25 Aug Don’t Miss the Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival & Forest Farming Conference!
It’s a natural for a county embraced by forest land. The return of the Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival to Erwin promises to attract record crowds September 24th.
“In 2019, we had no idea how many would show up for our first Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival and 1,000 people showed up,” says Michelle Bouton, the organizer of the event. “The pandemic kept us from holding events till now, and I believe that we may have an even bigger turnout on September 24th.” The Saturday event will offer nine options for free learning sessions in downtown Erwin. On Sunday, those interested in forest farming will enjoy an all-day educational experience. This $25 per person event has already sold out for this year for a deep dive in farming mountain herbs and vegetables.
“The pandemic grew people’s interest in how they can live a healthier life without a reliance on pharmaceuticals.”
Sassafras Moon Festival
Bouton began her trek into healing herbal medicines as an alternative to pharmaceuticals for her own ailments. Today, Bouton holds a doctor’s degree in Chinese medicine and teaches pharmacists, physicians, and nurses on relieving health issues using herbs that one can grow in their own backyard.
“The pandemic grew people’s interest in how they can live a healthier life without a heavy reliance on pharmaceuticals,” says Bouton. “Botanists will tell you that the Appalachian Mountains are second only to the Amazon for the diversity of plant life. Many of them have beneficial medicinal qualities. Sassafras Moon will offer a glimpse into those benefits and how you can find or grow your own medicines.”
“Many people are looking for alternative medications for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to chronic pain or to help their recovery from drug addiction,” says Bouton. “There are herbal solutions growing right here in our mountains that will amaze you.”
The Sassafras Moon Festival begins at 9 am and ends at 3 pm. Hour-long classes beginning at 10am along three tracks that attendees can choose from, how to start an herbal business, demystifying myths about plant-based medicinals, and the health benefits of mushrooms. Vendors will also offer their herbal products during the festival.
The sold-out Forest Farming Conference on Sunday, September 25th, is for those who are just getting started in forest farming or looking to ramp up their production of herbs or vegetables to bring to market. The day-long sessions will include a field trip to a forest farm. The event is in partnership with the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) and Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD). This is a ticketed event to be held rain or shine.
“The festival and forest farming conference are great examples of how Unicoi County sets itself apart in unique ways,” says Unicoi County Joint Economic Development Board Chairman Lee Brown. “Whether you are looking to start a business in agriculture or simply interested in the benefits of herbal medicines, there is always something real and wild about our county that you have to experience.”