About The People’s Apothecary


The Quick and Dirty:

The People’s Apothecary is a project that brings together a community in the process of creating a sustainable herb garden commons.

The project encompasses community mobilization, the active creation of this garden, its ongoing maintenance and development, and a diverse series of workshops, skill-shares and learning opportunities.

All herbs grown in the space will be available to use by members of the community, You!

This project is facilitated by the Green Tongue Collective on the grounds of the Vancouver Island School of Art, on unceeded Lekwungen Territory, (in Quadra Village).

A More Complex Root System:

The People’s Apothecary is a herbal commons; it is a living, changing, alternative to the dominant ways our lives are organized in colonial state-capitalist society.

Located on unceded Lekwungen Territories in Quadra village, the Garden aims to create, strengthen and connect alternatives to the exploitative systems where we can develop self-reliance and community resilience through healing herbs, permaculture, and sharing space together.  The project is community-based and includes work parties, social events, skill-shares and other happenings exploring permaculture and herbalism as practical skills, artistic expressions and methods of alternative community building.

Core Principles:

  • We want to decentralize medicine – herbs are the medicine of the people, and healing with plants should be free, accessible, and community based knowledge and practice. We want to make medicinal plants accessible to everyone creating alternatives to Western medicine and corporate pharmaceuticals;
  • We want to experiment, learn, and practice permaculture and create spaces for wildlife, herbs, and humans to connect and sustain ecosystems;
  • We want to create open-ended projects and create multiple, overlapping, empowering spaces for people to come together, creating alternatives to the dominant bureaucratic ways of organizing ourselves and doing things together;
  • We want to do ‘art’ together in a way that encourages critical thinking, collective action, and participatory spaces, escaping traditional divisions between artist/viewer, doctor/patient, human/land, mind/body
  • We want to create space for conversations and contestations about colonialism and our role as Settlers here.  Most of us are white settlers, and we don’t want to pretend to create something ‘outside’ colonialism on colonized land, so we want to create spaces where colonialism is contested, questioned, and unsettled.
  • We want to be empowered and to empower others to gain a deeper understanding and connection to their bodies and the land, thereby enabling to them to better heal themselves and the land.
  • We want to create a space that brings community together to learn and to weave a larger web of relations between people, skills and the land. By creating an alternative participatory space, we are embodieing the ways we are imagining our communities could be.
  • We want to create a garden that is truly accessible to all abilities and bodies
  • We will create opportunities for collective learning , skill shares, and workshops.
  • We are going to garden and grow our medicine in a way that honours and regenerates the local ecology, and respects the innate intelligence and brilliance of the land itself

What We Do:

  • Engage a vibrant community of healers, artists, and gardeners in the creation and maintenance of a communal herbal garden.
  • Transform space: both the physical and the social.
  • We want to provide the opportunity and space for people to have access to medicine for themselves, family and community.
  • Hold work parties and skill shares that allow people to learn about everything from ecological gardening techniques to medicine making and more!
  • Create an accessible family friendly educational garden, with interpretive signs.

We believe that through merging social art practice with permaculture herbal gardening we can realise a unique space.  Art can allow communities to be wild with their imaginations, it can render visible the dominant behaviours we have come to accept, and it can help us create and sustain alternatives to the oppressive systems we’ve come to rely on.  Through social art practice we can creatively approach resistance and community building in ways that defy norms and create strength in their inventiveness.  Permaculture allows us to see ourselves as a part of a greater system tied to the earth and in touch with our own abilities.  We reclaim our well-being and the well-being of our communities through self reliance, trust and healing.

It’s Art!

The Peoples’ Apothecary is a work of art, but not in the way we normally understand art.  It’s a ‘curatorial project’ of the Vancouver Island School of Art’s Slide Room Gallery, but it doesn’t look, feel, or work like your typical art ‘exhibit’.  The Peoples’ Apothecary is a site-specific, living installation that includes not only the physical space, but also the people, plants, processes, activities and other happenings connected to the Apothecary.  It draws no lines between artist, viewer and curator.  We are all collective artists and collective works of art!  This collective idea of art is echoed in the co-creation and sharing of herbal knowledge, care, and healing, rather than depending on experts or institutions for our health.  In this way, the Apothecary creates a space for collective learning, sharing, experimentation and healing.  Now that’s a work of art!

One response to “About The People’s Apothecary

  1. Pingback: The People’s Apothecary: A New Community Herbal Medicine Garden Looking for Donations & You! | Heart & Hands Health Collective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s