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What is the difference between The Human Path, Herbal Medics Academy and Herbal Medics?

These names have gone through a lot of transition over the years, so let me try to explain as briefly as possible:

The Human Path: This is the original school. Although it’s the 3rd iteration of this school vision (first one starting over 25 years ago in Colorado and all of them of different names), it is the first and only “The Human Path.”

I started The Human Path about 10 years ago in 2008 in San Antonio, TX and I taught all subjects by myself at the beginning: Wilderness survival, urban survival, herbalism, first aid, martial arts and self-defense, outdoor fitness, botanical medicine making, and on and on. There was a lot of breadth in subject matter in those days, but not nearly as much depth as I knew we needed.

Right from the start, herbal medicine was always my deepest personal interest and was also the consistent revenue-earning aspect of the school. After several years, as I continually expanded the herbal programs, it got to be confusing to a lot of people how to navigate through the plethora of curriculum on our website for The Human Path.

So – we separated out only the herbal medicine curriculum and made a new website it all. That was the birth of the concept of Herbal Medics University. Now, as some of you have already found out, I have a very small number of very enthusiastic and vocal haters out in the world. An unfortunate aspect of the herbal community is the envy and pettiness, and one of those haters who has spent an unbelievable amount of energy stalking me, called the Texas Commission on Higher Education and “reported” the fact that we were using the word “University” on our website for Herbal Medics University.

I didn’t realize this word was off-limits until the commission contacted me, so of course after finding out, we immediately changed the name of the herbal programs to Herbal Medics Academy to comply.

So Herbal Medics Academy is the part of The Human Path that specializes solely on the herbal curriculum. But The Human Path is the school and business name. We have a dba for Herbal Medics Academy because sometimes checks are made out to that entity, but it’s all part of The Human Path.

Meanwhile the foundational path training (Off-Grid Engineer, Medic, Provider, Medic) is the curriculum that is still “under” The Human Path arm of the school per se. Dividing this out is important not only because it’s easier for people to navigate between herbalism and “non-herbalism” subjects, but because these foundational paths are the infrastructure for everything we do and can both stand alone as well as be the support base for any Herbal Medics work where we have herbalists in the field.

Herbal Medics is the organization that Suchil and I founded about 6 years ago as a non-profit. We knew we needed an experiential, outreach organization with the vision of both helping the underserved while also providing real-world experience for our students.

After years of dealing with the 501(c)(3) world with Herbal Medics, we realized that we didn’t have the bandwidth or desire to take on a true non-profit as work. Also, we wanted to make sure that the vision didn’t get diluted (as can happen to a non-profit) – especially before it really got a chance to have complete form (to include chapters and rosters of students capable of making the post-disaster element of the organization fully functional). That complete form is still at least a few years off, and we got rid of the non-profit status while keeping the name “Herbal Medics.” So Herbal Medics is a separate for-profit business entity now. I have always felt I wanted an organization that can do all of these things that Herbal Medics is about, while also being economically viable and self-reliant (i.e. I’m not very good at asking people to donate money to me – I’d rather have a way to create an economy that supports the work the organization does). In fact, sustainable economics is another facet of the human condition we need to change, just like sustainable food and medicine. So it is forcing us to prototype that economic self-reliance concept at the same time as well into the structure of the organization itself.

Herbal Medics has several chapters. One of the most active is the chapter right here in San Antonio. This chapter was founded by Maria C. Turvin, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and is called Yanawana Herbalarios.

Maria is also the chapter coordinator for all of our Herbal Medics chapters (chapters exist in Boston, West Virginia, Detroit, Mexico, San Antonio). This chapter coordinator position will continue to expand in the near future as we add more depth and breadth (and chapters) to the roster. Maria does amazing work in this area and has also become the curriculum developer for the planning aspect of the Scout program at The Human Path.

So we have The Human Path which was and is the overarching school. Herbal Medics Academy which is the branch of The Human Path that is focused on botanical (herbal) medicine, and Herbal Medics, which is the organization that works around the USA and abroad to provide sustainable medicine, sustainable food and sustainable skills to underserved communities, while also giving students a chance to get involved and gain real-world experience using the skills they learned at our school.