I have always been interested in people and plants in a broad context. My happiest childhood memories involve plants and trees and being outside, either cross-country skiing or canoeing on a quiet, clear lake on the Canadian shield. Throughout my life, I have always spent time gardening, growing flowers and food. Even before hearing about the existence of naturopathic medicine, I knew I wanted to do something related to health, nature, and the environment.
I went to Trent University, getting my B.A. Hons degree in Cultural Studies. Even then, I was most interested in the way health and disease are defined and represented in culture. In my academic studies, I focused on the complex sociocultural relationships between health, disease, gender, race, and sexuality. I developed a critical eye for the way we define what is healthy and what isn’t, especially in relation to specific health conditions like PMS and menopause and mental wellness.
I have always been an activist in some way or another. As a cis-ish, Jewish queer/spawn growing up in the suburbs, I was acutely aware of identity and discrimination and have been a member of various co-ops, collectives, and non-profits since high school. While I was in university, I founded a thriving community garden and began to learn plant identification, wildcrafting, and herbal medicine-making. I spent time on organic farms and studied with herbalists in Nova Scotia and Quebec.
After university, I worked for a national environmental NGO (non-governmental organization). As much as I loved getting paid to be an environmental activist, I knew that I wanted to focus more on the human health side of environmentalism and work more closely with plants. I moved to China, studying acupuncture and Chinese herbal traditions while I explored educational options for more training in North America. While living in China, I stumbled upon naturopathic medicine searching for herbal medicine schools, at once realizing it was the best fit for me (art + humanities + science + nature + eclectic = me).