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Deb Soule

Deb Soule

Deb is an herbalist, gardener, teacher and author of Healing Herbs for WomenHow to Move Like a Gardener, and The Healing Garden. Raised in a small town in western Maine, Deb began organic gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs at age sixteen. As a young woman in her twenties and early thirties, Deb was blessed to be mentored by VT herbalist Adele Dawson and organic gardener Helen Nearing, and to have met and spent time with Lithuanian archaeologist and author Marija Gimbutas, who respected healing plants and encouraged Deb to follow her passion for helping others with herbs that are grown and gathered in a respectful and prayerful way. Deb’s faith in the healing qualities of plants includes a desire to make organic herbs easily accessible to women and families living in rural areas.

As Deb’s knowledge and faith in the efficacy of medicinal herbs grew, so did her desire to be of service to her community. In a small 8 by 10 foot room in her house, Deb began preparing various herbal remedies. In the fall of 1985, with her first mail order catalog and a small selection of herbal extracts and teas, Deb launched Avena Botanicals at the Common Ground Fair in Windsor, Maine. Five years earlier, while enrolled as a student at College of the Atlantic, Deb lived in Nepal close to three Tibetan monasteries. She was deeply influenced by the Tibetan peoples commitment to ease physical symptoms and mental and emotional upsets through plants, prayer and other spiritual practices.

Deb’s passion for plants, gardens and healing and her commitment to sharing herbal knowledge with others is central to her work. She frequently is a guest-lecturer at various conferences as well as an instructor for botany and horticulture students, garden clubs, and medical students. In 2005, People, Places and Plants magazine named Deb as one of the 50 most influential gardeners in the Northeast. More recently, she has been featured in Maine magazine, Down East magazine, Taproot, the Portland Press Herald, and a variety of other publications.

Deb’s life closely follows the yearly agricultural rhythm. From April through October, Deb spends most days with her hands in the earth tending three acres of medicinal plants using organic and Biodynamic® practices. During the spring and summer months, Deb teaches a variety of herb classes and offers bi-monthly herb walks in Avena Botanicals’ herb gardens. Throughout the year, Deb writes herb articles, develops herbal remedies, and consults with clients and health care providers. Deb is committed to her own ongoing learning about ecological, racial, and social justice issues as she seeks to highlight the need for wider accessibility to medicinal herbs and food.

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