By Libby Hopkins

Did you ever take a look at some of the plants that grow in the wilds of your backyard and wonder what they are doing there? Are they edible? Can they heal you or better yet, can they save your life? If you did, you’re not alone. Many people nowadays want to know what is growing in their backyards. They also want to know more about what goes into some of the products they use and the food they eat. Toni Magnusson-Cooper, owner of Sereniteas and Soothers in Plant City, grew up learning about the plants and herbs that grew in her backyard as well as the woods that surrounded her family home. Magnusson-Cooper is a fourth-generation herbalist and she learned all there is to know about plants and herbs from her grandmother. “When my father passed away as a result of a problem with a medication he was prescribed, I made it my life’s mission to make sure I reached as many people as humanly possible to let them know there are alternatives to pharmaceuticals,” said Magnusson-Cooper. She started using plants and herbs for healing and better living.

On September 29, Magnusson-Cooper and two of her fellow herbalist friends, Willow Lemonte and Larry Clark, will be hosting The Herbal Survivalist event on Lemonte’s farm in Valrico. The event will be held from 1-4 p.m. and the cost is $25 if you register early. The cost will go up to $30 the day of the event. The herbalist will teach all who attend how to make tincture, salves and other organic products. There will be light refreshments offered and all who attend will go home with an herbal goody bag. “We are going to teach you how to plant it, harvest it and make something out of it that will better your life,” Magnusson-Cooper said. “That’s what this is all about and we want people take what we teach them and share with others.”

Magnusson-Cooper is on a journey to share the knowledge she has learned over the years and she does that through the products she makes and offers through her business. She sells herbal teas and extracts as well as healing salves and herbal bath soaks. “I promise to craft only the most natural and organic herbal teas and herbal products,” Magnusson-Cooper said. “I also promise to use only the freshest and locally grown products available.” If you would like to learn more about the products Magnusson-Cooper makes or if you would like to attend The Herbal Survivalist event, you can visit Magnusson-Cooper’s website, or call 720-9136. Willow Lemonte’s farm is located at 2211 Ray Rd. in Valrico.


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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.