Deepa Preeti Natarajan
in college i was an anthropologist, seeking out adventures to remote places meeting village healers and learning about the plants they used for traditional medicine. my work and my motivation took me to eritrea, in east africa, where i spent a summer, learning from village and herbal healers, known as "habesha," and also spending alot of time with the younger generation, who knew of many plants used by their parents and grandparents, but had no interest or support to pursue this as a profession with degrees, jobs in the cities and life abroad their number one priority.
in rajasthan i worked with "guni," the local word for village healer. i worked with jagran jan vikas samiti, based in udaipur, an ngo that not only supports guni, but also conserves traditional plants in botanical gardens, educates the public on the knowledge of these guni, and documents the location and various guni into a directory for people to use.
since 2006 i have worked for the university of california botanical garden at berkeley, as the public program coordinator, furthering my pursuit of ethnobotany and presenting a wide variety of courses and events in traditional medicine, natural dyes and fibers, paper making, soap making, cooking and many other uses of plants, and also coordinating the garden's first ever "green gala," a sustainable fashion show, i have started plantspeople as a place to explore the beauty and uses of plants and to inspire others to grow gardens.
i believe that gardens can be a source of all things we need, from foods to medicines, garments to shelters, beauty and inspiration and that the simple and profound pursuit of tending a small area of land is a noble career, whose salary is infinite, when we shift our perception of wealth toward health and happiness.
i live in berkeley, california where i love to garden.
i love connecting with anyone who shares a common love for plants. i hope you've enjoyed my website.
All photos, unless otherwise noted, copyright plantspeople/deepa preeti natarajan.
Photo Above by Aubrey Trinneman for Edition Local