Finding Balance in Technology & Nature

Meet Liz

Posted in

Chris Anderson

June 18, 2024


In April of 2024, we hired Liz Manuell to lead our social media communities. Sure Liz earned her stripes in digital marketing and social media, but we were particularly drawn to her juxtaposed passions — pushing pixels and foraging deep in the woods.

Meet Liz

Liz earned a BA in Mass Communications & Media Production in 2016. She began working as an AV Technician in hotels across Boston, which evolved into experiential marketing serving brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Behr, and Stonyfield Organic. It’s a great story that we’re not giving nearly enough time to.

When 2020 pulled the rug out from underneath us all, Liz successfully pivoted to digital marketing, supporting businesses of all shapes and sizes as a Social Media Manager and Content Strategist. That’s when we caught up with her and discovered her passion for something deeper than digital.

As a New Hampshire native, Liz has always been drawn into the New England Woods (and bringing what she found back to the rest of us). When the pandemic drove many of us to binge on Tiger King, Liz  began experimenting with crafting and selling homemade beauty products like rosemary hair oil and coffee-based eyebrow tint. That led her to 9-month apprenticeship with Sweet Birch Herbals in Ashfield, MA.

Actually, Liz tells the story better:

Everything in It’s Proper Season


Exploring Herbalism


My apprenticeship, ‘Wild Edibles & Medicinal Herbs,’ centered around foraging. While I learned the art of foraging, I also discovered a deeper connection to nature.

My journey each month began with a 2.5-hour drive from the North Shore of Boston to the deep woods of Western Massachusetts. Regardless of snow, rain, or blistering sun, my mentor, Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, encouraged our cohort to embrace the present moment. So we gathered round a fire with hot chaga chai in winter, or a floral wreath with seasonal elements in summer.

After catching up on the previous month’s discoveries, we explored the current month’s seasonal symbolism in Chinese Medicine and Hannah’s recommended plant engagements. I learned that local herbs often provide the precise balance of what we need each season, such warming burdock and pine for respiratory wellness in winter or stinging nettle in the spring to offset the exhaustion of our bodies waking up after a sluggish winter.

One memorable summer day, we foraged mint in a swampy wetland to distill into essential oil and hydrosol. Hydrosols, the water-based byproduct of distilling essential oils from plant materials, share many properties with essential oils but are mostly water. After collecting bins full of mint, we extracted a surprisingly small bottle of essential oil. Fortunately, the hydrosol yield was higher, providing a refreshing face spray — the perfect antidote for the intensity of summer sun.

My apprenticeship was a journey of personal growth, connection, and a deeper understanding of the natural world. Thanks to Hannah’s mentorship, I discovered the intricate balance of nature and the powerful benefits of herbs, which I now incorporate into my daily life as an herbalist.

While working as the Community Manager for RIFM, Liz is also studying to become a certified herbalist.

Why does this matter? Social media has the power to connect many of us to new ideas and communities we never knew existed. It’s how we found Liz and how many of you found us. Unfortunately, Social media is often linked to increased anxiety and depression.

So … is social media good for us or bad for us? Yes.

Everything has an appropriate season — like pine in the winter, stinging nettles in the spring, and mint in the summer. And we’re excited to invite Liz to guide our social communities through the seasons.

What’s On the Horizon?

  • Herbal Wisdom of the Week
    Story series on Instagram where I use my knowledge in herbalism and seasonal wellness to inform you on beneficial herbs and their applications for a healthy lifestyle
  • Community Q’s Series
    A post series where we take in all of your burning questions about Functional Medicine in general, and Dr. Hartman answers them in “hot take” style
  • Treatment for Transformation Series
    A post series dedicated to giving you solid takeaways for dealing with certain health conditions and the best lifestyle treatments to improve them (sourced from Dr. Hartman’s repository)

Liz has developed a mission-driven strategy that not only incorporates the educational tid-bits from Dr. Hartman that you love, but infuses the life improvements, and the positive self talk we need in order to reach our highest and greatest health goals.

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We’ve Updated Our Popular Food Sourcing Guide

  • Food Sourcing Principles
  • Local Sourcing Options for Central VA
  • Non-Local Sourcing Solutions & Principles

And we’ve added it to our FREE micro course “Real Food Diaries.” Register for the free course to access the updated guide.