Weathertop Farm: Accessible Herbalism-- An Interview with Kate Miller
In last month's newsletter, we featured several of Weathertop Farm's products: their Elderberry Elixir, Herbal Bath Teas, and Natural Chaga and Probiotic Deodorant. Since then, we were able to get in touch with the amazing woman behind these products—herbalist, business owner, and farmer, Kate Miller.
Located in Sharon Springs, NY, Weathertop Farm is a member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY focused on sustainable agriculture, community involvement, and accessibility to herbal remedies and education.
But what, may you ask, is accessible herbalism and why is this important? Our interview with Kate Miller answers these questions and more.
We read that you studied Food Justice as well as with anti-GMO activist, Vandana Shiva—for those that are not familiar with this term, what does food justice mean to you?
The depth of this concept his difficult to condense into words, but put most simply, food justice means making healthy food accessible to all people. While producing organic food can be very labor intensive, the goal of food justice is to find a balance between maintaining organic, sustainable harvesting and offering as affordable prices as possible.
Is your farm primarily agriculture and herb based?
In the past, I raised chicken and pigs along with fruits and vegetables, but since I experienced a serious bout of Lyme Disease several years ago, I decided to primarily focus on cultivating medicinal herbs.
During this transitional period, I studied with renowned herbalist, 7Song in Ithaca, NY
Working with 7Song, I was inspired by the concept of expanding food justice to accessible herbalism, and I am working to integrate this into the way that I operate my farm and the educational programs that I offer.
Can you tell us about your Spring Lecture Series?
Yes! As part of our educational series, we offer nature walks, wild plant talks, and various herbal workshops. The creation of this series is another element of contributing to accessible herbalism. We offer these workshops at affordable prices and include fresh, organic lunches for those that attend. I've been told by several people that I am offering these courses at too low a price, but I remain steadfast in my belief that accessibility to this knowledge is essential.
Our next workshop will be on July 29th and it will be a Fermentation Worskhop focusing on fermentation processes for creating kombucha, kimchi etc.
In the Fall, we hope to offer several workshop on creating personalized lotions and potions, and in the winter we plan to return to offering our Herbal Medicine Series.
What is one of your favorite products that you offer?
I love our Fiery Cider and I believe that this concoction is important for every herbalist to make. I use Fire Cider everyday, whether I drink it for immunity, or use in cooking and salad dressings.
Many of your products are self-care based (teas, soaps, bath soaks). How does self-care play into your busy life?
As it can often be overwhelming to own your own business, I always have to be very intentional about incorporating self-care into my every day. Often, this practice can be just taking time to just sit and be present—to quietly commune with nature, even for five minutes. I also believe that sleep is very important, and I make sure that despite how busy my day has been, I take time to decompress and get enough sleep. I am very lucky to be able to be around plants and spend most of my day in the open air, and sometimes I will just take a moment to stand still and appreciate this gift.
For more information about Weathertop Farm and their Lecture Series, please visit: