One is a folk herbalist, one is an animal specialist, one is a home cook extraordinaire. This may sound like the opening to a wellness sitcom, but for Ashley Moore, Lauren Malloy and Emma Moore, this is their life — and dream partnership. Their business, Women’s Heritage, leads workshops that teach women how to homestead according to the three women’s skill set. Their variety of interests and expertise is united by a common passion: “to bring women together to resurrect the arts and the crafts from decades past, while encouraging a feeling of sisterhood.” Um, sign us up?
Between workshops and a new retail endeavor launching later this month, the ladies of Women’s Heritage are dedicated to getting back to the basics in the most beautiful, hands-on way — and inspiring modern women to follow suit. We asked the women to give us a glimpse into the magic behind their mission and Ashley Moore, the herbalist of the three talked to us a bit about it here…
Q: Where do you think the recent surge in homesteading interest comes from? From chicken coops in Brooklyn to medicinal herb gardens in Beverly Hills, we’re seeing it everywhere.
A: I think it is a little bit of a push-back, another movement born out of living with extreme commercial conveniences for so long. It seems like this surge in homesteading interest is a version of agrarianism or the back-to-the-land movement, but in this case many of us incorporate just the elements that work for our lives, without having to dive in all the way unless we want to.
Q: So now the modern woman can milk a cow, make her own herbal tinctures, but still be a savvy digital player — she’s an app user, a digital shopper and maybe dabbles in writing code. Do you want to talk to us about the juxtaposition of all this?
A: That is the beauty of learning these skills! You don’t have to completely change your life to bring some elements of the homestead home. You can work an office job all week and bake a rhubarb pie with the kids on Saturday. You can stock your pantry with homemade herbal remedies while keeping an eye on the stock market. You can even keep a few backyard chickens in some urban settings. All of these things are empowering and fun, and you don’t have to quit your day job to enjoy them.
Q: Did you grow up with a knowledge of these things? Or did you acquire the skills later in life?
A: I didn’t grow up in a rural setting, or with a knowledge of home cooking or animal husbandry. But what I did grow up with was a dad who was a doctor by trade and also loved to garden. I admired his passion for healing the sick and injured. I loved running down to the garden with him first thing in the morning, where he would fill my little hands with strawberries or sapotes. I think my passion for plant medicine must have come from these early experiences with my dad, who continues to inspire and challenge me.
Q: It’s a wonderful feeling to be self sufficient in some of these areas. How much does that motivate the team?
A: I love the feeling of doing something from start to finish on my own, or better yet, with my children or friends. It is really empowering creating something completely by hand, learning how it works. I want to have these skills to pass down to my own children.
Q: What is the vision for the storefront in Carpinteria?
A: What we hope to accomplish with Heritage Goods & Supply is to provide a community space where friends can meet and get inspired to try something new, maybe even take a class together. We will have plenty of supplies to get started (or keep going) with things like backyard chickens, fermenting, carving and whittling, gardening and making your own herbal remedies. Lauren, Emma and I have found so much joy and fortitude in the new skills we have been learning, and we hope others will find inspiration in the store to bring new experiences and fun into their lives.
Q: What’s the biggest payoff to learning some of these more “primal” skills emotionally?
A: I think it comes down to connection: Connection to what we are making, eating, putting on our skin or in our bodies, or otherwise using; connection to the earth and, the big one, connection to one another. Friendship is at the heart of all of our workshops and the store as well. When we get together to learn something new, working and sharing with one another, it is impossible not to have fun. Emotionally it is food for the soul, but it also ignites a confidence in our own abilities and sparks a passion to keep learning and growing. We are individuals, but we are all interconnected.
Q: How long have you been doing the workshops and which has been a favorite?
A: We have been doing the workshops for about a year and a half now. I’ll narrow it down to three: Sourdough Bread, Let the Sparks Fly (welding) and Foraging with Children.
Q: Which workshops are coming up next?
A: Coming up we have Trail Riding and Wine Tasting, Peyote Stitch Beading and Natural Beauty, and the first class we are offering at the store is a class on making your own sandals!
Women uniting around learning, being empowered to co-create, find a new passion, create a healthier, simpler, more joyful and meaningful home, while nourishing, growing, planting, welding, foraging: I love all of this. It sounds like returning to living to me. Restoring sanity; cause and effect, hands on and hearts in it together. I am losing my tolerance for techno-connections, after a year of travel. It is so good to get my hands in the earth, planting herbs now, watering fruit trees, eating navel oranges that fall each morning. Hugging, listening, baking, sharing in person is so important. This is so beautiful. Thank you for doing this crucial healing work bringing women together inside and out!