Herbman Medicinal Healing Garden
Artist Reina Kubota was chosen to create public art that incorporates designs by landscape architect Eki Dansuka, Earthscape Japan, to create a medicinal herbal healing community garden at an abandoned psychiatric hospital site located in the Flatbush/ Wingate section of Brooklyn.
The healing garden proposed site is located near Kings County Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital, an adjacent Men’s Shelter, and affordable housing project. The existing five-acre site will be shared with future affordable housing units to supplement the medicinal healing garden.
The concept of the medicinal herbal healing garden, was created in Tokyo, Japan, by a team of public minded landscape architects, Earthscape Llc, to raise public consciousness regarding the value of the healing powers of natural organic herbal medicine, traditionally used by various cultures throughout the world.
Located at the north to the Flatbush neighborhood, the project will be immensely visible and intensely symbolic. ProBono Design Inc (a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission to create public open space for communities in need and local activists working with Community Board 9, Brooklyn, and local elected officials over the years have championed the project, obtaining the necessary approvals and publicizing the project widely. As a result, we have earned the unanimous support of Community Board 9, and have been granted the approval to do the work on the site by the NYS Department of Mental Hygiene and other City Agencies that are planning to construct affordable housing on the site with capital funds currently ear-marked for development.
Suggested Donation of $25 – volunteer
Suggested Donation of $50 – membership
Suggested Donation of $100 – membership & t-shirt
Suggested Donation of $250 – membership, t-shirt & name on donor plaque
Purchase seeds, plant material, topsoil and mulch; commence planting of garden, maintain garden, provide access to herbal medicinal plants to the local community.
why we’re doing it
The Medical Herbman Project is a global social enterprise established by the Japanese landscape design studio Earthscape. Last month Reina Kubota met with Mr. Danzuka the representative of Earthscape in Tokyo. While there, she received detailed information about the project. At the well-attended community meeting held at Downstate Medical Center Auditorium projected images were presented to help the community better understand the Herbman project.
One was of the Herbman — a human-shaped herbal garden. It was drawn by Mr. Danzuka and is based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man.” In the drawing, various herbs are planted on Herbman’s body according to their effects on that specific part.
For example, Lemon balm is planted around the stomach, because this herb improves digestion. Another example is the dandelion, planted around the head because its root is a valuable aid to sleeping. The human-shaped garden acts as an herbal map. By looking at the garden, people can learn which herbs work for the trouble spots of their body.
The Medical Herbman Cafe Project has been successfully installed eight times in Japan as well as in Thailand, Nepal and Pakistan. The Herbman Project has also been featured all over the world in several magazines.
One of the most successful installations of Herbman is in the Niigata prefecture in Japan. This herbal garden was created as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial festival. In Saiki/Oita, the herbal garden is in a residential area and because of the area’s size the garden is smaller. Herbman gardens should be site-specific so that the local people can gather together to share the space and information.
In Shibuya, the garden is in the most crowded area in Tokyo. Here, due to minimal space the herbal gardens were displayed as miniatures in a laboratory. It is similar to a farmers’ market in New York City. Although the Herbman gardens displayed on the tables are tiny, visitors were still able to get an idea of how the herbal gardens work.
In the Herbman installation within the Watarium museum was a workshop for kids using potted plants. It demonstrated that the Herbman garden works indoors as well as outdoors. It also is an option for places with poor soil such as New York City vacant lots. It is hard to grow certain herbs, and herbs from contaminated soils would allow those chemicals into your body. Without potting herbs, edible plants should only be grown in community gardens that have clean soil.
In the images shown you can see the various Herbman garden projects that were completed throughout Japan. As you can see the herbal garden projects bring together the community and young aspiring planters.
Through the Herbman project, we can install a Herbman Café nearby so that the community can enjoy workshops and events to learn more about herbs. In addition, the spaces can be used to raise funds from the sale of herb products such as potted herbs, teas, cookies, T-shirts and so on. These funds would be used to further expand the Herbman Gardens to other areas. The Medical Herbman Cafe Project helps us to better ourselves physically and mentally. At the same time it develops a necessary harmony between the Herbman team, and the local community. Projects like this, wherein the WHOLE community backs a project as uplifting and transformative, have the power to bring people together, people who may not normally have a chance to get to know one another.