In my blood is the love of nature, and of traveling. Herbalism is an inherited gift from my maternal granny, Luiza Maria Antao, who was a native village herbalist in Goa, India who later migrated to Kenya in the British colonial era. My paternal grandfather, Andrej Lazorcak, came from Slovakia to Pittsburgh's South Side. There he worked in wrought iron mills and cultivated an urban garden to feed the family.
My parents settled in the United States after years of international relief work when I was two. They continue to teach me about the importance of social justice, community, the wisdom of nature, and preserving the wild. My birthplace is Chennai, India, and I was raised in East Hardwick, Vermont.
Coming from an international bent, what I do incorporates awareness and action, impact and responsibility inherent in being a global citizen. I have been very fortunate to spend time with traditional healers from many cultures. I have worked on projects involving traditional and ancestral medicine, disaster relief through herbalism, food as medicine, art and grassroots activism in India, Haiti, Palestine, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and different parts of the USA, primarily in the Northeast.
While a student at Hampshire College in the 1990's I was part of the vibrant community gardening movement in New York City and Holyoke, Massachusetts.
For the last decade I have been a food justice educator with the Good Food, Good Medicine Program, co-facilitating gardening, backyard herbalism, affordable nutrition, food as medicine, seasonal cooking, and community organizing at affordable housing complexes in Barre, Vermont.
A central exploration in my work is how marginalized communities facing systematic oppression build resilience through locally based food and medicine systems.
Currently much of my energy is focused on caregiving our elder parents, returning the hard work and care they gave us for many years.