or forcefully assimilated communities.
Dr. Jim Duke’s legacy is one of inclusion, love, and fierce respect for diverse cultures’ experience with plants, medicine, and healing. We are working towards making The Green Farmacy Garden a place for all to safely experience the joy, wisdom, and interconnection of plants, community, music, science, and nature in a sanctuary of transformational empowerment and healing. To this end, we are implementing the following action steps to instill social justice into our work here:
1. We are opening conversations with members and leaders of groups historically underrepresented in mainstream herbalism about how to better represent their ethnobotanical history at this garden, and are offering space in the garden for people wanting to represent their histories of medicine and survival in a living materia medica.
2. We are launching a spirited effort toward making educational opportunities accessible across distance and financial ability through online opportunities and transportation solutions.
3. We will donate herbs and herbal preparations and services through Mutual Aid networks that benefit marginalized communities, as our resources allow.
4. We will continue exploring and implementing creative ways to increase the revenue of the garden so that funding can be sustainably funnelled into resources and opportunities for the communities who need them.
The Green Farmacy Garden team