Staff Directory

Executive Director

Larken Bunce, MS is a clinical herbalist, educator, gardener, writer, and photographer deeply inspired by a life-long love affair with plants. Her approach to herbal medicine is equally rooted in science and spirit, novel practice and tradition, clinic and garden, reflecting her diverse experiences over 20 years in the field. Her work is primarily informed by Western herbal medicine, classical Chinese medicine, whole-food nutrition, mind-body and narrative medicines, and social justice advocacy. Larken is passionate about accessible and culturally competent care, bridging traditional medical systems with biomedical sciences, and restoring Nature to culture through herbal medicine. Read More...

Her work is rooted in the premise that the heart of healing lies in remembering that we belong to each other and to the land. In all she does, Larken hopes to increase awareness of the capacity of not only medicinal plants, but of all nature and wildness, to sustain and heal.

In addition to working with clients in VCIH’s community clinic, Larken’s passion is sharing her craft through education. As founding co-director and core faculty at VCIH, she developed the comprehensive curriculum together with Guido and Betzy, and continues to think about and experiment with new methods to inspire the combination of rigorous critical inquiry and joyful exploration that herbalism calls for. She is interested in education as necessarily life-long and transformative, and views learning and healing as parallel endeavors of discovery.

In addition to her roles at VCIH, Larken served for seven years as faculty in the Health Arts and Sciences (HAS) program at Goddard College, where she worked with students passionate about various herbal traditions, nutrition, agriculture, social and environmental justice, deep ecology, and radical public health. She continues to guest lecture and advise in the HAS program and is a recurring lecturer in the nursing programs at the University of Vermont. She teaches widely at national conferences and has served as faculty for numerous other clinical herbal programs. She also proudly serves on the advisory board of Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US), an educational and advocacy organization working towards a healthcare paradigm of wellness, prevention, patient empowerment, and self-care.

Larken has written for various publications and was previously a regular columnist for UnifiedHealth, a practitioner’s journal devoted to renewing consciousness in medicine.

She is also the past Education Coordinator for PlantMedicine, an international non-profit dedicated to disseminating evidence-based and traditionally-supported herbal information to the healthcare community. With PlantMedicine, she collated and analyzed research data to develop herbal monographs and co-authored (with Simon Mills & Jillian Borchard) a graduate-level learning module on herbal safety and herb-drug interactions.

Her education includes a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts) and a Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College. Larken holds certificates in Zen Shiatsu and Swedish/Esalen Massage from the Heartwood Institute and in using Teishin (acupressure) for pain and stress from the Barefoot Doctor Institute. She has also studied mind-body skills at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC and is currently completing certification in Somatic Experiencing, based on the trauma resolution work of Dr. Peter Levine.

You’ll find Larken happiest on an afternoon spent in a field with a harvest basket, a blue sky, and the sun on her face or kneeling in the dirt meeting a new plant. She lives on a ridge in East Montpelier with her animals, gardens, and similarly green-thumbed sweetheart. Close

Administrative Director

Laura Litchfield is a clinical herbalist and educator. She tends to the apothecary, finances and daily operations of the school and clinic, bringing extensive practical knowledge of taking care of people and things, both through her diverse work experience and from raising a family. She has been studying herbalism since 1998, including attendance at The California School of Herbal Studies and VCIH. Laura also works clinically with individuals in the professional clinic. She has a special interest in bringing awareness and knowledge of herbs and physiology to the next generation as well as reintroducing herbal remedies into the family kitchen.

Staff

Joann Darling serves as VCIH’s Garden Manager. Joann is a native Vermonter living in Barre, in the homestead where she grew up and today practices and teaches skills in traditional arts. She has been connected to the land of Vermont for generations, closely tied to the plants, animals and people through the seasons. Her knowledge and wisdom includes the myriad ways of knowing the plants, from flower growing and arrangements to dyeing, felting, weaving and growing flax for fibre.

To learn about our teachers and clinicians, visit our Faculty and Practitioner directories.