I first learned about community supported herbalism (CSH) when I accidentally stumbled across Fawn Lily Botanica's website. I don't remember how I got there or what I was looking for, but the words "Herbal CSA" stopped me dead in my tracks. This summer was my first time enrolling in a vegetable CSA (community supported agriculture), which is something I'd been meaning to try for a few years; and I haven't been disappointed. A box of fresh organic veggies and herbs every week for around $8 per person is a fantastic deal.
The prospect of an herbal CSA is incredibly appealing to me, because I already spend a lot of money trying out herbal bath and body products from stores on Etsy. I couldn't help but squeal in excitement when I found out I could test out seasonal herbal products at a reduced rate in very much the same manner that I get my vegetables. Since then I've been looking into it, and I'm finding that it is still a relatively new idea. If you know an herbalist, talk to them about participating in this type of a program!
Fawn Lily Botanica Herbal CSA
I'll talk about Fawn Lily Botanica first, since they are the reason I discovered CSH's. This is exactly the type of herbal CSA I would like to try out - because it includes things like:
...artisan soaps, botanical lip balms, nourishing facial serums, toners, massage oils, bath salts, body scrubs, elixirs, tea, facial steams, liniments, herbal infused oils, salves, facial masks, facial scrubs, aromatherapy sprays, natural perfumes...
The idea is the same as with an agricultural CSA - you purchase your share of seasonal products in advance, and the goods are then delivered to your doorstep after harvest (or concoction, in this case). Investors are rewarded with products that aren't as readily available to other customers, and the contents are always a surprse (which makes it fun!).
Fawn Lily Botanica's CSH boxes come in two sizes:
- Small Botanical Delight Box: $40 + $5.95 shipping (includes approximately 4 items)
- Large Botanical Delight Box: $75 + $11.95 shipping (includes approximately 7-8 items)
They can be purchased here. I have been unable to find another CSH quite like this one. Most of the others are more focused on herbal remedies and such.
Wake Robin Botanicals
Wake Robin Botanicals provides something in between - offering both medicinal products and beauty/skincare-type products. There are 6 month and 12 month shares, paid in advance, and there are various options to choose from, so you get exactly what you want.
- Herbal Share - this one is more medicinal, offering tinctures, salves, etc.
- Seasonal Tea Share - 6 herbal teas per month, tea strainer included.
- Bath and Body Share - includes soaps, bath salts, lotion, facial scrub, etc.
- Double Soap Share - the same as the bath and body share, only with an extra bar of soap per month.
Added bonus: anyone who purchases a CSH from Wake Robin Botanicals receives 10% off any other purchases made on the website throughout the year.
Other combination bath and body/medicinal CSH programs:
- Morgan Botanicals, out of Loveland, CO, offers a quarterly herbal CSA in a small or large size
- Turkey Tail Farm, in Butte County, CA, does a quarterly program; their boxes including things like dried herbs, tea blends, herbal body and health products, and artistic herbal gifts.
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While this is more of a subscription box service, the idea is basically the same - you pay a fee (one time or monthly), and in return, you are surprised with a box of herbal goodies. The difference in Homegrown Collective's service is that they don't make the products for you. You are provided with a box of ingredients, instructions and everything else you might need to make it yourself!
The fun in this is that you are not just buying a product - you are being taught how to make the product at home. I love that Homegrown Collective is encouraging sustainable living through self sufficiency. My favorite example of how this service works is from their February 2013 subscription box - it came with locally sourced raw honey, bee pollen and beeswax; along with the tools, instructions, herbs, butters and essential oils needed to make an all-purpose, all natural homegrown salve and lip balm. So much fun, and it's affordable, at only $39 per box (plus shipping). This would make an excellent gift, too.
Medicinal Herbal CSA
This one is almost strictly medicinal; however, you are allowed to choose from a pretty large list of which items you would like. Most CSA's don't allow you to choose your items. Soothing Herbals' choices include:
- 9+ types of tinctures
- 3 syrups
- 9 essential oils
- 6 types of medicinal salves
- 4 infused oils
- 5 body butters/creams
- 11 herbal teas
There is a small and a large share, for $100 and $200. Click here for more information on purchasing a Soothing Herbals share.
Other, similar medicinal herbal CSA programs:
- Avena Botanicals offers a quarterly, seasonal CSH.
- Portland Apothecary used to have quarterly CSH shares, but the program may have been discontinued.
There are numerous other programs like these; some can be found online that will ship to out-of-state customers, though many are offered only to locals. Look around in your area to see if any local farmers or herbalists have a similar program - and if they do not, it's worth suggesting! If you have a favorite herbal CSA program, please link to it in the comments.
Connie S Owens from El Cajon, CA on August 27, 2013:
My first thought is: organics. I will be checking them all out, great new resources. I use herbs and homeopathy as my primary care. Read everything I can get my hands on and continue to learn how to change my health through herbs and plants of all kinds.
ologsinquito from USA on August 27, 2013:
What a great idea. Thanks for writing this.