Getting to the Root of the Problem

Last semester in the Ecofeminism course, I noticed how our class of women became a community throughout the semester through the information we learned and shared together.  Each of us contributed a different piece of background knowledge and experience to the larger ecofeminism picture that we put together as we learned about various global issues. Community development and maintenance is a major ecofeminist concern, as community building not only strengthens individuals but also strengthens regions and creates new routes of information sharing. I used this as the premise for my Independent Study this semester; how information and experience sharing (such as what our class engaged in) builds ecofeminist communities. I will also be examining how a specific medium like community gardening and herbal medicine can be used to establish communities and what role this information sharing will play in a community.

Herbal gardening and medicines are also an ecofeminist topic because herbal remedies are an approach to medicine that works from the soil up and with a person’s bodily system to remedy an ailment. This is opposed to most contemporary medicines, which simply cure ailments that may just be a small part of the larger problem. An ecofeminist approach to issues (including medicine) instead seeks to evaluate the whole system that causes a problem and potentially restructure it to permanently remedy the problem, rather than trying to solve a problem in segments. Herbal medicine seeks to evaluate the system in which a health problem is occurring and strengthen the whole system; for example strengthening the respiratory system as a whole to treat asthma instead of only treating asthma symptoms. Growing your own herbal medicine within a community also encourages a connection to the land and soil, as ecofeminism also advocates. By growing the food you consume and medicine you use, you gain an understanding of the process in which those plants become a part of your body, thus connecting your body closer to the soil on which you live.

Throughout the semester, I hope to rethink how I and members of my community consider medicine by building a community around alternative herbal medicine. By doing this, I hope to gain a better understanding of my body as a system and how it fits into and works with the environment around me and how elements of the environment (such as medicinal plants) operate within my bodily system.

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