Bryce, Terry and I arrived in India a little over 1 month ago. I am here as a Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholar on a project to build on the work I have been doing with the Sustainable Herbs Project. I’m documenting stories from individuals involved in sourcing, harvesting, processing and producing medicinal plants for the herbal products industry. As with the SHP, I am trying to focus on plants sourced by companies committed to developing transparent, sustainable and equitable supply chains and to producing high-quality products. I have chosen this as a way to narrow such a vast topic and also as a way to shed some light on efforts that are making a difference.
We are beginning our stay based at Vaidyagrama, an Ayurvedic hospital just south of Coimbatore. I’ll write more soon about this hospital, which is remarkable. We hope to visit some FairWild projects outside of Pune, will then head to Kerala to look at larger scale cultivation of (organic I hope, if I can find them, if you have good contacts, please let me know!) medicinal herbs, and then back to Vaidyagrama for the opening of the orphanage. We hope to travel with Pukka Herbs again in April, possibly visit Auroville to look at their work with medicinal plants, and then we will head north to Himachal Pradesh to spend time in several different communities that are cultivating kutki, an endangered medicinal herb.
I will try to document our journey as often as I can through maybe bi-weekly updates. It is always a lot harder to find the time (and internet access!) when traveling and in the field than I imagine it will be while sitting at home planning how often I will write!
I do post images on Instagram – so you can always follow there (link at top). Because of slow internet speed, it is fairly cumbersome to load photos here, so I won’t likely post many here.