Susan Hess is a 1996 graduate of the prestigious Herbal Therapeutics School of Botanical Medicine‘s 2-year Herbal Practitioner’s Program in Washington, NJ. (Currently called David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies) She has also completed the school’s 1-year Graduate level practitioner program and studied extensively with director and ethnobotanist, David Winston AHG (Professional Member of the American Herbalist Guild)
Susan has used her skills and training in the natural food industry and as a sales associate for Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc. of Washington, NJ. Susan is qualified to consult with practitioners, retail stores and private individuals on the proper uses of medicinal herbal products. In 2000, Susan completed a clinical training at the Wellsprings Centre for Natural Healing in Fairfield, Connecticut with noted herbalists, Donald Yance, MH, CN, AHG (author of best-selling” Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer”) and Chanchal Cabrera, MINMH, AHG. She has also completed one year of apprentice studies with Jennifer Tucker, a well-known herbalist and author from Spring Mills, PA.
After hosting two successful 6-month series of weekends at her farm with Minnesota herbalist and author, Matthew Wood in 2001-2002, Susan continued to expand the schedule of highly acclaimed visiting teachers to include David Winston, Phyllis Light, Robin Rose Bennett and the late William LeSassier. Each teacher offers his or her own unique perspective on herbalism, inspiring each student to discover their own healing path into the world of wild and cultivated plants.
From 1997 until 2017, Susan was the proprietress of Farm at Coventry, located in Chester County, PA, spending twenty years handcrafting a fine collection of herbal products as well as educating and inspiring others to cultivate and wildcraft beneficial herbs.
Recently relocated to the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, in the Mays Landing area, Susan continues to teach her own informative 12 month foundation course entitled “Homestead Herbalism”, in both PA and NJ. She enjoys speaking to groups and schools locally on a wide range of herbal topics. She is pleased to be able to create an environment that serves to combine community, education and our native medicinal plants.
Susan thoroughly enjoys growing medicinal and culinary herbs in her teaching gardens, as well as wandering the wilds, discovering native beneficial plants and trees. She is fully committed to practicing growing and harvesting methods that protect and replenish the earth and the plants. In her spare time, Susan enjoys researching and studying various traditional healing modalities, stargazing, writing, photography, cheesemaking and playing with herbs on a daily basis.
About Farm at Coventry – Twenty years in Pennsylvania
Established in 1997 in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania, Farm at Coventry grew organically from a need to use the abundant harvest of Susan’s herb gardens to make beautiful, healthful products to share with family and friends. Those early simple herb crafts quickly grew into a product line of over 40 products and over a dozen wholesale accounts in the Tri-State area. But small scale manufacturing, limited supply and increased demand just didn’t seem sustainable to the land or family life. Simplifying the line and reducing the output to small batches allowed for seasonal fluctuations and increased creativity. Showing others how to grow and create simple herbal remedies for their own family needs proved to be both enjoyable and empowering.
Susan began teaching her first “Homestead Herbalism” foundation course in the Spring of 2002 meeting one day per month. It grew from a 7- month course, expanding to 9 months and finally to its current 12 month course format. The course curriculum weaves current informative herbal wisdom with interesting historical facts and folk traditions. Through the seasons, from planting through harvest, participants learn to create delicious, nutritional foods as well as therapeutic preparations using edible, medicinal and fragrance herbs that are both cultivated and wild crafted. In the not too distant past, keeping a family strong and healthy with simple home remedies was a common homesteading skill that every woman possessed. Identifying and using wild and cultivated plants was as important and necessary as preserving food or learning to stitch. The “Homestead Herbalism” foundations course was designed to gather small groups of people with the intent of re-introducing this empowering tradition by learning together, using our hands, and preparing and sharing the harvest. For those who wish to experience a taste of the course, the “Community Workshops” are individual classes that are offered around the area in PA and NJ.