1849 Medicine Garden started as a garden. Well, it started as an empty back yard at the corner of 18th and Guerrero Streets in San Francisco, CA.
At it's peak, we grew over fifty western medicinal herbs in 1/16th of an acre in the heart of the Mission. Our goal was to increase our regional medicine chest and promote the use, knowledge and access to medicinal herbs in our city. Somewhere between a small urban farm and a demonstration garden our principal question was: What is local medicine? How do we cultivate a local medicine movement and local healing communities?
January 2015 was the inception of an 18 month herbal subscription (or CSA, Community Supported Agriculture) to our San Francisco community consisting of a tincture and a chapbook on the herb of the month. We also used the garden to host classes and events.
Our name came from the year that so greatly impacted the California Bay Area, 1849 was the year gold was "discovered" in California. We use the name as a reminder to the cultural and ecological pain we endured as a region, which must be acknowledged and remembered in order for us to move forward as people who currently occupy this land. Learning this history is an important piece of understanding how and why we are here now. Drawing parallels of the gold rush and our current tech boom is another meaningful way to make sense of the community and cultural challenges we are currently facing as a region, nation and world.
In the Fall of 2015 we were asked to leave the Mission garden space. While we looked for a new space, we also began the process of compiling writing and composing reflections of the work we had done as an urban medicine farm.
In September 2016 we released a book about the garden, Deeply Rooted: Medicinal Plant Cultivation in Techtropolis about the impact of city grown herbs. In the Fall of 2016 we completed a West Coast Book Tour, meeting people and leading workshops around the themes of plant medicine, social justice and identity.
Now as a clinical herbalist, lead farmer Bonnie Rose Weaver continues to work towards increasing access to and education about herbal medicine for urbanites in her hometown of San Francisco, CA, occupied Ramaytush Ohlone Land.