The People’s Medicine Project was started in 2013 by a group of herbalists, who shared the desire to address this disparity of access to wellness in the county. Our first step was to do what herbalists do best—we planted a garden. We filled a community garden plot with medicinal herb starts and seeds, and invited folks to come for free harvests and workshops. We provided nourishing teas and classes to many Greenfield organizations, including the Stone Soup Café, CCRT, the GCC Veteran’s Center, the Recover Project, and church groups. And in 2014, we opened the People’s Medicine Clinic.
The People’s Medicine Clinic is a collaboration with the Recover Project, and is housed in their back space, called the RPX. The clinic initially offered free health consultations from herbalists only. But we quickly realized the benefit of offering other alternative therapies to compliment our herbal work. We have slowly expanded to include a wide range of alternative therapies. Most of our clients partake in two or more of the clinic’s offerings.
In January 2018, through a grant from the Opioid Task Force, People's Medicine began a collaboration with Greenfield Community Acupuncture to ensure consistent acupuncture treatment for people in very early recovery. Although People's Medicine Clinic had been successful in supporting people who were firmly in their recovery, we simply could not provide the frequency and consistency of treatments to support someone coming off opiates in our weekly clinic. Our acupuncture access program means that former opioid users can access treatments 6 days/ week, any time of day.
Currently, People's Medicine Project is deepening our commitment to social justice work. We see healing as a community building process that includes addressing the systems of oppression that contribute to health inequity. Currently through education and resource sharing; and in the spring, through strategic planning, our organization will more fully align with that commitment. This is an ongoing learning process for all of us. We know that we will make mistakes along the way and we are open to hearing feedback and constructive criticism.