HerbFest Speakers List


HerbFest 2017 will be the largest conference we have had so far, with 21 incredible speakers confirmed!

Please keep checking back for updates…

SatishSatish Kumar is a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, who has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.  Since moving to the UK in 1973 Satish has been editor of Resurgence magazine – making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine.  He is on the Advisory Board of Our Future Planet, a unique online community sharing ideas for real change and, in recognition of his commitment to animal welfare and compassionate living, he was recently elected vice-president with the RSPCA. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad.

We are delighted that Satish will be our keynote speaker and will also give a talk on People, Plants and Planet. 

Polly-Higgins-EarthTalksPolly Higgins is an international lawyer, UK based barrister and award-winning author. Founder of the Earth Law Alliance and The Earth Community Trust, she has garnered a number of awards for her work advocating for a law of Ecocide. She received an Honoris Causa Doctorate from Business School Lausanne 2013; in the same year she became the Honorary Arne Naess Professor at Oslo University. Her first book, Eradicating Ecocide, won the Peoples Book Prize in 2011 (updated 2nd edition, September 2015).

Polly will be giving two talks; one on The Global Mission to Entrust People to Become Legal Trustees of the Earth and the other a hosted discussion with another speaker, exploring each others ideas and work.

michael_mcintyre_200Michael McIntyre has worked as a herbalist and acupuncturist for over 30 years and teaches both at home and abroad.  In 1987 he and Giovanni Maciocia launched the first UK school of Chinese herbal medicine where, with Mazin Al Khafaji, he was Principal until 2000.

Michael is well known for his work in developing the profession of herbal medicine and is currently Chair of the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association. He is has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University where for the last five years he has held a visiting professorship. Michael is also a former President, Fellow and Life member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, a life member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, an honorary member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy and a member of the College of Medicine. He is the author of several books and articles on herbal medicine and has been the subject of two TV documentaries on herbal medicine made by the BBC and Channel 4.

Michael will be giving talks on Type 2 Diabetes and The Energetics of Herbs.

robin_smallRobin Harford is a forager and ethnobotanist specialising in wild edible plants and has been teaching people about their local edible landscape throughout Britain and beyond since 2009. He is a co-director of Plants & Healers International, a non-profit that connects people, plants and healers around the world. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.  He is creator of the UK’s leading wild food site www.eatweeds.co.uk.

Robin has taught foraging at Eden Project, appeared on BBC2’s Edwardian Farm, Soul Seekers TV series, STV (Scotland), appeared on BBC radio and been recommended in the BBC Good Food magazine, Guardian, The Lady, Sainsbury’s magazine, GQ, Ecologist, Green Parent to name a few.

Robin will be giving a talk Contemplating Plants: Coming to Your Senses as well as a walk Waking Up To Plants: Sensory Practices To Deepen Your Connection To Nature.

anne-225x300Anne McIntyre is a Western herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner and has been practicing for over 35 years. Anne lecturers regularly in the UK and US, as well as running courses in Ayurveda and seasonal wild medicine foraging from her home and abroad.  At her home in the Cotswolds Anne has created a beautiful and much loved spiral herb garden that represents a journey through life, from birth to paradise expressed through herbs.

Anne is the author of over 20 books on both Western herbalism and Ayurveda and over recent years Anne has focussed on explaining Ayurveda for the Western mindset.  Anne’s most recent project (apart from organising HerbFest!) was to launch www.learnlivingayurveda.com – an online introduction to Ayurveda for Western minds.

Anne will be giving two talks; Treating Children from Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives and The Art of Artemis – a journey through life expressed through herbs as portrayed by Anne’s garden.

sarah-edwards-small-605x599Sarah Edwards has an interdisciplinary background which includes experience working in biodiversity informatics, ethnobotany / ethnopharmacology, traditional environmental knowledge, medical anthropology and medicinal plant research. Sarah has worked in academia (currently teaching Biological Conservation and Ethnobiology at the University of Oxford) and has also worked as a freelance consultant for NGOs.  Her latest role at Kew Gardens involves developing medicinal plant names services to stakeholders beyond botany, including government agencies and international health regulators. She has written a number of scientific articles, and is lead-author of the book, Phytopharmacy: an evidence-based guide to herbal medicinal products. Sarah is a Board member of the British Herbal Medicines Association (BHMA), and sits on the Scientific Committee of the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP).  She is also honoured to have been adopted by the Elders of the Tiwi, Wik and Kugu (Australian Aboriginal) peoples, who she worked with closely in order to promote intergenerational transmission of traditional plant knowledge in their communities.

Sarah will be giving two talks; Wik and Kugu Aboriginal Bush Medicine and TBC 2017.

Jen Gold editedJen Gold is a medical herbalist and holistic therapist who runs her business, Reconnect to Self, in East Lothian.

Jen started her holistic training in 2001 whilst travelling in India when she studied Kriya Yoga and Reiki I and II with Yogi Mohan.  Later Jen became a Reiki Master/Teacher and holds regular classes in East Lothian and abroad.  In 2002 she began her herbal medicine study at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine in Glasgow with training including holistic massage and aromatherapy and has been practicing as a massage therapist since 2004.  Jen believes we all have access to what we need to be well but that it is up to us whether we choose to listen and integrate health and wellness into our lives.

Jen will be leading daily Kundalini yoga classes as well as guided plant meditations.

tanya-headpicTanya Moulding originally trained in Holistic Aromatherapy before studying Clinical Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, On-site Massage, Reiki, Indian Head Massage, Product Formulation and Natural Perfumery. Tanya is currently part of the teaching faculty of ITHMA (Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine & Aromatherapy), has served as a council member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) and is a member of IFA, IFPA and CNHC.  She divides her professional practice between the NHS, as a Complementary Therapist in Palliative Care, and her Corporate/Private clients, in addition to offering introductory and post-graduate training in Aromatherapy, Massage and Product Blending.  Over the past five years, she has been studying Natural Perfumery and the role of olfaction and scents on the psyche, mood and memory.

Tanya will be giving two talks; Aromas in Palliative Care and Lavender: to Love or to Loathe.

Eleanor Gallia began her formal herbal training in the 1990s with an apprenticeship at Napiers Herbal Dispensary in Edinburgh while studying with the Sussex College of Phytotherapy. Having grown up on a farm and trained as a shepherd she returned to Dorset once she had qualified and established her herbal practice “Nether Cerne Herbs.” As well as providing medicine, education and herb walks she has also been featured in BBC documentaries such as River Cottage, Heir Hunters and Victorian Pharmacy.

Eleanor’s work has always been focused on the wilds. Forever a forager, this passion was taken to a new level when she became involved with the Iracambi Forest Conservation programme in Brazil. In 1999 Eleanor set up the “Iracambi Medicinal Plants Programme” working with forest farmers to revitalize traditional medicinal plant practices. The sustainable collection of medicinal plants from the wild became an area of important study and within a few years Iracambi was selected as a pilot project for the International Standard for the Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP). Working together with international conservation bodies including WWF, IUCN and BfN Eleanor worked in China, Germany, Austria and Japan to create the new standard for medicinal plant collection now known as FairWild.

The Nether Cerne Herbs dispensary and range of medicinal plant products and “sustainabili~teas” are made from a combination of plants wild crafted and grown locally together with plants sourced from internationally recognized sustainable “FairWild” sources.  Eleanor has recently become custodian of an ancient Dorsetshire hill.

Eleanor will be presenting a talk in two parts; ‘Wild Medicine: Herbal Medicine and its Role in Conservation’ and ‘Wild Medicine: Sustainability in Practice’.

1937137_100161249999025_4934028_nNiki Lawrence is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster, where she is the leader for Botanical Medicine, Botany and MSc Plant Science modules, as well as giving lectures in materia medica and physical examinations, and a practitioner supervisor in the Polyclinic. Niki studied herbal medicine at the University of Westminster before gaining an MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent.  She has a particular interest in ethnobotany, organic cultivation, plant taxonomy and prostate disease treatments.

Niki will be giving a talk entitled How to Prepare Herbarium Specimens.

UPDATE: Unfortunately Niki is not able to join us at HerbFest this year.

Barbara Griggs has been researching and writing about herbal medicine for over 40 years. Barbara is a lifetime Honorary Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, and an Associate Member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy.  She is the author of Green Pharmacy: A History of Herbal Medicine which is acknowledged as the standard work on the subject and used as a course book at schools of herbal medicine around the world.

Barbara will be giving a talk entitled Professionals vs Amateurs in Herbal Medicine.

jill-swyersJill Swyers started her career with over 30 years working in the catering, food and beverage industry throughout Europe.  After being diagnosed as suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalga, Hypoglycaemia, Candida and Reynauds disease Jill started looking seriously at the impact of diet on health.  Having successfully treated herself through a combination of diet, exercise and alternative therapies, Jill is now a qualified Hippocrates Health Educator and devotes her time to teaching and demonstrating the preparation of living foods as a way to achieve optimum health.  www.jillswyers.com

Jill will be giving a talk entitled Living & Raw Plant Based Foods and Herbs – The Importance of Taste.

FernandaFernanda Botelho was born in rural Portugal and lived in London for 17 years, where she studied Herbal Medicine and worked in Neil´s Yard remedies. She has been living in the Portuguese countryside since 1998 where she immerses herself in the world of herbs – she takes the most beautiful photographs of herbs and plants. She has published several books including “As plantas e a saúde” (Plants and health), “Uma mão cheia de plantas que curam” (A handful of healing plants) as well as a herb journal for the last 7 years and three herb books for children. Fernanda brings her knowledge of local herbs to young and old alike – creating herb gardens in schools and old people’s homes. She had a regular slot on Portuguese radio and appears frequently on television.

Fernanda will be giving a guided herb walk to discover local Mediterranean herbs, shrubs and trees.

maureen-bio-imageMaureen Robertson has been leading Contemplative Plant study and developing an energetic approach to Attuning with Herbs for over 20 years. Her passion of sharing deep encounters with healing plants culminates in the courses and gatherings she runs from Monte Mariposa in the Algarve and the Herbal Apprenticeship programme in Scotland. Her teaching has taken her to Canada, USA, Ireland, Ecuador & Mallorca and she has worked with inspiring Shamans in Peru, Ecuador and Portugal. She undertook the 4 year training at the School of Herbal Medicine in the UK, qualifying in 1995 when she became a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. She was co-founder of the world renowned Scottish School of Herbal Medicine which ran BSc and MSc courses in Herbal Medicine.

Maureen will be talking about Making and using aromatic waters/hydrosols using a copper alembic from Portugal.

As the daughter of not one but two herbalists, award winning travel writer Zoe McIntyre spent her childhood trying to dodge her murky brown tinctures and feeling unimpressed by the hummus and salad sandwiches she’d be presented with for lunch.  Only later did she realise how important her diet was for her own health and the health of the planet.  Her love of food has led her around the world to discover different food cultures and learn about the complexities of the global food system.  She’s cooked tagine in Morocco, foraged for wild fruits in the Amazon and sewn seeds on a permaculture farm in Colombia.  This led her to pursue a Masters in sustainability gastronomy at the Slow Food university in Piedmont, Italy.

Zoe will be giving a talk entitled ‘An Edible Education’ revelation from a year of eye-opening. mouth watering sustainable food studies in Italy.

anaAna de Azcarate has studied herbs, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, massage, nutrition, Ayurveda and biodynamic agriculture and is currently studying naturopathy at the Instituto de Estudios Naturales (IEN) in Madrid. She is also the editor of a health and ecology imprint in Spain.

Ana will be giving a cooking workshop on Fermentation at Home.



peter yeoPeter Yeo is, amongst other things, an environmentalist and plantsman, having been fascinated by plants, especially their patterns and changing relationships, for over 30 years. Whilst he has studied horticulture and ecology formally, plants themselves have been his most meaningful teachers.

Peter will be giving a talk entitled ‘Invasive’ plants: hindrance, or help?


john-woytowiczDr John Woytowicz is a family physician and faculty at the Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency in Augusta, Maine, US.   As the Director of Integrative Medicine he employs a variety of healing techniques in his practice and curriculum  in the training of family physicians.   Having studied with Rosemary Gladstar and many other herbalists in both the US and the UK, he incorporates herbalism, nutrition, supplements, breathing techniques, motivational interviewing and other integrative practices. He is also a advocate for the medical use of marijuana.

John will be giving a talk on Integrative Medicine Approaches in the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases.

deb_soule_rose_petals_baskets_smallDeb Soule began gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs over 40 years ago while growing up in a rural area in Maine (USA).  In 1985 she founded Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary and Healing Gardens in Rockport, Maine. Here Deb tends a 3 acre biodynamic herb garden which provides numerous herbs for Avena’s herbal tinctures, teas, salves, and crèmes and serves as a sanctuary garden for pollinators and people. She is the author of ‘How To Move Like a Gardener’ and ‘Healing Herbs for Women’.

Deb will be giving a talk Creating A Medicine Garden.

Cat Raiz de Carvalho is a massage therapist and practitioner from Portugal, who delights in making natural products sourced and inspired by nature. She graduated as an environmental engineer, working with wildlife NGOs and self-sustainability projects. She currently spends her time between Portugal and Thailand, where she has started the Raiz d’Oliva project, inviting people to learn the traditional uses of local plants.

Cat will be running a workshop on creating personal care products using locally sourced ingredients.