Creating a ‘Living Stage’ for Medicinal and Herbal Remedies: Field-course project in semi-rural northwestern Pennsylvania

Poster Session
OLSON, Elizabeth A. – Allegheny College

This poster describes preliminary results of a field-course project that explored the incorporation of local plants and herbs as medicinal remedies in a small town in northwest Pennsylvania (Meadville). There were three primary research objectives: (1) survey the spectrum of health practitioners in Meadville; (2) identify locally sustainable medicinal plants to be grown in the Allegheny College campus farm; (3) develop a plan for making the medicinal use of plants and herbs more accessible to the Meadville community. Through the use of interdisciplinary and participatory-action-research methodologies, this project sought to promote knowledge of the sustainable use of herbal and plant based remedies in Meadville. The project departed from a top-down approach to knowledge creation and dissemination by using innovative methodologies incorporating ethnobotanical research techniques and theatrical performance. The field-course participants worked with community members to create a ‘Living Stage’ which sought to facilitate sustainable ways of understanding and using locally available medicinal remedies.