"Our mission is to create the highest quality herbal products while nurturing plants, people, and pollinators. We make our products using fresh, organic & biodynamic herbs. These vital plants along with a sacred connection to place promote wellness of the body, mind, and spirit and encourage humans to be mindful and loving
stewards of the Earth."
-Deb Soule, Founder & Herbalist
Avena Botanicals' staff is a collaborative team based in Midcoast Maine. Some of us were born and raised in Maine and others moved here because of the beauty and quiet. We are herbalists, gardeners, healers, professional artists, writers, teachers, parents, hikers, meditators, yoga practitioners, bee-keepers, local food enthusiasts, and more.
Our skills are unique, and finely-tuned. We create high quality, hand-crafted herbal products that serve people's health, spirit, and well-being. Over 70% of the herbs we use are grown in our certified biodynamic gardens. Our extracts, teas, oils, salves, elixirs, and cremes are available throughout North America.
We believe that handmade herbal products, well-tended herb gardens, and biodynamic practices promote health, spiritual awareness, and wholeness for individuals and communities and for our Planet Earth.
Deb is an herbalist, gardener, teacher and author of The Woman's Handbook of Healing Herbs and How to Move Like a Gardener. Raised in a small town in western Maine, Deb began organic gardening and studying the therapeutic uses of herbs at age sixteen. As a young woman in her twenties and early thirties, Deb was blessed to be mentored by VT herbalist Adele Dawson and organic gardener Helen Nearing, and to have met and spent time with Lithuanian archaeologist and author Marija Gimbutas, who respected healing plants and encouraged Deb to follow her passion for helping others with herbs that are grown and gathered in a respectful and prayerful way. Deb's faith in the beneficial qualities of plants includes a desire to make organic herbs easily accessible to women and families living in rural areas.
Deb's passion for plants, gardens and wellness and her commitment to sharing herbal knowledge with others is central to her work. She frequently is a guest-lecturer at various conferences as well as an instructor for botany and horticulture students, garden clubs, and medical students. In 2005, People, Places and Plants magazine named Deb as one of the 50 most influential gardeners in the Northeast.Read More
Bob has enjoyed being part of the Avena team since the spring of 2007. In earlier roles, he worked in shipping, tea making, and oil & tincture creation. Currently, he tends to our facilities needs and helps with groundskeeping. Bob is an avid honey beekeeper, caring for Avena's bees as well as his own.
Brittany joined us as a gardener in 2018 and has stayed on with us ever since. She helps maintain and harvest herbs from our herb gardens, and contributes to keeping the garden organized with its record-keeping.
When Erda joined the team in 2016, she brought with her three decades of fascination with holistic health approaches, including nutrition, herbs, and love of supporting others in building better health naturally. Involved in organic gardening and farming for years, she is a local-foods enthusiast, permaculture design and biodynamic agriculture student, and an inspired student of non-violent communication.
John came on board in 2016 as a gardener, but now assists us several days per week in our Apothecary and Shipping department. He has a penchant for poetry and is known for coining witty herbal nicknames for most of our staff.
Kelly joined the Avena Botanicals team in the spring of 2020. She now makes our teas and assists in both production and customer care. Prior to joining the team, she worked in mental health for several years and, before that, at organic vegetable farms. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Kelly is thankful to be at Avena with a strong connection to her calling to the work of heart, health, and healing.
Kiera joined the team in 2014 after spending 16 years as an entrepreneur in the technology industry. She designed and manages Avena's website as well as several of its marketing programs, and also helps to keep the company's administrative and technology systems running smoothly. An avid hiker and photographer, Kiera spends as much time as she can exploring Maine's landscapes with her camera in hand.
Michelle joined our team at the beginning of 2020 to help us with our bookkeeping. Before joining us, Michelle worked in the healthcare and social services fields in both administrative and direct care roles. In her free time, she enjoys swimming in the ocean, gardening, sewing, and spending time with her family.
After a full career in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, Natalie was keen to use her experience in quality systems and cGMPs to benefit a small business like Avena. Natalie relocated to Maine from Pennsylvania in the fall of 2018 with her husband and two cats. She enjoys exploring Midcoast Maine, meeting others within the community, and balancing work with her home life and volunteerism.
Robin is our liquid products maker, carefully crafting all our tinctures and oils. She found a home at Avena in the spring of 2020 after years of landscaping, gardening, and teaching. She has studied herbalism since 2007 and has enjoyed bringing her talents to her role here. Robin loves to be outside, and when not gardening, loves exploring and getting to know the wild world and its inhabitants.
Avena Botanicals is the first Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in Maine. Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic and spiritually alive system of organic and ecological practices and philosophies based on the teachings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. One of the core beliefs and practices of biodynamics is to help heal the Earth.
Over five hundred pounds of fresh, hand-gathered herbs come into Avena's apothecary annually and are thoughtfully prepared into herbal tinctures, elixirs, glycerites, and oils. Over 70% of these herbs come directly from Avena's certified-biodynamic gardens. Our herbs are fresh, aromatic, sweet, bitter, pungent, and beautiful.
Over seven hundred pounds of fresh, hand-gathered herbs come into Avena's drying rooms annually and are immediately weighed and laid onto large screens. Most of these herbs are grown in Avena's three-acre gardens. We also collect a few herbs from nearby islands and meadows.
The Herbal Classroom offers classes in herbal wellness, women's health, Ayurveda, meditation, biodynamic agriculture, pollinator habitats, and yoga for farmers and gardeners. Indoor and outdoor classes occur in our beautiful gardens and octagon-shaped classroom. The Herbal Classroom is a non-profit, 501c(3), educational center situated on the same property as Avena's biodynamic farm and apothecary.
Avena's gardens have been purposefully planted with protective hedgerows and flowering plants that offer nectar and pollen to dozens of pollinators. Shimmering ruby-throated hummingbirds and various butterflies, honey bees and native bees fill our gardens with an array of colors, sounds, and personalities. The presence of pollinators fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.
Our shop is located in an 1830's farmhouse adjacent to our biodynamic gardens. Delight in the old wooden beams as you smell the aromas of herbs, browse an herb book, or talk with our staff about which herbs to purchase.
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries
of the earth are never alone or weary of life."