Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Wood Nickerson.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a small town in Western Massachusetts. My most vivid childhood memories are of being outside and I remember always being intrigued by natural remedies, the body and healing. I was lucky to have several important mentors in my childhood, herbalists and healers, who I still consider among my teachers.
Later, while attending college at UC Berkeley, I began to formally study herbal medicine through a variety of classes and apprenticeships. During these years, while I was still receiving the tail end of my college education, I reconnected with the plant world of my childhood, enriching and deepening my love for the magic of the natural world. It didn’t take long for my passion for herbal medicine to meet my busy hands in the kitchen. I began to cook medicinally, using herbs and spices that were appropriate for the occasion, the season and the food. The powers of not just herbs and spices, but grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits, meats and all other ingredients began to appear to me. Through these experiences I gained a deep respect for the adage, food is our medicine.
Thyme Herbal was born in the spring of 2008 while I was living in Oakland California. For the first year, I mostly taught cooking classes with an herbal emphasis and did some private cooking for families in the Bay Area. A year later, I moved back to Western Massachusetts where I intensified my study of Ayurveda and Western Herbalism and began to study Chinese Medicine. My work with food as medicine culminated in the writing of a cookbook, Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen, which came out in June 2017.
Like any evolutionary process, my work and Thyme Herbal have grown with me and alongside the desires and needs of the community. Cooking classes naturally evolved into courses in home herbal medicine that included the food as medicine concepts alongside home herbal care. Over the years, students who wanted more inspired me to continue adding more and more courses to the program, which can now be up to three years long. I work with a variety of students who’s interested range from the use of herbs for self-care and home use to professional career goals. I am passionate about being an educator and this inspires me to write and create daily – I authored of several self-published books before Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen including The Herbal Homestead Journal, Sacred & Mysterious, and Cooking for Winter Health Wellness. I collaborate with artist, and dear friend, Chelsea Granger on a series of herbal inspired educational posters for the home (we informally call this The Everyday Living Series). And I continue to find myself evolving and the business along with that.
Over the years, I have worked with clients using herbs to help support physical, emotional and energetic healing. I continue to find myself adding new layers to this part of my work. The past few years, I have been studying astrology and I am beginning to read natal charts for students and community members. I look forward to seeing how this integrates itself into the herbal practice (or evolves into something entirely it’s own!). I’m always open to the unfolding process – it’s a big part of what keeps me loving this work year after year!
Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest challenge I have faced, and ultimately I see it as a gift rather than a challenge, is continuing to adapt the business to meet my needs and the needs of my community. I always assess my work from the perspective of, “how do I want to spend my time?” As a small business owner and someone doing healing work, I want to make sure that my work remains authentic and feels good and right in my heart, as my attitude and experiences radiate out and impact so much of the work I do. It is a gift to have the privilege to follow my own path and adapt the business to meet my needs, but it is also a challenge. So much of conventional wisdom teaches us that we should do what works in the capitalist model; what is making money, what is practical, etc. But I come to it from a more holistically minded place – if I don’t enjoy doing it and it isn’t serving me than it isn’t serving my community, the earth or my larger goals. It’s not about money or success, for me it’s about following my heart and as awesome and right as that feels it takes trust to stay true to that path.
Tell us a little bit about the current work you are doing with Thyme Herbal.
My daughter Ida was born in January 2017 and Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen hit the shelves in June. I went on a book tour with Ida and my husband, Casey – it was a very fun and busy year. This year my goal has been to travel less for work, to stay closer to home and take more time to go inward. It has helped me make time for my study of astrology and to be with my family, myself and at home. I have also made time to offer a new program called Ritual for Reconnection. This course is something I have been inspired to dive into for a few years now and carving out some space and time made creating the course possible. I am also in the process of creating a new online classroom and course booklet for The Art of Home Herbalism Online, my comprehensive online herbal apprenticeship program that I launched in 2014. Every summer Chelsea Granger and I collaborate on our annual Moon Calendar, this year’s calendar is titled You, Rose and the Moon. I feel grateful to have so many creative projects budding and blooming!
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
I have been very inspired over the years by the work of John O’Donohue and Lewis Mehl-Madrona, but this list is ever expanding! I also love the OnBeing podcast. I am an avid reader of the Sun magazine. I don’t always get through all the stories and poems, but I soak up the interviews like a sponge. I have been introduced to many great thinkers, ideas and work through those interviews and I am so grateful!
- Recipes from the Herbalist’s Kitchen $24.95
- The Herbal Homestead Journal $17.95
- Kitchen Medicine Poster $18.00
- Website: www.ThymeHerbal.com
- Phone: 413) 489 – 3326
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: /ThymeHerbal
- Facebook: /ThymeHerbal
- Twitter: @thymeherbal
- Other: Pinterest /ThymeHerbal
The Herbal Homestead Journal images (book closed and book opened to February pg.) should be credited to Heather Daneils Pusey of Opia Creative