In Jan of 2014, I posted an open heartfelt letter to Amy and Dana Huebner of Shire City Herbals, which you can read here.
This letter is not for them. This is an open letter is a letter of love, support and admiration for everyone that has been fighting the good fight to protect our herbal traditions and folk remedies.
Dear Fire Cider Freedom Fighters:
I am up late finally reviewing fire cider emails and messages. I am like many of you out there, working long hours as an independent herbalist and small business. I began organizing with 1000s of others last year against the trademarking of one of our beloved folk remedies developed by a beloved herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar.
I, like many or you, have been making Fire Cider and selling it for many years longer than any trademark. Last year I wrote a letter about how much it pained me to have to approach what I thought may have been a well intentioned company, Shire City, about this issue. My Fire Cider Page was taken down due to copyright? or something? infringment, I was told my Fire Cider on Etsy had to come down within 24 hours, and even an event World Fire Cider Making Day was taken down on facebook, after the owners of Shire City reported all of this. Since then I have watched the individuals that own this company and how they have responded to the herbal community. I have watched and found out what trolling means, and how Amy Huebner has gone from website to website and facebook page to facebook page trying to discredit the movement against their poor choice of names to trademark. I have seen letter after letter from Brian Huebner about trademark violations and how whomever needed to take down their product and rename it. I am not interested in arguing about any of their issues with them. I have seen enough of the arguments and accusations and its disappointing and sad. It is amazing that Amy has put so much time and effort into so many responses. I have read thru many correspondences that were sent to our email.
There has been a lot of what I would personally term "doublespeak" or cooptive terminology and arguments from Amy Huebner against "tradition not trademark". She has downplayed the movement many times and referred to it as if it is led and made up of the few herbalists on the site. I am one of the herbalists listed on the site. Though we do not list everyone's name, I am only one of thousands and I want to get that straight.
We, as a strong, united, movement of folk herbalists, have come together to support each other and try to figure out what the heck a trademark even means and how to take a stand against it effectively. We have unfortunately ended up in the legal system because it seems that is our only choice left for protecting our traditions. I, out of service to my community, worked to help create a hub for people to connect and organize. Right now, I check the fire cider email and see many messages and emails from small business after small business, herbalist after herbalist, who has been told they must honor a trademark and take their fire cider off the shelves. It is greatly disturbing and I want everyone affected to know how much I care and want you to be supported. A lot of the questions that come in, we are not always sure how to answer but we try to get back to everyone.
I feel like I have had enough correspondence with others to say that many of us are united and stand together under the Traditions not Trademark and Traditional Healing Alliance unifying statements. I am so greatly sorry that people have had their wonderful wares and livelihoods threatened. I am however so incredibly impressed and in love with how many people make Fire Cider and sell it and how brave so many people are being. I am so excited about the future of our herbal traditions. I am so honored to work with all of you and meet you, even just virtually. I have gotten to find out about a Radical Health Radio Show in New York, and connected with so many amazing people I never would have had this not happened. Herbalists are used to adapting, and this situation has made us stronger. The support has been overwhelmingly positive and thank you so much for staying in the fight...Its going to be a long one and I cant think of a community of people I would rather be in it with.
with admiration and herbal love from the darkest firey depths of of my spicey chili pepper heart
Nicole Telkes, Practicing Herbalist
Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine