This week I’m talking to anarchist organiser, agroecologist and grassroots herbalist, Nicole Rose. Nicole runs the Solidarity Apothecary, an organisation supporting mainly prisoners and refugees either by supplying herbal remedies or by facilitating the growing and making of these. We talk about Nicole’s work to help prisoners, refugees and other facing state repression by helping them with their physical and mental wellbeing through a connection to nature.
About Nicole Rose:
“I’m undertaking a four-year clinical training with The Plant Medicine School in Ireland to develop my skills as a practitioner. This site shares my learning journey as well as the work of my project, the Solidarity Apothecary.
Plants and social struggle have always been inseparable to me. I learnt how to grow food on a 3.5 year prison sentence for a campaign to close down Europe’s largest animal testing company. Inside, it was the plants cracking the concrete that kept me going. On release, I have organised with many collectives and campaigns, from helping organise the first Radical Herbalism Gathering in the UK to stopping fracking in Somerset. I now mostly engage with campaigns against prison expansion and the prison industrial complex, as well as supporting prisoners and people experiencing repression.
As a massive and unashamed plant geek, my main field has been agroecology and food autonomy.
I started Empty Cages Design in 2011 to offer design consultancy services and community education in liberatory forms of land use, including teaching an annual Vegan Permaculture Design Course. In 2013, I co-founded Feed Avalon, a workers cooperative that works for socially-just and ecologically sound food production in Glastonbury, Street and surrounding villages. We have community gardens, a kitchen, mushroom farm and all sorts of projects! I complimented this grassroots work with studying for a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, as well as a BSc Integrative Ecosocial Design and MSc Applied Agroecology with Gaia University.” – https://solidarityapothecary.org/about-nicole/
What We Discuss:
The Solidarity Apothecary and what sparked Nicole to start the project
Who benefits from the herbal remedies Nicole produces? What are some of the most popular remedies?
What are the benefits to prisoners of connecting with nature? How much opportunity do they have to engage with the natural world and healing plants whilst they are in prison?
How the Solidarity Apothecary benefits people outside the prison system
The idea of Queer Ecology
How inaccessible horticulture, ecology and permaculture can seem to LGBTQ+ people. What can be done about this.
Email Nicole Rose firstname.lastname@example.org
The Prisoner’s Herbal by Nicole Rose
With thanks to Jennifer Lauruol for her recommendation.