Letter from the Publisher: International Herb Symposium

Posted by – July 22, 2015
Categories: Health & Healing

North Atlantic Books’ Publisher and Executive Director writes about an event he recently attended, where he spoke with a number of our authors and learned about an interesting ongoing case. 

I was thrilled to attend the International Herb Symposium in mid-June at the beautiful campus of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. The symposium, founded by Rosemary Gladstar, brings together top herbal practitioners to explore “the various methods we have of working with healing plants from the shamanic and folklore to ethnobotanical, clinical, and scientific.” The gathering truly lived up to these goals and had great resonance and connection with the North Atlantic Books mission and network.

The event was not only a place to meet great new friends and potential partners, but it was an opportunity to reconnect with some core NAB authors and existing partners as well. North Atlantic authors Matthew Wood, Chris Kilham, Anna Robertsdottir, and Wolf Storl were in attendance; it was a real pleasure to connect with them and hear them in conversation together.

But what was most interesting was the degree to which the herbal community as a collective has engaged in a variety of causes and wider work in the world. The headline example is the Free Fire Cider campaign. Fire Cider is a traditional folk remedy made by fermenting a variety of fruit and vegetables in apple cider vinegar, yet a small herbal company has been awarded a trademark for the name. The goal of the Free Fire Cider campaign is to cancel the trademark, as the company has now chosen to sue a number of herbal practitioners who use the traditional term. This case shows an interesting collision between the imperatives of Western corporate culture and folk remedies and traditions, and is still playing out.

In so many ways, the International Herb Symposium was a great success. Here at NAB, we’re looking forward to a handful of similar community engagements we’ll be attending in the coming months.

Thanks so much for your interest in North Atlantic Books, and stay tuned for more information and updates soon.

Douglas Reil
Publisher/Executive Director

Tags: Chris Kilham Douglas Reil Herbalism Letter from the Publisher Shamanism

About the Author

Douglas Reil is a publishing industry veteran with more than twenty-five years served in various roles. Formerly the Publisher and Executive Director at the nonprofit trade publisher North Atlantic Books, he began his career with a six-year stint at Inland Book Company followed by a decade at Publishers Group West. Prior to joining North Atlantic, he built a web-based CRM system at Interschola, a B-Corp that assists schools in distributing surplus assets. In 2011 he founded Bay Food Shed, a community-based organization that creates initiatives at the intersection of local food and the gift economy.