Community Herbalist Program 2024-2025


Have you been called by the plants into service? Are you amazed and transformed by the wisdom of the plants? Do you have a desire to share their teachings with others?

If the green path is calling you, then you are a student whom the Community Herbalist Program is designed for. Please note, students are required to have successfully completed the two core curriculum prerequisites, Roots of Herbalism and the Family Herbalist Program in order to participate in this class.

The Community Herbalist Program is a nine-month journey into the world of professional herbalism. We deeply explore the herbs in our Materia Medica, and the herbs in the wild around us through research, presentations, and plant walks. The curriculum includes rich, guided hands-on study, as well as group discussions and lectures, herb walks, clinics, written assignments, and ceremony. As a cohort, all students explore the multitude of possibilities along the herbalist’s path to gain comprehensive experience in areas including medicine-making, cultivation, education, client consultations, writing, research, and more – clarifying which path the plants are calling us towards, and giving space and personalized support to dig deeper into the aspects most important to each individual student. This course seeks to provide a well-rounded introduction to professional herbalism, with a rich collection of resources, an array of talented and inspiring guest teachers, and a diverse curriculum intended to situate students in their own healing, the needs of their community, and the calling of their personal herbalist path.

Beginning September 7-8, 2024; Graduation in May 2025

Our next nine-month program will begin with an in-person orientation in Orlando (Zoom participation is available for those unable to travel). Classes are then held weekly on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30pm through Zoom, with additional reading, audio & video assignments in between. Optional (and encouraged) in-person garden, foraging, and medicine making events take place periodically throughout the nine-month session in Orlando area. Students also attend clinical roundtable sessions during the second half of the program, and participate in the 2025 annual Florida Herbal Conference.

Scroll down to see more details on the course.



Traditional Herbal Medicine and Historical Context

Ethics of Community Health including understanding Power Dynamics and Mutual Aid

Social and Environmental Determinants of Health

Integration of Folk Traditions and Scientific Standards

Western Herbal Energetics

Medicine-Making Practicum

Native Plant Identification and Ethical Wildcrafting

Gardening for Herbalists

Clinical Protocol and Formulation

Finding your Voice as an Herbal Teacher

Discovering Your Plant Allies

Herbal Research and Library Guidance

Personal Wellness and Self-Care in Healing our Community

Spiritual Practices to Ground our Herbal Practice

Diagnostics and Assessment Skills

Legalities of Herbalism in Florida and the United States

Nutritional Healing

Contraindications and Herb-Drug-Supplement Interactions

Business Vision, Finance and Planning


Clinical Practicum

Teaching Practicum

Medicine Making

Garden Immersion

Case Conference Roundtables

Spiritual Disciplines

Group and Individual Studies

Written assignments

Guest lecturers

And more…

Completion of our Family Herbalist program or transfer of relevant education from other institutions is required for enrollment.

For more information or to register, please contact 407-595-3731 or

The Curriculum Includes:

  • Guided hands-on study
  • Group discussions and lectures
  • Guest lecturers
  • Access to resources for self-study and research
  • Herb walks
  • Exploration into the areas of medicine-making, cultivation, education, client consultations, writing, research, and more.
  • Participating in herbal consultations alongside professional herbalists
Our intensive nine-month course meets:

  • In person, Opening Weekend, September 7-8, 2024, in Orlando, FL
  • Weekly Tuesday Class Zoom meetings from 6:30-8:30 pm starting September 10th
  • Monthly Zoom meetings for Roots Roundtable — second Wednesday each Month from 7-8:30 pm October-April
  • Optional in-person meetings in Orlando throughout the nine-month program
  • Required attendance at Florida Herbal Conference – February 27-March 2 2025
  • Weeknight or weekend clinical sessions by Zoom – March through May 2025
  • Graduation weekend in Orlando (tenative May 24-25, 2025)

This course is not a clinical program but a pre-clinical program intended to give students exposure to a variety of professional paths and empower them with resources and experience to discern which niche is calling them forth and providing the tools to take those next steps. Students seeking to practice clinically after graduation continue forth into mentorship or additional clinical training to prepare them for that work.

Digital books, audio classes, video resources, and additional handouts are included with each module. Course tuition is $2,950 if paid in full, or $3,200 if paid in monthly installments.  A $200 deposit is required to reserve your space and is non-refundable and non-transferable. Space is intentionally limited, and these classes do fill up quickly. We encourage you to register early to hold your space. Completed course hours can be applied to professional recognition in the American Herbalist Guild.

Student with previous herbal education from other herbalists may submit an application for override of this requirement through transfer of other educational experience. Please contact our office for more information.

48 CEUs are available to Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Dietitians, Nurses & Midwives in the state of Florida through CE Broker for students who successfully complete the course through attendance and submission of assignments. To add CEU credits to your enrollment, click here. An additional $15 educational credit processing fee will apply.



Emily Ruff, Executive Director, is a community herbalist who has practiced the art and science of plant healing for over a decade. Her studies have taken her around three continents where she has studied under healers of many traditions. Her background in gardening and botany came in childhood while wandering the wilderness and digging in the sandy soils of Florida with her grandfather, a tobacco farmer turned urban gardener, and her father, a botany and astronomy professor. Her journey into herbalism continued through apprenticeships in Guatemala under the tutelage of local healers on the southern coast of Lake Atitlan, in the mountains of Vermont at the feet of Rosemary Gladstar, and in the Central Florida apothecary Leaves & Roots with herbalists Carolyn Whitford and George D’Arcy. Emily’s academic studies include Ethnobotany, Philosophy, and Women’s Studies at the University of Central Florida and Curanderismo with the University of New Mexico. She is a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner.

Emily’s dedication to preserving bioregional medicinal plant traditions and ecosystems led her to become active in the organization United Plant Savers. Inspired by a need for greater connection among her regional community, she founded the Florida Herbal Conference event in 2012, an event that continues to sell out annually. In past years, she served multiple terms as president of the Herb Society of Central Florida and as co-founder of Homegrown Local Food Cooperative. Most recently, in response to the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, Emily founded the Orlando Grief Care Project. From the community relationships cultivated through the national response to this tragedy, Emily formed the Herbal Action Network to continue weaving the web of compassionate herbalism into community engagement. Sharing her time between Florida and Vermont, she currently serves as director of the Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary.

Emily’s classes have been described as “heart-filled,” “enriching,” and “empowering,” creating a bridge between the teachings of our ancestors and the technologies of our modern world. Emily can be found in joy cooking, practicing yoga, writing, photographing flora, creating music with family and friends, and digging her fingers in the dirt. The plants continue to be her greatest teachers.

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