Wild Ginger Values Agreements (Repair Model to Come)
Please review fully the community values and agreements and respond below with your name and check that you agree in order to move forward together in this program. We will be moving through these together to help deepen our relationship and understanding during our first class together.
Wild Ginger Values, Agreements
a Repair Model is currently in process and will be shared
V. 1 - May 2021
Who We Are
At Wild Ginger Herbal Center we are grateful to build in community to keep the knowledge of our food, herbal medicine, birthways and our healing traditions alive and vital within our communities. Our belief is that plant medicine is the people's medicine, everyone of us comes from a lineage of plant people, and this knowledge is each person’s birthright. We recognize in a community that includes such a wide range of identities, understandings, and values, tension and conflict are inevitable and we do not believe that is inherently bad but rather can help move us forward. This guide is meant to help to create a container for us to hold each other in our shared learning spaces with intention, responsibility, and care.
Wild Ginger is a unique herbal space: it is a public, open-to-all (unless specifically defined otherwise in certain programs), multigenerational, multiracial herbal space that both includes Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) teachers and as well as students with a wide range of backgrounds, identities and politics.
Wild Ginger is both a business and a community. This is a family run business, co-owned by Molly, a white cis-woman, and her partner Javier, a Black and Latinx/e cis-man. Molly is the central organizer managing programming and logistics while also teaching, gardening and working our apothecary, while Javier’s roles include stewarding our land and gardens, hosting groups, and transportation as well as nature programs in Costa Rica. These all are the intersections of how we move through this work in our learning community. (What does cis-gender mean?)
From the outset, Wild Ginger began with the goal to better embody and reflect the community of folks who practice herbalism in our communities, as so many of the herbal educational spaces we had encountered were solely centered around white folks. We also sought to bring an extensive community based educational alternative to the limited options in our area in Maryland, and provide local community reflective alternatives to the extractive tourism options in our community in Costa Rica.
In the decade since we began, we have witnessed BIPOC folks take the lead and do the incredibly heavy lifting of pushing our entire herbal movement forward and creating our collective future. As herbalism and creating relationships with our plant family is an ongoing and active practice that never ends - so will be our continued process of becoming a more responsible, just, and committed project.
The following values are a framework to help us hold our very diverse community. It is not a set of strict rules. This year is our first time articulating these values and we expect to update them, based on experience and community feedback, over time.
We are about relationships. Wild Ginger is a family-owned and homegrown community that has grown from a web of trusted relationships. It is important to us to be relationship-oriented, which is reflected in all of our other values.
We are a life-affirming space. As a community we hold many different identities, beliefs, politics, and more. We honor that our differences can nourish us, help us flourish, and make us more, not less, vital. This does not mean we are without boundaries or other safety supports--it means we assume that our differences and complexity are our resources as we grow together.
We support autonomy of our own bodies. We respect each person’s autonomy to determine what is best for their body. We recognize the power of traditional and folk medicine that has sustained us for generations; the life-saving role modern medicine plays for our health; and the past and present violence of the medical industrial complex. Our choices are shaped by these realities, along with our individual needs, access, and history. We do not shame anyone for the choices they make--rather, we seek to understand their experiences and to create as many safe, accessible, and responsive options as possible for our communities.
We care about justice and liberation. We are a community that deeply cares about justice and liberation, which is seen through many of our course offerings and core teachers’ commitments. This means that we do not see our relationship with land, plants, birth, or the world “neutrally” or “objectively”--our lived experience tell us that the conditions in which we live must change and we must relate to power to change them.
And, this does not mean we are a social justice space--as a multi-generational, multiracial, multiclass community with different levels of interaction and vastly different sets of experiences, we are not always able to hold the expectations that some people have of social justice spaces, although we likely have many of the same commitments. We welcome everyone who honors these values, our community agreements, and our repair model.
We respect all living things. We recognize that humans, babies, plants, other more than human kin, and our ecosystems are living organisms that have the right to exist and inherent value outside cultures of extraction, commodification and profit. That said, we also honor folks self-determination to create a livelihood in which they, their families and communities can thrive which can and does involve being fairly compensated for their time, energy, services and/or offerings.
We are an approachable community. Our community is a space that includes many different folks, and we value embodying a welcoming and approachable space. This is a space that welcomes folks outside of social movements, whether they do not feel a part of them or they are not easy to be a part of. We try to limit our assumptions about what we know, use plain language, and to listen as much as we speak. We approach one another with humility, with the recognition that we need each other and that we cannot predict where our experiences will lead us.
We rely on collaboration. Our community’s history is rooted in respectful collaboration. We dream, try things out, and create with one another. We inspire each other with our brilliance and talent, from which our community benefits. While we honor the wisdom that comes from the many years our teachers have dedicated to practicing their paths and the value that can bring to our learning community, we we also recognize and value the knowledge held and shared amongst our learning community and encourage the respect, patience, and generosity that comes with collaborative practice during our live classes.
We hold each other. We know that we all make mistakes, disagree, and have the capacity to harm, regardless of our intentions. We understand that learning and growing together can be joyous, energizing, and heart-opening, as well as hurtful, painful, and disappointing. Beyond safe or brave spaces, we commit to holding each other. We contribute to our own needs, and as each person is able, we ask you to contribute toward the collective.
We seek to bring each other along. To bring each other along we have responsibilities to one another. We must practice and build skills toward our ability to hear our impact on others, take others seriously, hold contradiction and complexity, stay in conflict as we are able, make meaningful apologies, engage in healthy debate, and change our behavior. We do not hide our mistakes or tensions, we just commit to learn from them.
We are all learning, together. We remember that our purpose is to learn together, which means we must be aware of one another, meet one another, and support one another, toward learning. This means what we learn is as much in the process as in the content. It also means we must be aware whether and how we show up as individuals is contributing toward our collective learning experience.
We are stronger collectively and believe within community we hold many solutions. The more we isolate from one another or alienate others we do not understand, we more fragile and less resilient we are. We also seek to grow relationships together as people (from young ones to elders) along with plants/more than human kin.
We are adaptable, like all living things. We acknowledge that we are adapting at this transformative moment, like everything else. We adapt in our shared spaces together as we need to, and as a community we expect to continue adapting to meet our collective needs. We see our ability to adapt as a strength, while we believe that we can do so without compromising the core of who we are or our purpose of being together.
The following community agreements were written by Richael Faithful and Molly Meehan. They sourced from long-time community use, student feedback, teacher feedback, and Woke Without the Work.
We ask you to:
Honor our agreements. These are the practices to which we all agreed before entering our community. While they are not strict rules, they are the shape of our container. It is OK if agreements are new to you--most important, is to keep them close in our time together.
Be as present as possible and deeply listen. Minimize distractions and disruptions for yourself. Listen not just to the words but the feelings, ideas and inspirations behind them.
Don’t assume, ask. Try your best to avoid assumptions. Please ask questions instead.
Speak from your own experience. “I” statements help. Avoid phrases like “everyone/everybody” or “as people/humans” that universalize your experience.
Meet each other where we are at. We are a diverse community that might not always know or trust each other yet. Embrace others’ beliefs and differences, unless harm is caused.
Be aware of your space. Make space for others if you often take space. Challenge yourself to take space if you usually don’t. Most of all, be aware of your space within the community which can depend on personality, knowledge and identities. Ask yourself of whether your contribution are for our collective benefit.
Reset with curiosity and inquiry. Try to ask questions and express openness when you do not understand, notice a contradiction or have a strong response. Asking for more context, history, or a story can lead to more understanding.
Respect and name the lineage of knowledge gained. Although the transmission of knowledge is as complex as ever, it is essential to cite and credit to individual and cultural sources.
Respect each other’s identities and self-determination. Please use the name, pronouns and other identities a person claims. If you make a mistake, apologize, correct yourself, and make your best effort not to repeat your mistake. Please also respect choices that others make that have minimal impact on you.
Designated chat feature (for live online classes): The chat will be open at designated times by space-holders and teachers by either prompts or specified times. If you have something to share of benefit to the group, share it. Q&A will be during those designated times. If you get overwhelmed by the chat please know there is an option to mute it or hide it. Accompany Value:
Lessons leave, stories stay. As we learn together, we encourage everyone to leave spaces with lessons -- ideas, concepts, wisdom or data -- impersonal information that helped us reach our learning goals. We ask that stories stay -- experiences and personal information that accompanied the learning that you do not have permission to share elsewhere -- unless you obtain it. This agreement applies to social media too.
Toward a consent culture. Our space is choice-full. This means that you always have choices about whether and how to engage. It is also your responsibility to offer choices to others. Please ask for consent, especially before engaging with other participants. Never assume that advice, resources, or personal contact are wanted.
Ask for what you need. Please ask for what you need so that the community has an opportunity to support you. It is not always possible to meet your needs, and it is still important to do as much as possible and build trust.
Use the Repair Model. We are currently working to create a Repair Model that will serve to help guide us through conflict and harm in the future. We are being as intentional as possible and we also need to work with our space holders and teachers before this is employed in our shared learning space. We thank you for your patience as we continue this work, and offer below, some concepts as a place to start to understand and learn. In the future once developed, if something happens, do your best to identify whether the issue is from a conflict, critique, contradiction, harm or abuse. A conflict, critique, or contradiction are less time sensitive and require less effort to support. Please let the space-holders know right away if you experience harm or abuse.
As space-holders and teacher, we commit to:
We maintain our agreements. Our commitment is that we will maintain our agreements. The space will be moderated by our community agreements and directed toward our learning goals. We will review them before class, refer to them during class if necessary, and revisit during a series to ensure that they still fit our needs.
Be as prepared as possible. We will be as prepared as possible to share information about logistics, process, and content for a generative learning experience.
Name and be aware of our social locations. We will name the identities, experiences, and histories that locate where we are when we enter a space, and bring awareness to our actions that come from what we have named, especially if they are privileged identities.
Create space and deeply listen. We will arrive with deep curiosity and intend to deeply listen to help participants meet us and each other where we are.
Bring in our culture appropriation questions. Along with extending credit to where sources of knowledge come from, we will ask ourselves questions outlined in our Cultural Appropriation guide to clarify whether we have enough context to share knowledge from a tradition or culture that is not our own, regardless whether, or before, harm occurs.
Affirm others’ identities and set the tone for practice. We will affirm all participants’ names, pronouns, racial and ethnic identities, and we set the tone for affirming everyone in our space and correcting mistakes when they arise.
Monitor and moderate chat. (For live online classes) We assume responsibility to monitor and moderate the chat to ensure comments are aligned with our community agreements and values. When there are contributions that do not uphold agreements/values we will actively moderate the chat, and if moderation does not address the issue/de-escalate the chat, class time will be committed to reset the space.
Model consent culture. We recognize that building consent culture is a radical departure from the norm in most places. We will do our part to model and practice consent culture.
Do our best to meet needs within our capacity and our values. We will do our best to meet your needs as we value each community member. The three instances in which a request can’t be honored is 1) when there is a wide range of needs among similarly situated folks, 2) a request is beyond the current capacity or infrastructure of Wild Ginger and can’t be readily accessed and 3) a request is incompatible with our values.
Teach from what we know. Many teachers specialize in care of a community in which they work - with knowledge, skillsets, and norms -- that may not be shared outside a particular community. Others specialize in one specific area and don’t have much knowledge or experience outside of that area. We will teach from where we have training, experience, and practice, and acknowledge what we don’t know or can’t speak to.
Transparency. We value transparency as a form of relationship building and accountability. We will be as transparent as possible about our decisions, how we arrived at them, and conditions in which we made these decisions. It might take time to share information, especially if other community members need to be consulted or need to have a conversation, in which case we commit to communication about the time we need.
Carry the Repair Model forward. We are currently working to create a Repair Model that will serve to help guide us through conflict and harm in the future. We are being as intentional as possible and we also need to work with our space holders and teachers before this is employed in our shared learning space. We thank you for your patience as we continue this work, and offer below, some concepts as a place to start to understand and learn. In the future once developed, we commit to relying on our repair model to move through conflict and harm. Our model is not an exhaustive guide about how we will respond, rather, it is a baseline by which our entire community agreements to relate to each other when something happens.