Caroline Riley Carberry is a Texas native who grew up in the garden with her family and free ranging on the Texas coast with a fishing rod. At a young age she fell in love with the workings of nature and has always walked through life with awe for the interconnection of all things and the beauty of plants throughout the seasons.
She spent her 20’s as a single mom with an adventurous spirit, exploring natural places and dreaming of creating a community with her son. She completed a Liberal Arts degree in Education with a Lower Elementary Montessori Training, feeling that this framework was a great container for nature and place-based education.
In 2004 while living in Colorado, Caroline discovered permaculture design and soon incorporated the ethics and principles into her Montessori classroom. Through her Permaculture design practice and life as a mom, Caroline quickly discovered the joy of partnering with plants as medicine to promote overall health and wellbeing.
In 2009 the unthinkable happened when Caroline’s son and father died in an accident. Searching for support and healing Caroline leaned deeply on herbal medicine and alternative healing. Through this experience she grew her connection to an ever growing community of medicinal plants growing all around her. Before she knew it she had a small home apothecary.
In 2011 Caroline married Michael Carberry. That same year they opened The Whole Life Learning Center, a holistic school with a mission to foster self-awareness, social justice and sustainability.
That same Fall she also began teaching Permaculture design at Austin Community College.
As the school grew so did the gardens and Caroline’s love for teaching Permaculture design. Caroline was excited to combine the two as she began teaching Permaculture design courses with Austin Permaculture Guild, hosting the courses at The Whole Life Learning Center in 2014.
To date, the Whole Life Learning Center is where Caroline focuses her creativity. Since breaking ground on the 2 acre site in 2011 hundreds of hands have planted over 100 edible and medicinal species of plants. The campus is a living classroom and example of sustainability in Central Texas.
In 2018 Caroline started 7 Feathers Apothecary where she makes herbal remedies from the plants cultivated onsite. It is here that she meets with clients to restore a healthy balance in the body, mind, heart and spirit. Caroline comes from the Vitalist tradition of herbalism that looks at the whole person — deeply investigating, looking beyond surface symptoms alone, until the root cause of why a client has come to work with her is found. She studied Clinical Herbalism, Alchemical Herbalism and Astro Herbalism with The School of Evolutionary Herbalism. She has studied locally with GInger Webb and Sacred Journey School of Herbalism.
Caroline teaches with master herbalist Ginger Webb of Texas Medicinals and Sacred Journey School of Herbalism. Once a year they host a course called the The Village Herbalist which has a mission of growing a community of herbalists and medicinal forest gardens to empower people to support the health of themselves, their families and communities.
Caroline also hosts small daylong workshops and plant explorations in her gardens and looks for any opportunity to help connect people and plants.
When not at the learning center, Caroline can be found at her South Austin home with her two kiddos and husband cooking good food and playing in the front yard garden with the friends and neighbors.
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This blog interview illustrates ta day in the life at 7 Feathers Apothecary and The Whole Life Learning Center and how woven our medicinal garden is into our learning community.
Shot in early Spring 2019, Caroline Riley Carberry had the opportunity to introduce herself and share some highlights of our medicinal forest garden where the majority of the ingredients in our remedies grow.