Herbstalk was founded in 2011 by wife-and-husband team, Steph Zabel and Henry Kesner. With their shared love of plants, they originally met while working in a botanical research collection. When Steph first asked Henry to help her create a community herbal event, Henry not only enthusiastically agreed, he also immediately came up with the name "Herbstalk"! Together with their dear friend Catherine Iagnemma and their wonderful volunteer team, they are the creative force behind Herbstalk.
Each year the team devotes hundreds of hours to planning and organizing Herbstalk events and expanding upon the larger vision of offering accessible herbal education. We are truly passionate about connecting people with plants and creating ways for herbal knowledge and skills to be shared with a wider audience.
Steph Zabel: Founder, Event Organizer & Community Coordinator
Steph has loved plants since she was a young girl growing up in South Carolina. Her botanical inclinations led her to undergraduate studies in plant science, botany, and horticulture; she also holds a master's degree in ethnobotany. Upon moving to Boston, Steph continued her herbalism studies with various teachers while working in the botanical collections of the Harvard University Herbaria (where she first crossed paths with Henry). For over a decade she has combined her passions for botanical medicine, community outreach, and education. Through her business Flowerfolk she offers practical herbal classes and dynamic wellness sessions for her clients. As Herbstalk's founder, she coordinates all the behind-the-scenes logistics for the event, including class scheduling, marketing, design, and anything else that needs doing! She also leads Herbstalk's outreach programs through the Community Gardens Project.
Henry Kesner: Co-Founder, Volunteer Coordinator & Chief of Practicality
Henry was born on a mountain top in Tennessee. Since an early age, Henry has loved exploring and studying the natural world. A huge fan of children’s literature, Henry is deeply inspired by the classic work of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, and has always sought out ways to serve as a voice for plants. For Henry, Herbstalk embodies this vision as a perfect way to educate a wide audience about the power, use, and wonder of the plants that surround us on a daily basis. In addition to his love of the botanical world, Henry brings his event, project and operations management skills to the Herbstalk team. In addition to being the Co-Founder of the event, Henry is also the Volunteer Coordinator and Chief of Practicality, ensuring that Herbstalk will run smoothly for years to come. He is honored to be part of this team and looks forward to sharing Herbstalk with the world!
Catherine Iagnemma: Assistant Organizer & Right Hand Woman
Catherine has been active in the holistic health field for 15+ years as a wide-eyed student and practitioner of energy medicine (flower essences, Reiki, gemstones), ancestral nutrition and herbalism. Catherine is also a voice-over artist who uses her voice to empower people, foster healing, and promote conscious companies and causes. She enjoys biking around the city, frequenting farmers' markets, devouring Scandinavian crime novels and frolicking with her felines. As an integral part of the Herbstalk team, Catherine lends her organizational skills and enthusiasm assisting with administrative tasks, vendor & teacher selection, marketing, and most importantly, working with our food vendors to make sure everyone is well-fed and happy at the event!
Andy Pyman: Web Developer & Tech Genius
After moving to the Boston area 10 years ago from Burlington, VT, Andy set up shop as the local go-to guy for all things web. Launching the world of Truly Good with his first client (a yoga teacher and nutritionist) in 2009, he quickly found that surrounding himself with healers, hopers, and lovers was good for both soul and business. Some of his most fulfilling work has included helping to launch "Shift Your Shopping," a local holiday shopping campaign, and serving as Board President at Somerville Local First. Andy joined the team as lead web developer shortly after the first annual event, and has been essential to Herbstalk's continued growth and online presence. Andy lives in Union Square with his 2 children and enjoys traversing the many nooks and crannies of the urban playground, whether jogging, skating, biking or just plain walking.
Todd Danforth: Photographer
Todd Danforth is a Boston based documentary and portrait photographer. He grew up along the West River in the heart of the Blackstone River Valley in Massachusetts and received a BFA in Photography from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. He was selected to participate in the 2013 New York Portfolio Review juried by The New York Times and hosted at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. His work has been published internationally as well as exhibited across the United States. Todd is a contributor on The Stand and is represented by 555 Gallery in Boston. He is available for editorial, weddings, commercial, and fine art work.
Contributing Blog Writers
Michael Blackmore is Herbstalk's Blog Coordinator and makes sure that our posts are timely and organized. He is also an herbalist, educator and writer in Jamaica Plain, MA. He enjoys exploring how to listen to the wisdom that nature shares with us when we pause and connect. He publishes a blog, Mad Crow Herbalism, which reminds people to approach herbalism in the spirit of play! In addition to the world of plants, he’s a dedicated yoga practitioner who continually surprises himself, and his teacher, when he actually gets a pose right. He’s been known to indulge in his somewhat guilty pleasures of Bollywood movies & bad sci-fi and horror movies, as well as singing and dancing in the kitchen while cooking. He maintains a day job which serves as his secret identity when not practicing herbalism and yoga.
Jennifer Hauf, grower and owner of Muddy River Herbals, is a farmer and writer living in Boston. As part of our Herbstalk garden team, she also ensures that pockets of herbs thrive around the city. A transplant from the rustbelt of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she grew up in love with the life around her, especially as seen in her father’s and grandparents’ gardens. She began using herbal medicine a decade ago, and has been tending to herbs on farms and gardens since 2006. When not elbow-deep in the dirt she writes about urban ecology at her blog, Spokes and Petals, spins wool and bicycle tires, and occasionally hammers out a tune on her banjo. She is available for gardening consultations, workshops, and freelance work.
Patrice Green is an herbal educator, certified aromatherapist and flower essence practitioner. She is also the Assistant Director at the Boston School of Herbal Studies, where she received her herbal training. In 2010 Patrice began a mentorship practice with master healer Catherine Miller, who introduced her to energy work and shamanic work as well as Depth Hypnosis, a healing modality developed by Dr. Isa Gucciardi. Patrice studied energy medicine and trained in shamanic practice with Dr Isa Gucciardi at the Foundation of the Sacred Stream in Berkeley, Ca and continues to deepen her practice with Catherine. Time spent among the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods inspired her to found Green Aromatics, a holistic practice offering many modalities of healing. Patrice strives to infuse her work with the same resilience, joy and equanimity of these majestic beings. You may reach her through the Green Aromatics website, www.greenaromatics.com.
Melanie Brown is a native New Englander who always had a connection to nature and the outdoors. Together with her four year old son she gathers the ingredients to make small batch plant based body care products which you can find at her herbal apothecary, FIR&ELM. She is a graduate of Boston School of Herbal Studies and currently attending The Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education in Vermont. Her passion is to share and spread the message of community herbalism that lies right outside in our own backyards.
Feline Support Team
We can count on our Feline Support Team being there for us 24/7. As a constant source of inspiration, curiosity and hilarity they keep us going strong during the many behind-the-scenes hours we spend working on Herbstalk.