My View from the Weeds: Herbalists Without Borders is Growing to Serve Central Ohio

This post was originally published in HWBCO's monthly column, My View from the Weeds, for the Columbus Free Press, September 2019 Issue

Herbalists Without Borders is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to deliver health justice and humanitarian aid worldwide through direct service and volunteerism. Some chapters work in war-torn or famine-stricken nations, some chapters exclusively work with veterans, while others serve their communities’ underserved (uninsured, houseless or underemployed) populations. In central Ohio, the chapter (HWBCO: Herbalists Without Borders, Central Ohio) is currently focused on running People’s Clinics and a People’s Apothecary, both of which are sliding scale (no one turned away for lack of funds). Currently, the chapter runs clinics once monthly in conjunction with other mutual aid organizations: Food Not Bombs or Mothers In Arms. They hope to increase to weekly clinics as they get more volunteers. “We know the need is there, we just need to grow to meet it.” says Whitney Dunlap, and organizer with HWBCO. The People’s Apothecary is available at every clinic and each HWBCO organizing meeting (monthly on fourth Sundays of each month). The chapter is expanding the scope of their work to meet the community’s deep need for holistic accessible health care and needs more volunteers. “You do not have to be an herbalist (or herbalist-in-training) to volunteer. You also do not have to be a practitioner to make a difference,” continues Dunlap. “I am currently not practicing in the clinic and am deeply involved.” HWBCO currently needs both practitioners for clinics (which they intend to expand to weekly) and non-practitioners (for organizing, promoting the work locally, outreach, clinic set up and break down, fundraising, and staffing/prepping welcome stations at clinics). Think you would like to volunteer? Clinic practitioners do not need to be herbalists – they just need to have a holistic mindset, be willing to recommend botanical remedies in some situations, and be willing to donate their services and care.  HWBCO currently has massage therapists, MDs and herbalists (and can always use more) and are seeking acupuncturists, chiropractors, body workers, reflexologists, naturopaths and nurses. The goal is to have weekly clinics around the city in conjunction with other mutual aid services being offered. HWBCO is currently running clinics at Food Not Bombs food distribution sites in Linden and on Livingston and at Mothers in Arms (a group supporting single moms and their families) community dinners. They are in communication with and hope to expand and offer services in conjunctions with BQIC (Black, Queer Intersectional Collective) and the Mid-Ohio Worker Association as well. Other Volunteers are needed to: - Help set up clinic spaces and break them down (they run a mobile clinic), - Make waiting clinic guests feel welcome (and give them intake forms, tea and information), - Do outreach to community spaces to obtain resources for the chapter, - Promote clinic events by distributing flyers and posting on social media, - Maintain the website and social media presence for the chapter, - Start and oversee new projects such as: - A community garden to grow food and medicine - Writing grants for our projects - Starting a free resource store and maintaining its hours (which includes the apothecary) - Making medicine for the apothecary - Gathering donations from local businesses and individuals - Running seed swap events. Important Upcoming Dates: HWBCO’s next clinic is being held August 25 (4-6 PM) at the Mothers In Arms ( community dinner. To attend the dinner/clinic, you must reserve (free) tickets on their website. This event is for single moms and their families. HWBCO’s next meeting is Sunday September 22 and we are combining the organizing with a foraging walk to gather medicine for the Apothecary and ourselves. HWBCO is also hosting a free herb swap on Sunday September 29. Bring surplus dried herbs, medicines you have made, live plants and more to swap with others. You are always welcome to donate surplus to the chapter and it will be used for the People’s Apothecary.  More information on these events is available on the HWBCO website ( Lily Kunning is Columbus’ community herbalist. She teaches classes in her private classroom, at Cancer Support Community, and elsewhere. She does private consultations and formulations as well as working in the HWB clinic. More information on Lily and her work can be found at her website:

Appears in Issue:  September 2019 issue

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