Next up in our #GCFGrantStories series, we spotlight Community Grant recipient Seed, Soil and Spirit School, which received funding for its Herbal Immersion Program.
Seed, Soil and Spirit School is a plant medicine school for Black, Indigenous, racialized, and allied people who love plants and healing justice. “Community-led” and a “labour of love,” the school began operations in 2020 with little to no resources. For two years, it offered programming, hosted cross-cultural community spaces, and nurtured community connections. It hosted over 230 students, raising over $27,000 to ensure all applicants could join regardless of income and did it all through small donations and sliding-scale registration fees.
Through GCF’s Community Grants, Seed, Soil and Spirit School received funding to hire a coordinator, which has allowed staff to build a solid foundation for the school’s future, rooted in accessibility.
The coordinator was able to help ensure the program is more accessible for a variety of learners, including those with different learning styles and those who speak English as a second language. They created a workbook and a glossary of cultural, medical, and botanical terms. They also supported administrative work to help implement a new advisory council consisting of a group of Black and Indigenous herbalists and traditional medicine people. The coordinator’s efforts led to the school’s next project, creating a textbook to weave storytelling with art to convey traditional knowledge about plants and land-based teachings.
Partnerships were also created during this time, with staff consulting local community members and organizations run primarily by and for Black, Indigenous, and racialized people to design the school’s outdoor classroom and identify future collaborations.
According to the school staff, this grant has been instrumental in laying the foundation for work in 2023 in preparation for the school’s re-launch. They are making incredible progress and are currently addressing gaps in their curriculum and rebuilding their learning platform as part of the last step of the process.