The Bent Creek Institute:

The Bent Creek Institute is a broad collaborative initiative leading the development of a strong natural products commercial cluster, based on natural biotechnology and integrative medicine for sustainable economic advantage. At the research laboratories and North America’s only medicinal germplasm repository located at The North Carolina Arboretum, scientists investigate native medicinal plants for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical product development and integrative medicine strategies, resulting in business creation and attraction.

Juliet Blankespoor:

Juliet Blankespoor has been sharing her love of plants by teaching about medicinal herbs and botany for over 16 years. She owns an organic nursery specializing in medicinal and native plants and is the director and primary instructor of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ( which offers all-outdoor, hands-on herb courses.

Luke Cannon


Frank Cook

Over the last fifteen years Cook’s passion for being a repository of plant knowledge has grown steadily. In 1995 he became trained as an herbalist at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, NY, building on the foundation of a BS from Duke University '85. He has studied with Herbalists, Shamen, Vaidyas, Sangomas, Green Witches, Doctors, Professors, and Medicine Men from around the world. They have initiated him into many ways of walking with plants. As an extensive traveler, he has developed a deep-rooted network of people whose lives are consciously intermingled with plants, healing, and ways to create a better world. He leads a simple life communicating, teaching, reflecting, and spending a lot of time in the forests and gardens delving deeper into the mysteries of the plant kingdom and our place in the web of life.

Vishnu Dass

Vishnu Dass, NTS, LMT, CAyu, is an Ayurvedic practitioner and educator, and the Director of Blue Lotus Ayurveda – Ayurveda and Panchakarma Clinic, in Asheville, NC. He is a senior student of Dr. Vasant Lad and a former Board Member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. He teaches and lectures on Ayurveda and yoga philosophy throughout the South East. For more information, visit

Robert Eidus

A true plant enthusiast, Robert Eidus is the land steward of Eagle Feather Organic Farm in Marshall, North Carolina. The farm is one of three designated plant sanctuaries in the United States, is a licensed nursery, and is also the home of the Southern Appalachian School for Growing Medicinal Plants. Besides founding the school, Robert has created several booklets and a DVD on growing ginseng and goldenseal. He enjoys teaching seasonal workshops on ginseng and goldenseal and is a board member of the North Carolina Natural Products Association. Additionally, he hosts the weekly television shows “Plants and Their Friends” and “Plant News” on URTV ( and also leads plant rescues with the organizations United Plant Savers and Carolina Plant Savers. 

Dave Ellum

BS in Wildlife Biology and Botany from North Carolina State University
MF, Forest Management, Yale University
PhD, Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Yale University
Assistant Professor, Sustainable Forestry and College Forest Director, Warren Wilson College.

My research focuses on the response of forest understory plants to forest management practices. I'm particularly interested in understanding how the seasonality of canopy disturbances, small scale topography and forest canopy structure affect the survival of forest understory herbs. Application of my research is directed at developing techniques for cultivating understory herbs in managed forests for both biodiversity conservation and alternative revenue streams.

Ceara Foley

Ceara Foley is the director of the Southeast's oldest herbal studies school;
Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, where she teaches
many aspects of holistic healing and lifestyle. Her love of healing through
teaching began through her work with at-risk youth in PA, CA, and VA. Ceara
is a founding board member of both NC Plant Savers and the NC chapter of the
American Herbalist's Guild, and president of the NC Natural Products
Association board. A certified herbalist and beekeeper, Ceara is steward of
Soulflower Botanical Sanctuary in Leicester, NC, where she has empowered
adults and children to honor their inner and outer environments for over a

Sandi Ford

Sandi Ford has been working with plants for beauty, food, and medicine for over fourteen years. She teaches near and afar at various herb schools and nature centers, leads medicinal plant walks, and maintains a clinical practice in Asheville, NC. She is a former President of the NC Chapter of the American Herbalist Guild. She also designs and promotes edible, medicinal, and native landscapes. An avid gardener, Sandi teaches that it is our daily relationship with the plants as food, medicine, and friends that is truly healing.

Jessica Godino

Jessica Godino has been connecting people with plants for over a decade. After training with wise woman herbalist Susun Weed she co-founded Red Moon Herbs. She believes that using medicines that come directly from the earth is the best way for us to remember our birthright as healers. Jessica is also a licensed acupuncturist working in Asheville, NC. She aspires to bridge two worlds, and bring the perspective and wisdom of eastern herbalism to deepen our understanding of western herbs.

Mimi Hernandez

Mimi Hernandez, MS, RH(AHG)  is an herbal educator whose courses balance traditional reverence with scientific understanding and intuitive awareness.  She is the VP of the NC Herb Association, a Professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and the primary instructor for the NC Biobusiness Network/AB Tech Natural Products Curriculum.  Mimi received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Tai Sophia Institute.  She also draws upon her rich Latino background & the Granny healers in her life.  The One World Healing Arts Institute in West Asheville was inspired by Mimi’s soulful vision of universal gratitude for generations of healing wisdom.  More information can be found at or

Sierra Hollister:

Sierra Hollister loves the plant world and loves yoga! Sierra has been a student of yoga for the past 20 years, teaching in Asheville since 1995. Sierra is an E-RYT and is trained in Kundalini, Ashtanga and Bikram yogas. Sierra is also a long-time environmental activist and the co-founder of Sundance Power Systems- a renewable energy business, with her husband Dave. When not walking with the plants, or doing yoga, Sierra is at home with her beloved children.

Phyllis D. Light

Phyllis D. Light, RH, is a fifth generation herbalist, health educator, teacher and consultant with over 25 years of clinical experience. She began her studies with her Creek/Cherokee grandmother, continued with Appalachian elders, such as Tommie Bass, and have expanded to include formal studies from traditional institutions. Phyllis is an assistant professor of herbal studies at Clayton College of Natural Health and a continuing education provider through Diversified Nursing Services for nurses, nursing home administrators, physical therapists and occupational therapists. She is a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, a member of the American Folklore Society and a Registered Healthcare Educator. She offers classes in Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine as well as individual consultations. She can be reached at 256-931-0351, or

Joan Moser


Irene Moser


Mary Morgaine Thames:

Mary Morgaine Thames lives deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has been dedicated since 1993 to learning and teaching Holistic Walking of the Green Path through writing, plant-sharing, conscious breathing, collage-word art and healing touch. She is devoted to caring for the inner 'I', knowing that without the health and harmony of our own unique body/mind/spirit, we are unable to serve the greater world to our highest potential. Mary is the mother of a ten-year-old spunky daughter and is currently writing her first book, From Christian to Christ-Like, which focuses on our responsibility as earth stewards.

CoreyPine Shane

CoreyPine Shane, RH (AHG) founded the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in 1999 after years of helping clients with herbal healing. He artfully blends Chinese and Western herbal traditions with a focus on local plants. As a seasoned wildcrafter he has extensive knowledge of local plant identification as well as medicine making. He has written on herbal medicine, teaches across the country at herb conferences, and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. CoreyPine believes that laughter is an essential part of any medicine chest since he comes from the “Wise Guy” school of healing.

Marc Williams

Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist. He has studied plants intensively while learning to use them for food, medicine, and beauty. His training includes; a bachelor's degree concentrating in Sustainable Agriculture from Warren Wilson College, over a decade working at a multitude of restaurants, various farms, and the pursuit of botanical exploration throughout North/Central America and Western Europe. He is currently studying to get a master’s degree concentrating in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University.

Corinna Wood:

A gifted teacher and powerful visionary, Corinna Wood has opened the hearts of thousands to the wisdom of the plants and their own bodies. She is the Director of Red Moon Herbs, an herbal medicine company focused on making medicines from fresh, local plants, with a focus on women's health, since 1994. Corinna founded the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference, and she is on the faculty of the Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism. Corinna's background includes a B.S. in biology and an extensive apprenticeship with world-renowned Susun Weed.