Keynote Speaker: Dr. Claudia J. Ford

Keynote Address: Herbal Legacies: Sources, Silences, Challenges

Working as researchers and practitioners within the herbal legacy forces us to confront questions about the limitations of our historical information on medicine, health, and beneficial plants. We face the challenge of educating ourselves and our clients while studying the available archives that were created by authors who projected their bigoted and incomplete beliefs on to what they observed yet frequently did not fully comprehend. Our herbal legacy was too often created in ways that abused Indigenous peoples and silenced their traditional plant and medical knowledge. This discussion explores ways to attend to the sources, silences, and challenges of our herbal legacies, so that we might be able to practice herbalism in a manner that discontinues harm to communities, repairs relationships between plants and people, and that privileges, without appropriation, the voices and expertise of the original plant knowledge holders.

About Dr. Claudia Ford: Dr. Ford has enjoyed a career in international management, development, and women’s health spanning three decades and all continents. Dr. Ford holds degrees in biology, midwifery, business administration, creative writing and a PhD in Environmental Studies. She has been a professor for over twenty years and is currently on the faculty of State University of New York at Potsdam. Dr. Ford conducts research and teaching in ethnobotany, Indigenous knowledge, gender studies, sustainable agriculture, spiritual ecology, environmental justice, environmental literature and international business. Dr. Ford serves on the boards of directors of the Soul Fire Farm Institute - committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system - and the Biodynamic Farming Association - transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth and the health and wholeness of our communities.