About The Winners

In 2018, we held our first-ever Mountain Rose Herbs Giving Project. We were overwhelmed with hundreds of plant-based projects from across the U.S., many of which you can find by searching the hashtag #MRHgrants4plants on YouTube and other social media channels. While we wished we could fund them all, we had to narrow it down. And our winners blew us away with their passion for herbalism, commitment to protecting the planet, and desire to cultivate community. We are thrilled to award each of them with a $4,000 grant!

For more info about these inspiring projects, watch the full-length videos from our four winners...

Apothecamper: A Free Mobile Herb Clinic

Recipient: Alex Rae

Alex Rae
is an herbalist, doula, botanist, and herb farmer. Alex first studied Plant medicine at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine intensive program that focuses on clinical skills. She then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to further her herbal knowledge, at jim mcdonald's herbal intensive. She has also studied in Southeast France learning about essential oils and hydrosols from aromatherapist Cathy Skipper. Alex is a community herbalist who works with clients on a sliding fee scale out of her home in Dexter, Michigan. Alex is a coordinator for the Great Lakes Herb Faire and also runs the herbal first aid there. She is the co-owner of Black Locust Gardens herb farm, and makes herbal goods, under her company name, 13 Botanicals. Alex is also pursuing nursing school to hopefully be a nurse practitioner, and she hopes to open up her own apothecary and clinic, allowing equal access to good and affordable integrative health care.

Project Description: The Community Care Camper provides free herbal services to underserved populations, specifically to people who are experiencing homelessness in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan. In the winter we travel to the warming centers that are located at different churches each month. Our services include first aid, helping with colds, and flus, building immune function, and chronic health concerns. We also focus on preventive health care by educating people on self-care and supply resources.

(See how they grew in our 1-year follow-up!)

Charlotte Herbal Accessibility Project

Recipient: Brandon Ruiz 


Brandon Ruiz is a community herbalist and permaculture designer who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been studying herbal medicine since 2014 and specializes in medicines from Appalachia and his homeland of Puerto Rico. He runs a personal practice, the Charlotte Herbal Accessibility Project and owns Atabey Choreto Medicinals, an herbal product company that creates tinctures, tea blends, and more. He works to progress the transition of farm-to-table concepts and methodologies. He hopes that herbalism to take a foothold in the Charlotte community, ensuring affordable access and resources to learn about herbalism in its entirety, from seed to tincture. 

Project Description: The Charlotte Herbal Accessibility Project works to provide equal and affordable access to herbal medicine to communities in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through education on regenerative farming, growing, tending to, and harvesting medicinal herbs and making medicine with them, the project puts herbal medicine into the community's own hands, providing the knowledge and resources for community members to sustain themselves in the future. In order to provide access in as many places as possible, we occupy a central garden and multiple community garden plots around town, and travel to neighborhoods directly to distribute medicines.

(See how they grew in our 1-year follow-up!)

Lemon Balm: A Healing Permaculture Garden

Recipient: Nina Lawrin

Nina Lawrin is a forager, urban foraging educator, permaculture designer, world traveler and visual artist. She is owner of loveren collections; an experience dedicated to education and reconnection to nature through various workshops, pop-up foraged dinners, and foraging camping trips. Over the last six years Nina has learned to eat and live in balance with her body and nature. She is a Fulbright Alum, where she worked with numerous communities and permaculture sites while using “waste streams” to create nontoxic, research-driven, site-specific artwork. She started her foraging journey learning from the San community within the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana. Her experiences and lessons learned from Namibians drive her community-based work in Chicago. You can find her working and teaching at/with various Chicago based organizations including, Lemon Balm: A Healing Permaculture Garden within the North Lawndale Community, The Permaculture Chicago Teaching Institute, Plant Chicago, The Resiliency Institute, and El Paseo Community Garden. 

Project Description: Lemon Balm: A Healing Permaculture Garden is dedicated to female hormonal health and provides an opportunity for Chicago community members to heal and nourish their bodies while restoring Chicago’s urbanite soils. The site is a part of the larger North Lawndale community initiative of the Greening of 16th Street to help provide nourishment, safety, and business opportunities to community members and Chicagoans at-large. Lemon Balm will host a variety of classes by multiple guest instructors. Workshops include: nourishing medicinal plant ID for every season, herbal product classes, foraging for female hormonal health, and perennial plant-foraged cooking classes.

(See how they grew in our 1-year follow-up!)

Herbal Medics Navajo Nation Clinical Week 2018

Recipient: Sam Coffman
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Sam Coffman began his medical education in the military as a U.S. Special Forces Medic (a.k.a. Green Beret medic) in 1989. At that same time, he became highly interested in herbalism as a way to provide health care in remote regions with minimal medical supplies, both for acute care and trauma as well as for chronic conditions. This was the start of a long journey into the world of plant medicine for Sam, and after thousands of clinical hours as both a medic on teams and in military emergency rooms, as well as working with herbs throughout the following decades, Sam’s primary goal has become the creation of an integrative medical model that embraces both vitalistic and mechanistic aspects of herbalism into a collaboration with orthodox models of diagnosis and treatment. Sam is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. He has taught herbalism for over 25 years and has worked as a clinical herbalist for over 15 years. Sam founded and runs a survival and herbalism school (The Human Path & Herbal Medics Academy) offering programs, herbal clinics, online, and on-campus training throughout central Texas and around the US.  Sam also co-founded the nonprofit Herbal Medics. This organization applies integrative medicine to help medically underserved communities in the US and abroad. Herbal Medics sends teams to medically underserved locations (both remote and post-disaster) to provide herbal clinics, off-grid water purification methods, off-grid power and building, sustainable agriculture planning, and education. 

Project Description: Herbal Medics, under the direction of Sam Coffman, is continuing to work with Navajo communities this year by providing free herbal clinics throughout the Navajo Nation while also creating a permaculture-based healing Garden for the Sheep Springs chapter. Collaboratively, we are creating self-sustainable nutrition and medicine. This includes a community healing nervine garden to help with depression and high suicide rate among the young adults there. We offer numerous, daily free herbal clinics in various locations, free classes on nutrition, and work together on the healing garden to help create food and medicine self-reliance in a community that has asked us specifically for this help. While there, our students also get the opportunity to learn from Navajo elders and teachers.

(See how they grew in our 6-month follow-up!)



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