What is Wild Farmacy

by Johanna O’Tigham

Dec 2014/Jan 2015

The name “WildFarmacy” refers to the use of both wild and cultivated plants in our local pharmacopeia, and to an intersection of the two ideas of “Wild” and “Farmed”.  We are here to help individuals navigate their healing journeys, and to help communities come together to create just and sustainable health care systems.  Each person can learn to connect with themselves, other people, the land, and local plants in order to grow and heal, and to share what they’ve learned with others within and outside of the community they dwell in.

We’d like to work with mainstream health professionals (and many others) to create infrastructure that supports our vision.  One of our favorite ideas is a Patch-Adams style clinic, farm, and school.  This project would offer a wide variety of sustainable heath care services to the local community, as well as producing food and medicine on-site, and offering a wide variety of educational opportunities for folks to learn about self-care and local plants.

Another vision we’d like to see is a local heath care system based on sustainable wildcrafting.  This means that we visit, tend, and harvest local stands of plants for our communities, and that we give more to the earth than we take.  These plants are then carefully stored or processed into preserved foods and remedies, and made accessible to all members of the local community via community apothecaries, as well as pharmacies, grocery stores, and so on.  The wise use of these foods and remedies, as well as more modern drugs, is studied by professionals and families alike.

One thing most of us can agree on is that access to effective health care should not be based on an individual’s ability to pay.

One of our foundational goals is to help folks realize that we don’t need to stick with what is already known as far as how we might work together for the benefit of each of us.  Using our creativity (after loosing ourselves from false doctrines of the status quo), we can create pathways to truly sustainable heath care systems.

Many of WildFarmacy’s ideas come from participants’ studies of whole-systems design, which includes permaculture.  The permaculture movement promotes a number of principles that can be used to design systems and programs that creatively address individual and community needs based on understanding how life forms and other elements relate to one another in nature.

We’d like to see these ideas take root all over our country, and the world.  It is possible to live without destroying other life, indeed, we can live in ways that help the earth and all its creatures thrive.  So we invite you to steal this idea, and to connect with us.  We offer our support for this work to be done everywhere, with love and compassion for all that is.

This document is a work in progress.  We welcome your input!


The following is an rough collection of definitions and ideas:

Let’s explore these concepts a little further:

What is sustainable health care?

The following definitions are general and included as references, feel free to quickly scan them, and please read below for further discussion on the use of these terms.

sustainable |səˈstānəbəl|  adjective

able to be maintained at a certain rate or level: sustainable fusion reactions.

• conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources: our fundamental commitment to sustainable development.

able to be upheld or defended: sustainable definitions of good educational practice.

We also use the adjectives “resiliency” and “regenerative” to describe sustainability more specifically.

Resilience is “the ability [of a system] to cope with change”.

“Organizational Resilience” is defined as “An organization’s capacity to anticipate disruptions, adapt to events, and create lasting value.”

The concept of resilience is rapidly advancing as a practical response to the needs of an organization, enterprise or government to effectively address the combined issues of security, preparedness, risk, and survivability. Resilience is an organization’s capacity to maintain its functions and structure in the face of internal or external change or threat.

To further clarify the definition, one can look to the conditions that speak to resilience as within the following set of statements:

a) Being resilient is a proactive and determined attitude to remain a thriving enterprise (country, region, organization or company) despite the anticipated and unanticipated challenges that will emerge; b) Resilience moves beyond a defensive security and protection posture and applies the entity’s inherent strength to withstand crisis and deflect attacks of any nature; c) Resilience is the empowerment of being aware of your situation, your risks, vulnerabilities and current capabilities to deal with them, and being able to make informed tactical and strategic decisions; and, d) Resilience is an objectively measurable competitive differentiator (i.e., more secure, increased stakeholder and shareholder value).

It is logical to expect that an organization that realizes the benefits of the above definition of resilience will have a high likelihood of maintaining a successful and thriving enterprise.

Regeneration is renewal through the internal processes of a body or system. Something which embodies this action can be described as regenerative.  Regenerative design is a process-oriented systems theory based approach to design. The term “regenerative” describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature. The basis is derived from systems ecology with a closed loop input–output model or a model in which the output is greater than or equal to the input with all outputs viable and all inputs accounted for. Regenerative design is the bio-mimicry of ecosystems that provide for all human systems to function as a closed viable ecological economics system for all industry. It parallels ecosystems in that organic (biotic) and synthetic (abiotic) material is not just metabolized but metamorphosed into new viable materials. Ecosystems and regeneratively designed systems are holistic frameworks that seek to create systems that are absolutely waste free. The model is meant to be applied to many different aspects of human habitation such as urban environments, buildings, economics, industry and social systems. Simply put, it is the design of ecosystems and human behavior, or culture that function as human habitats.

Whereas the highest aim of sustainable development is to satisfy fundamental human needstoday without compromising the possibility of future generations to satisfy theirs, the end-goal of regenerative design is to redevelop systems with absolute effectiveness, that allows for the co-evolution of the human species along with other thriving species.

Regenerative versus sustainable

Regenerative and sustainable are essentially the same thing except for one key point: in a sustainable system, lost ecological systems are not returned to existence. In a regenerative system, those lost systems can ultimately begin “regenerating” back into existence. Put more simply, regenerative systems create a better world than we (humans) found it, now and into the future.

healthcare |ˈhelTHˌke(ə)r| (also health care)  noun

the maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health, esp. through the provision of medical services: [ as modifier ] : healthcare workers.

According to the World Health Organization, a well-functioning health care system requires a robust financing mechanism; a well-trained and adequately-paid workforce; reliable information on which to base decisions and policies; and well maintained health facilities and logistics to deliver quality medicines and technologies.

Let’s take a look at health care systems:


Hospital, Clinic

Doctors, Nurses, EMT’s, etc

Support Staff




Electricity and gas

Equipment (labs and devices)

Family & friends

We also include mental and emotional well-being in our definition of “healthy”, and see the need for healthy ecosystems to support human health.  Health care then includes a wider variety of practitioners, and should also include overall community health, including economic vitality, or the ability to access what is needed.  We would also use a ‘happiness quotient’ as part of assessing the long-term regenerative ability of a community.

Let’s take health care a step further and include these elements as well:

Farmers and wild-crafters

Herbalists and other wellness practitioners (nutritionists and medicine makers)

Grocery stores and other shops

The land itself

Institutions – churches, schools, government

Practice & support groups

When a city or township plans for sustainability, they generally focus on preparing for major disasters, natural or otherwise.  The hospital needs back-up generators, supplies stocked, and so on.  The community needs to have folks trained to respond quickly, communications protocols set up, and Plans B and C in place.

We don’t feel the need to deconstruct much of what is already being done to be “resilient” in our communities.

However – what if we defined our preparedness by our ability to thrive?

Resiliency implies that we can bounce back from any impact on the system, and most communities will fall far short given any sort of large-scale disaster.  What about caring for the elderly and disabled?  And why wait until something terrible happens?  Let us also mention that mere survival is not enough to keep the positive aspects of civilization intact and evolving.

Most of us have few illusions about the impact of modern life on the state of the world.  Will we survive as a species, and will the earth survive as well?  But few of us have yet to realize that we hold the keys to the creation of a regenerative culture in our very hands.

While the WildFarmacy idea and permaculture concepts can certainly be taken as a call to action, they are without doubt a call to consciousness.  It does take time to change ourselves and our “group mind”; however, the means to a sustainable future are well within our grasp.  The first step is often to free one’s self from beliefs that it cannot be done, and then to start uncovering and cleansing the tender wounds that have been used to keep us from change.  Only then do we begin to see that the future is a new creation, and not simply an unconscious playing out of the past.  All it will take is conscious action.  At least initially, this action is often to do or need less, and to appreciate the world around us, especially what has brought us to this moment of awakening.  Then we begin to be nourished by the truth of what is all around us.

We know inherently that we belong to this beautiful earth, and that what we truly are or can be is more than we could ever hope for.  We are yet a young species, and our potential is greater than we can imagine.  Take up your birthright and THRIVE.


What do we need in order to THIRVE?

(see also ‘universal human needs’ as defined by Marshall Rosenthal and others)

as an individual:

clean water, air, etc

nourishing food

other people

meaningful work

some happiness

a good death

as a community:

means to grow food


systems for communication and governance

ability to evolve

as a planet:

all of the above


The WF think tank:

WildFarmacy is a container we have created to hold these questions, threads and concepts; to hold our vision and frame our work.

When we become disheartened, we feel the need to look for something we can appreciate.

Something we can appreciate – that is the basic quality of what we are creating.


The above document is a work in progress.  As with Wikipedia, we welcome your input!