Vision and Mission
We envision a world in which herbs return to a central role in the daily rhythms of home and community life. We believe that herbal medicine has the power not only to heal the individual, but also to address the broad dysfunctions in our culture that have at their root a deep disconnection from Nature. Even as individuals become more empowered and knowledgeable in self-care, we recognize the need for well-trained practitioners to address more complex health concerns and to help identify other useful therapies, both conventional and traditional. Ultimately, we seek to bring about a system of healthcare wherein primary care is Nature-based and practiced in the home; the tools of technological medicine serve as secondary resources; and the herbalist acts as a bridge between the two. This model ensures the individual’s central role, utilizes the simplest and least invasive treatments, and emphasizes the co-evolutionary and interdependent relationship between humans and our environment.
Based on this vision our mission is to:
- educate and empower individuals to use traditional remedies as viable options in caring for themselves and their families;
- emphasize partnership with a clinical herbalist or other practitioner as an important adjunct to self-care;
- provide high-quality education for aspiring family and clinical herbalists;
- offer financially accessible health consultations to the community, creating an opportunity for collaborative practice among experienced herbalists, as well as a forum for education of clinical students;
- integrate and collaborate with other modalities and advance the role of the herbalist as an integral part of an effective healthcare model;
- renew deep connection with nature, encouraging a culture of ecological awareness, respect and interrelationship.
Founded in 2007, VCIH is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization offering free and sliding-scale herbal consultations through our community clinics, as well as affordable classes that empower individuals to take care of themselves and their families, whenever appropriate. We also provide comprehensive herbalist training programs, which include clinical experience gained through collaborative practice in the community clinics. VCIH grew out of the Sage Mountain Free Herbal Clinic (a collaborative learning and practice experiment founded in 2001 and located for six years in Barre, Vermont) as well as the collective teaching and clinical experience of the founding directors.
We are located in the ‘Green Mountain Building’ overlooking the city of Montpelier, Vermont. As the state capital of Vermont, Montpelier offers great bookstores, a well-stocked library, arts and opportunities for political activism. It’s also home to the New England Culinary Institute.
Our space includes individual practitioner offices, a classroom with wireless access and digital projector, student lounge and research library, kitchenette, waiting room/office area and apothecary. Here we offer not only our comprehensive curriculum, but also community education classes open to the public. The VCIH community clinics are held in this space as well as other locations in Central Vermont, including City Market in Burlington. We also conduct sections of the first-year course and community classes at multiple gardens and a strawbale laboratory outside of town.
Central Vermont offers an incredible diversity of plant ecosystems including classic woodland medicinals such as goldenseal and ginseng. Recreation includes hiking, paddling, swimming, cycling, and all winter sports. Our curriculum takes advantage of the rich opportunities available in this beautiful area.