Like many children, Mimi Hernandez spent summers with her Granny when she was younger. But her experiences with her Granny, a "Barrio" Healer in Mexico City, were likely unlike others. She observed healing herbs in action and knew that she would work with herbs when she grew up. She's now vice president of the NC Herb Association as well as an herbal educator at One World Healing Arts Institute and AB Tech in Asheville.
Why have you decided to direct your focus towards education, and what role do you feel education plays in the field of herbal medicine?
Many parts of the country still lack herbal mentorship; after I decided to study, I found myself with few educational options. As a result, I vowed that I would do all I could to hand down the knowledge, tradition and the magic of herbalism.
My work with the NC BioBusiness Network (based at AB Tech) includes continuing education for nurses and health practitioners. This work enables me to act as a bridge between grassroots herbalism and the conventional medical community. It's an aspiration towards a truly integrative model of healthcare.
When the Mountain Spirit School of Herbalism closed, you decided to finish out the students' education with limited or no funding, What led you to that decision and how did you achieve that goal?
When the herb school, MSSH, of the NC School of Natural Healing suddenly closed its doors, others and myself were left jobless. More importantly though, I had a full class of eager students only a third of the way through their anticipated studies. I decided to do whatever it took to see them through to their graduation, which was still 10 months away. The instructors, including myself, Worked several months on little if any pay. We met in my small living room and the great outdoors classroom all around...