What is the Many Hands Community Apothecary?

The MHCA is a group of garden beds located in the Farm at Awbury, which are cared for and supported by Awbury Arboretum’s nine-month Herbal Aid Ed course.

What we will be making

Each class includes hands-on time in the MHCA garden. As we cover various medicinal processing methods, students will produce infusions, decoctions, tinctures, salves, infused honey, vinegars, electuaries, syrups, flower essences, incense, powders, soaks, and more.

During each monthly class, students make shares of medicine for personal, family, and community distribution and become healing advocates in their community. The program also hosts ongoing opportunities for wider community engagement during garden volunteer days and medicine-making sessions. Additionally, Herbal Aid Ed will include speaker series and one-off classes.


What is the Herbal Aid Ed course?

Herbal Aid Ed is a course of study designed by community herbalist Alyssa Schimmel. This course is a celebration of herbal wisdom and practices. Through community-garden growing and the production of plant medicines, this course is meant to provide collective care.

Herbal Aid Ed covers an introduction to 40+ plants from a range of cross-cultural traditions. Through the knowledge of many hands and many lands, the native medicines of the Philadelphia bioregion and the wisdom of the Lenni Lenape / Wingohoking are woven together in this course.










Community Outreach

Students leave with medicines they’ve made which include extras for them to share. The making of additional medicines to support community distribution will widen the reach of these shared learnings.  In 2021, Herbal Aid Ed participants distributed over 400 pieces of herbal medicine including salves, teas, glycerites, electuaries, and oxymels to the Germantown community!

Herbal Aid Ed 2023 will meet from April through December

2023 Classes

Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM:

April 1st, May 6, June 10th, July 1st, Aug 5th, Sept 2nd Oct 14th, Nov 11th, and Dec 9th

2023 Garden Days

(open to the public)

 Wednesdays, 4:00 – 6:00 PM:

April 19th, May 17th, June 21st, July 12th, Aug 16th, Sept 20th, Oct 18th, Nov 15th

Alyssa Schimmel

A community herbalist, licensed massage therapist, gardener, teacher, and forager, she is passionate about sharing knowledge of regional food and medicine in the community. She serves as the course designer and program lead of Many Hands Community Apothecary Herbal Aid Ed at The Farm at Awbury Arboretum,  a mutual-aid herbal education program, and community medicine network. Previously serving as the Education Director of The Philadelphia Orchard Project, Alyssa developed the School Orchard Program serving 14 K-12 schools, has collaborated with Awbury Arboretum teaching medicine-making to the Teen Leadership Program, catered seasonal dinners alongside Chef Gail Hinson and taught medicine-making through Wild Foodies. She has also taught at institutions including Swarthmore College, Haverford College, The Village, and more.  Her training includes studies through WildGinger Community Herbal Center, Sky House School of Herbal Medicine, Human Path school, Mountain Gardens, and formal study through David Winston’s School of Herbal Medicine.

Questions?  Please contact Alyssa at  manyhandsapothecary@awbury.org