We had the good fortune of connecting with Shana Lipner Grover and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shana, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
From the time I began my studies in plant medicine, health and nutrition, I knew it was the right path for me. As my studies intensified, I realized how inspired and empowered my fellow students and I were and how people immediately had questions whenever I mentioned what I was studying. This quickly led to facing my fears of public speaking and offering classes. As many people have realized, facing your fears is one of the best ways to grow and empower yourself. Now public speaking is my life and lively-hood, empowering people to be personally responsible for their health. I attempted to start an herb school years before I actually did but it was not the right time and I didn’t have any idea of my focus. I taught regularly at Healing Hands School of HolisticHealth and that allowed me to develop my specialized curriculum over time that I would use to launch my own school and business, Sage Country Herbs. Southern California has a ripe community of herbalists and people interested in all things plants, from gardening to medicine making. I realized early on in my teaching to this community that one perspective missing was a field class, where students were in the field regularly to see the changes, study the ecology, botany and native uses of local plants. After the development of Sage Country Herbs Botanical Field Apprenticeship, the feedback and engagement from students was overwhelming and I as a teacher had never felt so full of gratitude and appreciation. Some people say to seek your passion in your work, while others say to find a good-paying job and save your passions for your hobbies. I have found the greatest career without even looking for it by following my heart. I advise every person to move in the direction of what your passionate about because you never know the doors that will open at your feet when they are on your path. A life of passion is much better lived than a life of safety and security in a job you don’t like.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The beauty of the plant medicine world is that there is no one right way to practice because every culture around the world has some relationship with plants and some indigenous history of medicinal use. Due to this variety, we have no specific governing body or “right” way to do things. We have a lot of history, of written and oral traditions, using plant medicine. This also leads to no herbal school being the same as another because there are so many different perspectives. Gardening, medicine making, field botany/identification/ecology, clinician, teaching; and then all the organizing around plants, farms, community gardens, classes, volunteering, restoration, etc. After teaching herbal medicine and nutrition for Healing Hands for many years, I was able to fine-tune what Sage Country Herb’s focal point was going to be, seeing the niche that a field program would fill. Was it easy? No. I attempted to start an herb school in another community years ago (before social media) but didn’t have a focus or any idea how to market. Teaching for a holistic health school gave me time to sculpt my message, what I thought was valuable. Even teaching at Healing Hands was initially isolating because I was used to being in a community of herbalists and now I was teaching at a massage school with no other herbalists. But it allowed me to contribute to creating a community by providing a resource in herbal medicine and nutrition education. Some of my favorite lessons learned have to do with the inter-weaving of communities and how we can work together and still be autonomous individuals. The herbal community generally supports each other and associated communities like farmers, community gardens, garden clubs, esoteric arts, health and well being and so much more. I love the metaphor of the woven tapestry, with each of us being a string and we create relationships that is the weaving, and that is life, we are all interconnected in one way or another. The focus of our brand is inspiring and empowering people to be personally responsible for their health. To recognize that every decision we make contributes to our vitality of life. It’s not about achieving some type of perfection, health is directly affected by our daily choices. This is why we were inspired to create the online learning platform at sagecountryherbs.com. With online learning, there are no limits of space. Our goal is to inspire anybody interested in their role in the health of our planet. Education is the key, learning about how your body works, how to listen to your body and how to make decisions that are in your highest good for yourself, your family and community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There’s so much in San Diego, I often plan around what’s going on seasonally, and what’s fun to explore outside. Hiking at Palomar mountain or heading to the Anza Borrego Desert during spring is amazingly beautiful! I love the beaches of Oceanside down the coast to Del Mar, especially Encinitas and Solana Beach for walking, eating and seeing shows at the Belly Up! I love going to a wide range of farmer’s markets, local farms, and wineries. It’s really overwhelming the number of exciting things going on in San Diego, it can be hard to choose, so I often give my visitors some options. The Wild Animal Park, The San Diego Zoo, San Diego Botanical Garden or just walking around Balboa Park! There’s also lots of amazing talent in San Diego county. We’ve been to plays put on by local artists, and there are many playhouses with amazing talent! I also love taking friends who need to relax on their vacation to Zen Sanctuary on Adams avenue for a massage! The farm to table focused restaurants in San Diego are outrageous, creative, and delicious! I love knowing I’m supporting a community of local farms, artisanal growers and lovers of San Diego fresh cuisine!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
What a great question! Where to start? Both my parents, in very different ways inspired my path. My good friend Andrea Morris unknowingly steered me towards herbal medicine. Many other friends who believed in me from the start, allowed me to experiment on them to learn more about the energetics of plant medicine. This helped educate me as to why some remedies work with one person and not with another while they are showing similar symptoms. Some early teachers that taught me writing and critical thought and would not accept anything without multiple revisions, Stan Taylor and Jeff Harrison. Then my alma mater, Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies and Michael Moore and Donna Chesner of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine played major roles in my foundational understanding of the natural world and its interaction with our physiology. After my inspiration in studies, the support came from my friends, Paula and Neha Curtiss at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health who gave me a chance to write and teach a successful Herbal Medicine and Holistic Nutrition program in southern California for the last 15 years. Then we formed the Southern California Herbal Community with Julie James of Green Wisdom Herbal Studies, Rebecca Altman of Wonder Botanica, Cindy Christ of Following Seasons Botanicals and many other dedicated and passionate herbalists, makers, and teachers. This was inspired by Elise and Jeff Higley of Oshala Farm and their dedication to educating the herbal world and producing the TerraVita Herbal Symposium, our local herbal conference. It’s easy to be inspired in the herbal world, so many great teachers, honoring the earth and its inhabitants; teaching respect and connection of all things. The greatest inspiration comes from nature, the plants, and the seekers of knowledge and critical thought. To see the light bulb of inspiration in their eyes and you know they are making a connection!
Other: https://www.sagecountryherbs.com/student-dashboard/ https://www.sagecountryherbs.com/events/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/2864805003638650/?source_id=576212229134249 EPK http://shanagrover.com/