Even before food prices began to climb, there was a steadily growing community of African Americans that were seeking to return to the agricultural roots of our Ancestors. They are intentionally leaning on the self-reliance that being connected to the earth provides and that belonged to us eons before the transatlantic slave trade began. Our innate connection with the Earth and knowledge of planting, growing, and harvesting is one of the reasons for the growth of early America as well as a tool that allowed us to flourish after hundreds of years of bondage. Many inhabitants in rural areas have continually carried the torch of close living to the land as well as the growing number of city dwellers that are finding creative ways to grow food in small spaces. Community gardens have sprung up in several metropolitan areas as neighbors collectively sow seeds of positivity and health awareness in areas that were once unlikely candidates for such activities.
Social media and internet access have provided ways for communities of color to connect with one another about the importance of maintaining our ancient practices of apothecary. From Native American practices to those of the Caribbean and West Africa, the sharing of information about ancient practices are leading to a much more informed and health conscious people. Many black families particularly in the Southeastern United States have handed down medicinal recipes over several generations using only the plants, roots and other items that were readily available to them. The techniques of cultivating are as varied as the diaspora but the heart of it is all the same regardless of where our people dwell. Despite the insurmountable odds black people have endured, communal ties to ways of using the land was a large reason why we were successful and unfortunately also a reason why we were also sought after commodities.
Being knowledgeable about planting not only provides healthier foods for our families but many plants and herbs can be used for medicinal purposes that are safer and more effective than manufactured products. Corporate entities have found ways to monopolize on this as many store bought medicines are deceptively including wording and packaging that leans towards natural remedies but are still filled with ingredients that are produced in labs and often more detrimental to overall wellness. There are also others who have appropriated these closed practices and passed them off as their own doing. While herbalism is open to everyone, aspects of certain practices are connected precisely to specific groups of people due to their history of limited access to certain resources. Our ancestors made due with what they had and because of their passed down knowledge much of what they produced was highly effective thus making it ripe for takeover by the more powerful.
There are several books, podcasts, and other resources on apothecary but just as if you were writing a paper it is severely important to consider the source of information. If you are fortunate to have elders in your family or community that is the first place to start asking questions. They are much more likely to care about your well-being as well as not looking at you as an opportunity to make a sale. If this is not an option, do your research and find reputable sites that provide sources of where their information came from. Books are great but they can contain just as much misinformation as the internet so these should be chosen selectively as well. Many communities have Botanical and herbal shops. Get to know these shopkeepers as most are excited to share their knowledge with those interested in learning.