WINOOSKI, Vt. (WCAX) At a time when our country is hurting, a Winooski woman is looking to the land for healing. Through her Made in Vermont medicinal items and peaceful practices, she's helping people deal with the pains of trauma by reconnecting them with the planet.
Living with the land, instead of over it, has been Candace Taylor's mission for years -- planting that idea into our hearts. "I just think living over the land is so awesome." Taylor said. "I care about that. I care about taking care of myself, about the earth, but also taking care of each other."
For 20 years, Taylor worked in higher education and nonprofits with a focus on social justice. But she started to pivot out of that career when she realized that trying to heal others from stress and emotional pain was causing her to become ill. "I don't even remember doing anything -- like drinking water throughout the day. There were years where I barely slept," Taylor said.
Through research and studying, she learned about herbalism and food systems. What became remedies for her, she now wanted to share with others. So, in 2013 Taylor started her business, Conscious Kitchen. Non-toxic, simple medicinals with ingredients rooted in her own Winooski backyard. "Everywhere in our backyard -- lots of wild plantain. They can be supportive if you have a burn or skin irritation," Taylor said. "The intention behind everything I make is to nourish, to uplift, to ground, to support trauma."
The medicinals she makes depends on what inspires her in her own life or what's happening in society. She's making a flower essence for us using chamomile. "The Earth gives us just so much beautiful medicine on its own. How do I just let them be and receive from them and learn from them," Taylor said.
She offers a mentoring program called Recalling our Landcestors, and thanks to our new virtual reality, she says it's not just available for the Black, Indigenous and people of color in Vermont, but across the world.
"We might not want to reconnect to the Earth because of the ways our ancestors have been used as tools to steal from the Earth. So, I work with folks to just reconnect and just start to love being in the dirt again and seeing something that's not oppressive, but uplifting," Taylor said.
She sells the medicinals through her website. Her eventual goal is to take all that she does, including yoga instruction, and create a wellness center connected to Winooski. "These are roses from my rose bush -- chamomile, yarrow that grew here as well as some Calendula -- and I'm infusing that into a message oil that I'm going to be offering in my shop really soon," Taylor said. "I want to not have to do this work. I would love it if I didn't have to do this work, because that would mean that we're all actively prioritizing aligning with our whole self and trying to heal from generations of wounds that have gone on too long."
Declaring decolonization and embracing the Earth. Conscious Kitchen, giving us a sense of awareness.