Dr. Alicia Spalding smiles next to a honeybee mural in her new Nature Nurture Farmacy in Chehalis, and looks down at a vintage baby scale. Dr. Jeanne Adams, who worked in this building for decades, used this very scale to weigh Spalding, as well as all her siblings, after bringing them into the world.
Adams — the first female doctor to deliver babies in Lewis County — retired last year, donating much of her equipment to museums, but leaving the scale with Spalding, a Winlock native.
Now, the old building at 176 NE School St., where countless locals were cared for by Adams, has been transformed into a naturopathic community health center, complete with locally-grown herbs, supplements, an infrared sauna, monthly acupuncturist services, a table for craniosacral therapy and more.
With moss green walls, a plush couch and a new mural by local Susan Clark, the space has changed significantly since Adams — who Spalding called a “hard-core primary care provider” — worked there.
But Spalding, who has a doctorate in naturopathy and focuses on the foundations of health, says the two have some in common. Adams was holistic — not the kind of doctor to write up a prescription and set you out on your own. It's the same mindset found at Nature Nurture Farmacy.
“It’s more than just you come in with a symptom and we treat that. It’s like, ‘what does your whole life look like?’” Spalding said, adding that counseling is a large part of the clinic’s work. “A lot of what we do here is prevention. Aging well, helping people prevent chronic illness. Or if they do get chronic illness, helping them step out of it.”
Nature Nurture Farmacy, a nonprofit, began in 2018 with the goal of “building community health through the use of herbal medicine, sustainable food cultivation and empowering education.”
The clinic moved into its new digs this year, inviting the public to an open house this week.
“It’s allowed us to open an apothecary, it’s allowed us to have other practitioners here, it’s allowed us to have an acupuncturist once a month,” Spalding said, noting the space is essentially a cooperative.
A 30-minute visit to the clinic is $50, on a sliding scale, hopefully making naturopathic services accessible to the community.
A plethora of donated supplements and herbs — some from Spalding’s own Winlock farm — means individuals on expensive treatment for things like cancer can come in, get evaluated and walk away with natural products to help their healing process.
A copper alembic still — the large contraption sitting in the waiting room — allows Nature Nurture Farmacy to extract essential oils from plants themselves, passing them along to the community.
The health center offers an array of services, from breath work and nutrition to massages and sleep support. The center is also WIAA-approved for school sports physicals.
Naturopathy, Spalding said, is about mind, body and soul. That’s reflected in the nonprofit’s most recent project, the Bucket Brigade. As part of its “Food is Medicine” project, Nature Nurture Farmacy has partnered with the Lewis County Seniors and Lewis County Lollipop Guild to get local seniors garden kits, in an effort to connect them with food and community.
It won’t be enough to produce food to sustain folks through the summer, “but it’s enough to get you outside,” Spalding said.
As part of her work at the Winlock High School’s Community Garden, Spalding helped organize the project, and got Winlock and Toledo elementary students to draw pictures for the seniors, pairing them with seeds or plants that seniors picked out, including sunflowers and tomatoes.
The kits will be delivered this week via the Lollipop Guild’s large rainbow bus.
The hope is to connect more people with food and gardening, and “something to nourish and love that’s outside of you” during the pandemic.