“That you need a land, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. Your own land means that you’re not alone, that you know there’s something of you in the people and the plants and the soil, that even when you are not there it waits to welcome you.”

Cesare Pavese, The moon and the bonfire, 1950

Francesca Castagnetti Baù , ETHNOBOTANIST
Francesca Castagnetti Baù , ETHNOBOTANIST

For more than 10 years I have been researching and learning about contemporary and historical land-based and spiritual practices both as an ethnobotanist through standard ethnobotanical methodology and as a practitioner training through observation, intuitive and creative methods and apprenticing with herbalists and other knowledge holders, including medicine people, herders and farmers. I trained as an ethnobotanist at the Centre for Biocultural Diversity, University of Kent, and I am apprenticing as a herbalist at the Plant Medicine School, Ireland. My academic background is in Religious Studies (University of Edinburgh – MA(Hons) and Indigenous Studies (Arctic University of Tromsø – MPhil). My approach is rooted in participatory methods and storytelling and centred around what I call hieroecology, that is a field of inquiry that seeks to understand our land and home as sacred. I have researched plant knowledge, spiritual and land-based practices in Nepal, India, Norway, Madagascar, Italy, Bulgaria and the UK.