Brandon Ruiz is a Community Herbalist and Urban Farmer living in Charlotte, NC. He founded the CLT Herbal Accessibility Project in early 2018, a project aimed to provide equal and affordable access to herbal medicine and culturally-appropriate foods to communities around Charlotte. He is passionate about sharing and preserving culture through plants, and works to build the diaspora's relationship to their food and culture, directly through farming and herbal medicine. Brandon has studied traditional herbal medicine from the tropics and Appalachia, and showcases his work through his company Atabey Choreto Medicinals, which blends these two influences to create culturally diverse products.
2019 FELLOW PROJECT
HERBAL MEDICINE, COMMUNITY GARDENS
Creating affordable access to herbal medicine and food security is important to a healthy community. Brandon Ruiz will be collaborating with neighbors and the CLT LoCI fellows to install garden spaces in the Lakeview and Northwest corridor communities of Charlotte. Growing culturally-significant crops according to the community members in the area will be at the core of each site. The gardens will be a collective space to learn about urban farming, herbal medicine, food cultivation, cooking skills and ourselves. Community members will develop the skills through hands-on experience and workshops of how to create a garden space; how to cook traditional recipes with the produce; how to provide food and medicine for themselves and their community and how to reconnect with their roots through plants and the process of cultivation. Community members will also be involved in seed saving and medicine making, two other ways that they will work to document and preserve our personal heritages.