Around the Herban Works table at the Lewiston Farmers Market are, from left, Judy Maloney, Linda Warren, Christine Zucatti, Bethanie Bernard, Sue Sproul, Ali Rabideau and Grace Jurkouich.

LEWISTON — The Center for Wisdom’s Women received four key grants this summer to launch Herban Works, the center’s budding women-owned-and -operated social enterprise.

Herban Works offers women with adverse life experiences the opportunity to work, develop a range of skills and life-giving experiences, and generate income in a safe and dignified space. This new enterprise is tied to the center’s plans to develop Sophia’s House, a long-term residential recovery community in Lewiston for women who are survivors of trauma.

The Maine Community Foundation contributed to Herban Works through a $6,857 grant from the Androscoggin Fund and a $3,143 grant from the Building Stronger Nonprofits Fund. Together, these grants have helped create the sustainable foundation for the cooperative business. 

The center also received a $2,500 grant from the Androscoggin Bank’s Greater Giving Program to fund a summer internship to support Herban Works and provide stipends for volunteers of the program. 

The center received a fourth grant of $1,968 from the James W. Carignan and Sally Larson Carignan Fund for Community Partners at Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships for garden supplies to start and sustain an urban garden. Through this fund and other efforts, the Harward Center aims to strengthen connections between Bates and the local community.

Wisdom’s Women has had a long relationship with the Harward Center and often hosts interns and volunteers paid or organized by Bates College. Student intern Ali Rabideau, who spent two summers at the center, presented Herban Works at the college’s 2017 Bobcat Ventures pitch competition during her senior year. Rabideau won the competition and donated her winnings back to the social enterprise she helped launch. 

Herban Works now grows herbs in the heart of downtown Lewiston and transforms what is grown into healing salves, teas, salted herbs and lavender eye pillows.

Herban Works products are available at the Lewiston Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, the farm stand at Whiting Farm in Auburn, and at the center.

FMI, volunteer: 207-513-3922,

Board member Sarah Strong and volunteer Judy Maloney drying herbs and garlic.

Volunteer Susan Coker displays newly sewn lavender eye pillows.

Bates College summer intern Ali Rabideau picks calendula flowers from Herban Works’ raised beds at Whiting Farm in Auburn.

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