In the late 1960s, Drake Sadler was a social activist working for the Office of Economic Opportunity in Northern California setting up Head Start centers, family planning services, community health clinics and food cooperatives. While living in the coastal redwood forest, he met Rosemary Gladstar, third-generation herbalist (known today as the godmother of modern herbalism).
The young couple was part of a movement of back-to-the-land baby boomers seeking an alternative lifestyle, including natural foods and herbal remedies. Together they shared a vision for the rebirth of herbalism and the business principles of right livelihood. In 1974 they co-founded Traditional Medicinals.
Believing that educated and empowered people could change the world for the better, their mission was to promote the knowledge of traditional herbal medicine, while creating equitable and sustainable trading partnerships with the mostly impoverished and indigenous people around the globe who collect and grow medicinal plants. These shared beliefs formed the sacred purpose and mission of Traditional Medicinals which are infused into the operating principles of the company today, serving as a successful model for responsible business.
Traditional Medicinals has pursued the rigorous process of getting 98 percent of all its 160 herbal ingredients certified organic, and many are also certified Fair Trade or Fair Wild. With the planet desperate for new social business models that are non-exploitive and environmentally sustainable, the herbal experts at the company are constantly working to improve herb quality and social conditions in Traditional Medicinals’ supplier communities.
After decades of leadership, in 2008 Drake transitioned away from company management and is now almost exclusively focused on indigenous community empowerment through the Traditional Medicinals’ Foundation. Combining much needed social support with financial return, the foundation makes investments in food and water security systems, health care, education and training, economic development and gender equality.
For Drake, Traditional Medicinals is a vision realized!