Victoria group exercising green tongues, as well as thumbs

Medicinal garden giving people tools to heal themselves

Krista Poulton

A new community garden is launching in Victoria, but instead of growing the standard mix of edibles, this one has a focus on medicinal plants.

The Green Tongue Collective got permission from the Vancouver Island School of Art to start a garden on its property near Quadra Village in October.

“Our collective is a conglomeration of artists, and healers and community organizers and gardeners,” said member Leila Darwish.

Last Sunday, volunteers came together for their first major planting session, after several work parties were held to prepare the land.

The project is called the People’s Apothecary.

“We have all the regular things that people are used to, like lavender, and nettles, and sage and comfrey, which are all really powerful medicinals,” Darwish said.

“But we also want to grow the harder-to-find things … things that are good for the immune system, things that are good for helping people cope with stress; for different kinds of infections. It’s good to have that knowledge, and I think everyone should have it. We live in a world where we put that in the hands of experts all the time, which makes people largely unable to respond to each other.”

The goal is to eventually put up interpretive signs to help people understand how to use the plants.

The collective also plans to put on community workshops to teach people about different herbs, how to harvest them and how to use them to make tinctures and teas, Darwish said.

Green Tongue Collective has about 10 members, but the group welcomes newcomers and volunteers.

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