Seed and Thistle Apothecary is an educational resource that supports folks to reclaim their ancestral traditions around plant medicine and healing and that centers the voices of Queer, Trans, gender nonconforming, Black and Indigenous communities. Lara Pacheco, who was a Glynwood apprentice in 2009, started Seed and Thistle Apothecary after years of farming and studying plant medicine. They are located in Portland Oregon on the ancestral lands of the Multnomah, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya
Lara’s time at Glynwood was formative in deepening their connection to the land and growing plants. Lara’s apprenticeship in 2009 was the second year of apprenticeships at Glynwood, and they mostly focused on vegetable production, but also participated in livestock chores on the weekends.
Previous to coming to Glynwood Lara co-produced a bike tour farm documentary called Faces from the New Farm and was picking up landscaping jobs. After Glynwood, Lara spent a year on a farm in Virginia. It was a small family farm, which made the work a sharp contrast to Glynwood. Even though the farm itself was very different, a thread that ran through both farm jobs was Lara’s increasing interest in growing herbs and making herbal medicine.
Lara then moved to the west coast to complete a three-year program with the School of Traditional Western Herbalism. There, they co-founded Brown Girl Rise, a radical sisterhood empowering youth of color, and soon started a small business that began as an herbal CSA. Seed and Thistle Apothecary was born! Eventually Lara began attending farmers markets, selling both plants and plant medicine. After a few years Lara began offering programming for other people who wanted to learn more about plant medicine.
One of the offerings of Seed and Thistle is a year-long apprenticeship, Atabey Medicine, which focuses on supporting communities through healing, decolonizing and unlearning the ways we've been taught to interact with our bodies, mind, land and each other. The program also includes astrology, botany, generative cycle, medicine making and flower essences. Classes are all taught by POC queer healers. Lara also offers workshops, classes, and customized sacred plant celebrations throughout the year to those who aren’t participating in the year-long program.
Lara is committed to showcasing all of the directions that people can take with plant medicine, connecting with BIPOC farmers, teaching healing modalities, and helping others with their own healing. Once the year-long apprenticeship became more formalized, Lara formed a Council composed of other people who have gone through the program. The Atabey Medicine apprenticeship continued last year through COVID, and became a hybrid program, allowing more people access to the program, even those who aren’t local. There were 21 participants this year, from as far-ranging as Nebraska, Kentucky, Florida, and Seattle. People join the program with all levels of experience. Lara welcomes both those who are new to plant medicine, and also those who are very experienced but are looking for the community-building aspect. The teachings this year included botany, plant propagation, medicine making, and plant meditations. All of the education is through a decolonizing and re-indigenizing lens. Lara suggests that we don’t ask “what does the plant do for me?” but instead contemplate “how can we be in relationship with the plant and the land?”.