Instructor Biographies

Emily Beck, PhD

Emily Beck, PhD, is an historian of medicine and rare book curator at the University of Minnesota. Her historical research focuses on manuscript (handwritten) medical recipe books produced primarily in Italy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This research considers the ways in which premodern Europeans understood their bodies and their healing capabilities, and the ways in which authority and power function in the theoretical medical marketplace.

As the assistant curator of the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, Emily works with a wide variety of researchers and students on projects ranging from the history of  herbal medicine to translations and negotiations in the cross-cultural development of anatomical epistemologies. Emily is passionate about the role of reconstructing historical materialities and practices in research. She has, for example, worked with local distillery Tattersall and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to recreate 18th-century alcohol in order to better understand the role of spirits in the Atlantic World.

A part of Emily’s scholarship also focuses on medical humanities and creating connections between academic libraries and healthcare providers. By engaging with the local herbalist community by both being an instructor and student (of Lise Wolf), Emily hopes to create opportunities for herbalists to engage with the history of plants and medicines.

betsy nelsonBetsy Nelson, Food Stylist / Herbalist / Chef

Hi!  I am Betsy Nelson – freelance food stylist, recipe developer, cooking teacher, Ayurvedic chef and certified herbalist.  Why do I wear so many hats?  I have always loved learning and exploring how our food relates to our health and well being.

​I have always been interested in food, especially plants that are the sources for nourishing our bodies, as well as our minds and spirits.  I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Psychology and Studio Arts, which may seem like an odd background for a food person, but I find the process of cooking to be very much a creative process and a great way to connect with others. I have continued my education studying Ayurveda and Western herbalism with a variety of local and national teachers, as well as completed/participated in a Wellness Coaching Program through the Mayo Clinic.   Teaching cooking classes to learn how to incorporate foods and herbs for supporting our health as well as foraging for wild edibles, is a passion of mine and I love to take people on walks in the woods to go out and see what nature has to offer!

headshot 3Erin Piorier, Registered Herbalist, AHG, CPM

Erin Piorier is a Traditional Western Herbalist who has been serving the Twin Cities community with plant-based medicine for fifteen years.   Erin is available for private consultation and provides her clients with handmade wildcrafted herbal products gathered from the fields and forest of the upper Midwest or grown in her organic garden.  She is committed to safe, collaborative, natural health care that treats the whole person.

Erin teaches extensively. She enjoys  both introducing beginners to the world of plant id and medicine making and digging into the big questions of herbal medicine and helping advanced students take their herbal work to the next level.  Erin is also a traditional midwife who offers homebirth services. She integrates her herbal practice into the care she provides childbearing women. She also offers classes and consultations focusing on health for women, babies, children and the whole family.

Erin is a mother of two children and lives with her family in St. Paul.  You can find her writing about plants on the web where she blogs about plants at and in the pages of the Plant Healer Magazine.

carolyn smithCarolyn Smith

Carolyn Smith is an herbalist based in St. Paul, MN. She began her career in herbal medicine in 2008 and established a client consultation practice in 2013 while augmenting her knowledge through an apprenticeship over several years with experienced herbalist ​Lise Wolff​ after completing Lise’s Three Seasons Herbal Intensive course in 2010. She has been actively teaching classes and workshops in herbal medicine topics in the Twin Cities area since 2017.  In 2013, she completed a 10-week intensive internship at ​HerbPharm​ on their organic farm in Williams, Oregon, cultivating medicinal plants and studying with a variety of herbalists, naturopaths, and herb farmers.  From 2012 to 2017 she worked in health foods retail (Mastel’s Health Foods, Whole Foods) specializing in herbal supplements.  In 2017, Carolyn worked as the full time intern for 6 months at ​Red Clover Herbal Apothecary​ in Amery, Wisconsin, studying with and assisting herbalist Nancy Graden in organic cultivation of medicinal plants and crafting small batch medicinal herb products.  In October 2019, she attended the annual national symposium for the ​American Herbalists Guild​, earning a certificate in clinical assessment skills, and began serving as Vice President for the local Twin Cities North Country Herbalists Guild​ in January 2020. Carolyn has also studied Flower Essences with Martin Bulgerin (of ​BioPsciences​ Institute), has taken intensive classes with herbalists ​Erin Piorier​, ​Matthew Wood​ and Kimberly Hart. Additionally, Carolyn studied ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, and traditional plant usage in Hawaii with Kathleen Harrison, Dennis McKenna, and Momi Subiono. In the spring of 2013, Carolyn earned her Masters of Liberal Studies through the University of Minnesota by designing her own degree that incorporated classes from the Center for Spirituality and Healing. Her masters work culminated in a thesis that focused on changing paradigms of body and healing metaphors through the lens of alternative medicine.  You can learn more on her website at ​


jane hawley stevens

Jane Hawley Stevens

2020 Organic Farmer of the Year, Jane Hawley Stevens is dedicated to connecting people to Nature for their health and the health of the planet.

Specializing in herbs since 1981, Jane developed her herbal wellness line, Four Elements Organic Herbals, based on herbs gown on her organic farm in the pristine Baraboo Bluffs of Wisconsin. Living her truth and experiencing wonders of the natural world inspires Jane to continue planting in the rhythm of planetary cycles and teach diverse classes on organics, herbs and living in Natures rhythm.


Kathleen Raven  Wildwood

Kathleen Raven Wildwood is a clinical herbalist and the founder and director of Wildwood Institute in Middleton, WI. Rooted in her passion for plants (especially local!), people and the Earth, Kathleen has studied and practiced in shamanic, scientific and Western herbal traditions for over 25 years. Her Herbal Apprenticeship Program, the only Clinical-level training program in Wisconsin, just celebrated its 15th anniversary. The former President of the Madison Herbal Institute, she has taught workshops at national herb conferences including the Southeast Wise Women Conference and United Plant Savers. In her local area, she has taught workshops at Meriter Hospital, UW Medical School, and Edgewood College. Kathleen focuses her teaching around the Four Directions of Information: Herbal Traditions, Science, Intuition and Personal Experience.

lise wolffLise Wolff, Registered Herbalist, AHG

Lise Wolff has studied herbalism for twenty-nine years, with herbalists from Susun Weed to Matthew Wood with whom she apprenticed in 1995.  She is a professional member of The American Herbalist Guild and received her MSc in Scotland.   An active practitioner, Lise supplies her apothecary primarily with herbs she gathers and prepares.  She maintains a private practice in South Minneapolis and is available for private consultations.  For the past eighteen years she has taught beginning and advanced herb classes in the Midwest based on actual case histories. Lise’s primary focus is on the most prolific plants available commonly called weeds, that insistently volunteer their nutrition and healing powers everywhere we walk.

In 2010 and 2011 Lise taught at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing as a part of the School of Nursing curriculum for the Doctor of Nursing Practice.  Fall 2010 Lise was appointed to the academic faculty of St. Katherine University. As adjunct professor, she teaches the Herbology course for the Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies.  Beyond herbalism, her other great loves include her husband and her son Nick.

Matthew WoodMatthew Wood

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist since 1982. In a period when many authors and lecturers are merely “arm chair herbalists” who offer theories and opinions based on book learning, and others have turned to the exotic traditions of India or China, he has been an active practitioner of traditional Western herbalism. He has helped tens of thousands of clients over the years, with many difficult health problems. While Matthew believes in the virtue of many other healing modalities, he has always been inspired to learn, preserve, and practice the tradition of herbal medicine descending to us from our European, Anglo-American, and Native American heritage. He is a member of the American Herbalists Guild (registered herbalist) and has earned his Masters of Science degree from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (accredited by the University of Wales).


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