Instructors

Lead Instructor & Founder

Jen Stovall grew up in the North Georgia piedmont and spent her summers in the Southern Appalachians surrounded by the verdant abundance of medicinal plants. Although she didn’t know it at the time, some of those plants would grow to be some of her most significant allies. Driven and inspired by her thirst for autodidactic education, she left Georgia at seventeen and traveled extensively throughout the US and internationally. As the wind blew her hither and thither, she became entranced by the beauty and mysteries of plant medicine and sought more formal training with many amazing teachers including 7song, Michael Moore, Phyllis D. Light, Patricia Kyritsi Howell, and DeAnna Batdorff.

In 2004, Jen moved to New Orleans, a city permeated by the fragrances of Jasmine and Sweet Olive, and where the plants grow in wild abandon, taking over anything in their path. She has spent the years since then learning to love the swamp and getting to know the sub-tropical plants that grow in it. In 2011, Jen opened the collectively run Maypop Community Herb Shop, which many  in the community rely on as their primary source of healthcare. She also graduated with a BSN-RN from Louisiana State University School of Nursing and obtained her NADA Ear Acupuncture Detox Specialist & Trainer license, both of which continue to inform her herbal practice. Jen also works with Trystereo Harm Reduction Collective, a grassroots Syringe Access Program, where she does education and outreach. In 2018, Jen founded Terra Sylva School of Botanical Medicine in North Carolina with Janet Kent and Dave Meesters, a 400 hour community herbalism program focused on centering concepts of intersectionality, anti-oppression, and environmental consciousness in herbalism.

At present, Jen works as a Community Herbalist & Health Educator, using a blend of Southern Folk Medicine, Western Herbalism, and harm reduction in her classes and with her clients. She has found herbalism to be both a potent tool for pursuing social justice in the world, and a powerful manifestation of the ethical and ideological path she walks in her personal life. She believes that health care should be accessible to everyone and that the most powerful strategy for this is educating and empowering people to choose their own path to health. She is constantly renewed and inspired by witnessing the magic spark that occurs when people are introduced to plant allies through consultations, herb walks, medicine making, & health education.

– Adjunct Instructors –

Educator, Poet, Doula, Asc3nding Herbalist, Reiki Master III, Food Literacy Educator, Artist and Designer – Ellenie Marie Cruz uses her given and learned talents to promote the art of ancestral practices to heal self, family and community. Motivated by social justice, she has shifted from being a high school English teacher to a free agent and entrepreneur promoting radical change through holistic wellness, self-care and community building. Ellenie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education and had a strong focus on her research of Spoken Word as a Method of Social Change and Education. Now mostly through her small business, Asc3nsion Art, she serves and impacts her community by providing a pop-up apothecary, herbal consultations and classes focused on using natural practices for self-care and wellness. She is the sole Organizer of the NOLA Herb Gathering, has most recently published her first poetry book Saturn Return I: Glimpses of the past. Currently she is expanding her offerings to provide introductory herbalism classes in New Orleans for Self identified BIPOC through the Roots Institute and teaching a few classes at the Samara School of Community Herbalism. Her online platforms include Asc3nsion Art, Poppin Pistils – a lifestyle blog, the podcast – Oshun’s Garden on sound cloud, @asc3nsion_art and @nolaherbgathering on instagram.

C Gypsi Lewis is a black and brown queer femme born in New Orleans, Louisiana of the Lewis, Ruiz, and Baham families of the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and Bahamas. She/They created GypsiJars Skincare & Alchemy in 2013 with intent to provide high-vibration, restorative, holistic skincare and other tantric botanical remedies. She serves her communities through herbal alchemy, reiki,  workshops, homeschooling, prenatal+postnatal birth support, and sustainable urban farming. Gypsi is also a part of the Dopeciety’s COUCHES team and a founding member of Ascendance (a monthly astrology-based danced party for black+brown folx.)

Currently operating in her birthplace, a large part of Gypsi’s vision is to reshape the self-care, healing, food and reproductive justice climates in communities of POC, queer, and undocumented folx. On her own or in solidarity with several grassroots and healing justice organizations like The Radical Arts and Healing Collective, Women with A Vision, Wildseeds: The Octavia Butler Emergent Strategy Collective, and BYP100 she’s able to offer accessible, affordable, informative, and cathartic proactive resources and services.

IG: @gypsithemuse (personal)

IG: @gypsi_jars (business)

I’m Bear Hebert (they/them), and I’m a happy queer from south Louisiana trying to help us all get a little more free. I believe that relational work is real work, that emotional work is movement work. I orient my life around liberation. I make my living as a radical life coach, social justice educator, and anti-capitalist business consultant. I bring to my work the experiences I’ve gleaned from my background as an artist and an activist. I think simplicity, connection, honesty and pleasure are pretty good paths towards a more vital future, and that with those, we’ve got a pretty good shot at some moments of liberation on the way there. Plants are my friends and nature is my god.

Stevie Ray Blake Fox practices Energetic Herbalism in New Orleans, Louisiana. She served for 5 years on the Maypop Community Herb Shop team and completed her clinical certification with Karyn Sanders & Sarah Holmes at Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine in 2018.

She is a poet, a person of prayer and mother of a young son, Buck.