Marlene Renee Adelmann-Mitcheson, 1955-2022
Marlene Adelmann, Founder, and Visionary, established the Herbal Academy in 2011 to share her love of herbalism with the greater Boston community and beyond. Through the school and online herbal classes, Marlene has brought the wild and wonderful world of herbalism to over 100,000 students across the United States and the world.
Born January 14, in 1955 in Richfield, Minnesota, Marlene’s passion for herbalism started with her studies in culinary arts after working in hotel management and raising her family. In 1989, she opened a catering company that focused on farm-to-table cuisine using locally sourced, organic, and wild-harvested ingredients.
Marlene was a person who truly lived the vision she sought, and through her catering business, she became a master of meticulous, delicious, and beautiful food. It was this background that laid the foundation of how she approached the Herbal Academy. She hosted many local cooking classes that promoted eating close to the source during the first years at the Herbal Academy, what was then known as the Herbal Academy of New England.
Through her passion for food and healthy living, Marlene began learning about herbs and how to use them for food and wellness. She spent several years studying herbalism and learning through in-person classes and ongoing correspondence courses, including studying with Rosemary Gladstar, the Boston School of Herbal Studies, among others, as well as teaching her students. She created an in-person herbalism course for a dozen students in 2011, and then received requests to share the class more widely. She and her small team, which included her husband David Mitcheson, M.D., a passionate botanist, were inspired to move their education to an online platform, where it received much interest. From this beginning, Marlene continued her quest to develop herbal learning resources and spearheaded the development of a catalog of courses and online offerings, growing Herbal Academy into one of the most recognized leading schools of herbalism.
Marlene was a member of the Authors Guild. With an interest in publishing quality herbal content in print, she published textbooks for two of the Herbal Academy’s foundational herbal courses as well as the Botanical Skin Care Recipe Book in 2019. She also contributed articles to various publications over the years including Mother Earth News Magazine, Taproot Magazine, Willow & Sage Magazine, The Essential Herbal, Aroma Culture, Natural Herbal Living Magazine, Plants are Magic, and From Scratch Magazine and has been featured in Elle, Flow, Heirloom Gardener Magazine, Plant Healer Magazine, and SheKnows.
Marlene was an entrepreneur at heart and had a knack for generating innovative ideas and inspiration. She was the driving force behind the Herbal Academy and The Herbarium, a membership-based website with resources for continuing herbalism learning for herbalists, and she continuously dreamed up new offerings. She was especially adamant about and committed to creating accessible, affordable, and beautiful courses and offerings that could be enjoyed widely, and was not afraid of the hard work it took to bring that mission to fruition.
After her cancer diagnosis in 2020 and several months of navigating cancer treatment, Marlene asked her Herbal Academy team to create a resource for those seeking a holistic approach to cancer. This led to the development of the free 13-part “Held in Hope” Series that provided trustworthy cancer resources from reliable and experienced herbal experts and medical professionals, uplifting stories, and a spirit of community so needed for those facing a cancer diagnosis, as well as a sliding scale holistic cancer care course with contributions from many leading herbal and holistic cancer support practitioners.
After her cancer diagnosis, Marlene shared: “It’s completely freeing to know that you do not need to have one special calling in life. One of my callings has been to deliver the most accessible herbal education to the world. I feel called to be a loving mother and Oma to my grandbabies. I’m now feeling an immense calling to bring hope and light to those sharing this cancer journey with me. Allow yourself to move in the direction your heart leads you, free yourself from the box, and do good in many ways. There’s no one calling.”
Marlene passed away on February 16, 2022, at the age of 67 after a brave, 18-month battle with a rare cancer. The Herbal Academy is committed to continue to fulfill Marlene’s mission and honor her legacy under the leadership of Marlene’s trusted team.