Shabina
Lafleur-Gangji

Project: Seed, Soil and Spirit School

Shabina is a community herbalist working to uplift Indigenous medicine and land stewardship systems. She is the Co-Director of Seed, Soil and Spirit School, a grassroots educational organization that works alongside primarily Black, Indigenous, and racialized herbalists, knowledge keepers, and elders to offer culturally respectful, self-determined, and decolonial approaches to medicine and land stewardship. Shabina works as the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild: a peer-reviewed, internationally distributed publication. Her passion for research and Indigenous medical sciences has also led her to work alongside Dr. Nadine Ijaz, examining research-related curricular interventions in Chinese medicine. Her work has been internationally recognized for using traditional medicine to support communities most impacted by colonization and environmental racism. She is also a mom of two and an avid gardener.

PROJECT

Seed, Soil, and Spirit School is an educational organization that offers culturally respectful, self-determined, decolonial approaches to Indigenous medical and agricultural sciences. Since its inception in 2019, the school has had over 200 students. Seed, Soil and Spirit School is proud to have offered over $27,000 in scholarships to students for communities most impacted by colonization through grassroots fundraising and in-kind donations. The schools' Co-Directors, Shabina Lafleur-Gangji and Stephanie Morningstar, are currently developing a new program, "Wild Foraging in Right Relationship." This course will highlight and engage Traditional Ecological Knowledge with and for BIPOC communities regarding kincentric, biocultural approaches to land relationship, wild foraging, and plant medicine that will result in increased biodiversity and climate resilience. This course will work with Indigenous Knowledgekeepers who hold traditional knowledge about wild foraging and plant medicine and practice climate-resilient land management practices to develop a curriculum that manifests a vision of cultural humility in wild spaces. The goal is to reach environmental advocates, cultivators, foragers, and activists to ensure they have the tools to help support biodiversity and local food Indigenous systems that honor Indigenous knowledge.

Seed, Soil, and Spirit School was birthed out of a dire need to ensure that the next generation of racialized healthcare providers, environmental advocates, and farmers have the tools to access and implement traditional approaches to the health of the Land and its Peoples. After years of seeing our communities suffer from systemic violence, lack of access to traditional foods, and higher levels of disease, we noticed very little support available for those offering culturally-important tools for addressing these issues. As the two Co-Directors, we have over three decades of education in herbal medicine and have worked alongside hundreds of practitioners and knowledge keepers. So starting this educational organization felt like the next step to mobilize our communities.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Our goal is simple: to build educational tools and provide financial support to those working on the ground. Through our work, we arm our people with the knowledge of our ancestors to promote community health, wellness, and climate resilience.

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