~ diane fergurson
MBS: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How you got involved with herbs and gardening?
Black Russian Tomato -Organic Heirloom SeedsRaDonna: Sure, I actually have a degree from Metropolitan State College of Denver in Holistic Medicine, a certificate in Aromatherapy, and am currently working on a Master's in Psychology from Regis University. I have other degrees but I don't think you want the entire list.
My mother was raised on a farm in Brewster, Kansas and there have been farmers in my life forever. My mother actually still lives in Kansas on a smaller farm these days. She taught me a lot, and I have spent an extensive amount of time learning and gardening myself. I lived in Kansas on a farm for about six years. I raised goats, and chickens, and grew gardens and flowers on over an acre of land. I had not gone to college yet though. That happened after my time on the farm.
Well I love the environment, people, and herbal medicine more than just about anything. And I started to see grand improvements in people who took herbs correctly. The problem was though, that many of the herbs people get from the stores are only 3% pure. Check out quackwatch.com sometime for more information.
Eventually I decided that offering herbal seeds, something I loved, would be of great benefit to people and is something that is very much needed in the world. I combined my education with something I loved to do and went forth!
Someday I would like to have a "peace" center where people can come and garden, get herbal medicine, reiki, massage, psychotherapy, a place where they come to just find some real peace - in this chaos of a world we live in. I also love to write, and that is really the foundation of much of this, that and doing something I truly love. I hope that answers your question. I could give you a whole dissertation but, I will spare you!
Organic Heirloom Purple of Sicily CauliflowerMBS: I was really surprised to read just now that you said that many of the herbs in the stores are only 3% pure. Can you tell us a little more about that? I didn't know that! That's amazing! Is that because the plants themselves, the manufacturing process or what?
RaDonna: Yes, there really is no standardization or regulation. So it is commonly found, through independent studies, that much of what is in the bottle on store shelves consists of...pardon the pun... "floor dust" or inert ingredients. You never really know what you are getting, unless you look over some of the studies, which can be found at quackwatch and other online sites.
It's really sad that so many people don't know about the quality of the herbs they are buying and are being duped by some dis-honest manufactures. Then there are other problems... like with Kava Kava. It's popularity surged and the grower started to harvest 2 types of Kava that the Polynesians never used before in addition to young plants and aerial parts of plants. Unfortunately, this carelessness and greed created a problem with our ability to safely use the plant.
This again is why I offer the seeds. If you know what you grow, it really helps. But, there are also issues with growing your own though. A drought year, for example, can produce stronger medicine so it is wise to "know" what you plant. Take small steps with tea, start with one teaspoon instead of two, etc....
MBS: I noticed that you sell a lot of organic and heirloom plant seeds in your shop. What is an heirloom plant or seeds for readers who may not be familiar with that? Also, what is the difference between organic and heirloom?
Five Colors Organic, Heirloom Swiss ChardRaDonna: Organic seeds are untreated with chemicals and fungicides for at least 3 generations of that plant species or 3 seasons. There are many seeds that are untreated, but have no guarantee that previous generations of seeds were untreated. Some of the fear is that the chemicals etc, may alter the genes of seeds for many generations of that plant. An heirloom seed is one that reproduces itself from it's own seeds. Hybrid seeds are designed to produce one crop and then the seeds are basically sterile, they will grow, but won't produce say tomatoes. Hybridization, in my opinion is really just a way to corner the seed market so people can't grow their own.
What's most important though, is that I would like people to know that NON-GMO seeds are the most valuable kind of seeds for everyone. Monsanto has created a variety of corn known as insect guard. Several varieties in fact. This corn, and it's pollen has been genetically modified so that it kills the bugs getting on it, a real convenience to the farmer. The problem is that this corn is also the cause of the death of the monarch butterflies as well as the collapse of the honey bee hives. It is so very important to choose seeds that not genetically modified, there is no testing of these seeds, and I believe they will one day prove to be dangerous.
Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me!
The Bear Foot Shaman
thank you RaDonna!
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