Science Café on the Coast: Herb Walk, Local Herbs for Food and Medicine

Learning about herbs in our own yard, either cultivated or wild “weeds”, can enrich and simplify our lives. Join us Thursday April 21 at 6 p.m. at the Long Beach Public Library for a presentation where Lynda Baker, community herbalist, will discuss some of our common “weeds” and why we might want to Let Them Come Up and Mow Around Them, or even start a Weed Relocation Program (to our yards!). They can be used as medicine, food, pest control; the list may be endless. These herbs often attract butterflies, honeybees and other important pollinators to our yards, for which purpose we find our local natives especially beneficial. Some of the ways to prepare these herbs, the parts used and the proper time to harvest and prepare them will be discussed. A list of references for the plants and their identification and use will be provided and audience members will leave with a new knowledge of the plants around them, how to identify them, prepare them properly and some of their many and multi-faceted uses.

Baker has been studying plants in their medicinal, culinary, foraging, nutritive and ethno-botanical contexts for over 20-years.  She earned a bachelor of science in geology from Southern Miss in 1994 and a master’s of science in environmental geochemistry in 1989.  She was employed with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and The United States Department of Agriculture (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, National Monitoring and Residue Analysis Laboratory) before starting Essential Herb Cottage, her Office/Studio/Education Center/Workplace in Long Beach in 2001. Baker has studied extensively with Darrell Martin of Blue Boy Herbs and has completed and taught Rosemary Gladstar's “Art and Science of Herbalism.”  Baker enjoys reading, writing, teaching and learning about nature and herbs. Her mission is to facilitate the re-connection of people with their local plants, closing the gap between the wealth of plant information of previous generations and the absence of plant knowledge of many in our current generation. “Nature is presenting us with beautiful, variegated, intricate local plants to learn about, use and appreciate.  We can greatly enhance our lives by learning about the local plants and how to incorporate them, especially in our own back yard & kitchen,” says Baker.

Science Cafe on the Coast is a collaboration between The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Libraries, Harrison County Library System, Long Beach Public Library and Hancock County Library System. Science Cafes offer those with minimal background in science the chance to meet and discuss scientific issues in a relaxed social setting. Admission is free and open to the public.