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Meet Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed

Latifa joined Debra Prinzing and Niesha Blancas for an IG Live discussion on May 21st

Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed is a botanist, herbalist, educator, and artist, and is co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants a native plant nursery based in Treaty 7 Territory, near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

She holds a BSc in Botany from the University of Calgary and an MSc in Herbal Medicine from Middlesex University, London, UK. She has been working with native plants for 15 years and her expertise includes identification, sustainable collection, cultivation, and ethnobotany.

In 2016 she founded Latifa’s Herbs, which primarily serves to educate the public on the edible and medicinal uses of wild plant species in both Alberta and British Columbia.

She is a former faculty member at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC where she taught Botany and Horticulture in addition to Wild Plant Nutrition.

1.       What is your astrological sign or Chinese zodiac year? Cancer/Tiger

2.       What book(s) are on your bedside table right now? "Nature's Best Hope," by Doug Tallamy

3.       What do you want our guests to know about Canada's local flower/Slow Flower or horticulture/garden scene? Native plants are beautiful, support wildlife and need our support!

4.      Share something that you're excited about exploring in your floral enterprise this year? We moved to a farm in 2023, so settling into our new operation, improving infrastructure and field planting for seed collection will be highlights. We're also excited we won't have travel to the nursery anymore.

5.       What is the craziest or most clever thing you've done to pack flowers or plants for travel? We do have to pack our plants really tightly in boxes for shipping so they don't get damaged. We also hate waste, so we'll reuse packaging from anything we buy. So sometimes the boxes can look a little funny with all this random packing material in there.

Learn from Latifa! (OPTIONAL) EARLY-MORNING WILDFLOWER WALK Tuesday, June 25th (7-9:30 a.m.)

Start your day with nature and our resident native plant expert, Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed. She will lead an introductory walk to explore the wildflowers and wild plants that reflect season and place in the scenic and natural wilderness area of Banff, which is adjacent to the Canadian Rockies.Bring your notebook and camera to document the botanical lessons you'll learn on this inspiring morning walk, which will take place prior to the indoor sessions. The walk is designed for beginners, but you will want to wear appropriate footwear, plus a hat!

DIVE INTO NATIVE PLANTS Tuesday, June 25th, Lecture and Q&A (10 a.m.)

Following our morning wildflower hike, Latifa will present an illustrated lecture and overview of native plants, with a special look at how and why flower farmers and floral designers can incorporate native plants into their businesses.

She will help us understand what defines a plant or flower as "native," and how to use natives to boost the diversity of your own growing areas. From  improving pollinator habitat to a shift toward more regenerative growing practices, native perennials, grasses, bulbs, and other botanicals offer myriad environmental benefits. Latifa will also cover issues of invasive plants and her recommendations for how to substitute native plants as alternatives.

She will provide additional take-home resources to help you seek out native plants in your own region.


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