Exploring the importance of traditional medicine through local partnerships

The people of coastal Talamanca possess a deep reserve of traditional forest and coastal knowledge, and biocultural practices that demonstrate a profound understanding of, respect for, and reliance upon their natural environment.

The Rich Coast Project and a small group of stakeholders began discussing methods to address a lack of documentation of the historic practices of the Afro-Caribbean communities living in the coastal lowlands of Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast. The aim of this collaboration is to work in solidarity with local leaders and related groups to document the local use of natural resources for health and wellness and prepare community-legible resources to educate stakeholders on relevant health-related rights.

From October 7-13, 2015, the Hidden Garden organized a Latino Herbal Medicine Workshop Series for Advanced Herbalists. Two days of this course were focused specifically on the Caribbean region of Costa Rica, including important sessions on local Afro-Caribbean wellness traditions and a tour of local businesses who are acting as knowledge carriers of customary healing practices. The Rich Coast Project joined the Hidden Garden for to conduct focused interviews and document the plants and Caribbean wellness traditions featured by local knowledge holders.

As Rafael Ocampo tells us, 

"the problem with humans now is a lack of observation of nature."