My name is Tina, and I've been puttering around with herbs, herb businesses, and herbalist friends for about 20 years or so. For perhaps 10 years of that, teaching people how to find wild foods has been a big interest. Just this past weekend my daughter went hiking with a new boyfriend who didn't know what a violet was. She was so thrilled to be able to teach him about different edible plants - and I watched her excitement as she related this to me with the realization that she already knows a lot more than she thinks. We've used the wild herbs that grow around us as much as possible for many years. We grow a lot of "tame" herbs too.
Anyhow, my sister and I started out with an herb shop at an area renaissance festival for 16 weeks of the year, and we did a lot of caring for the participants, dealing with the typical maladies of actors fighting in the heat. Great fun! Within 2 years we'd opened a fulltime "normal" shop in a small town and continued with both for a couple of years until we sold the faire shop. We made as many of the products for the shops that we were able to and had a nice little mail-order business (pre-internet) going. We gave some kind of herbal class every Friday night, and they were nearly always full. We learned to make soap, and soon had a wholesale business in soap as well as the retail business in our shops. We had a great time!
Over the years we've taken many workshops and classes from various wonderful herbalists.
Eventually we sold the fulltime shop. I started The Essential Herbal magazine, and she kept the soap company. We work together every day, and live on a family farm with separate dwellings. Our kids call it a commune. The chickens don't care whose yard it is as long as there is some water to drink. On the property we have a Christmas tree farm, a large pond, several wild, wooded acres, and some un-farmed meadow. So far I've managed to convince my brother-in-law that we need 20 bayberry bushes, 15 hazelnut trees, and a whole lot of fruit trees. He's starting to notice the figs, currants, gooseberries, and elderberries that line my backyard. Heh, heh, heh....
There is a pottery workshop here, a lampwork jewelry studio, and just about every power tool known to man. Once the kids are done with college, we aim to have a pretty good time playing in the mud.