Herbalism + Permaculture
Mutable Earth Botanicals supports community access to local, organic, herbal remedies cultivated and prepared on site in Austin, TX at the Food Forest of the Whole Life Learning Center. We are so much more than an online shop or wellness brand. Behind Mutable Earth Botanicals is a collective of women herbalists, plant lovers, and medicine makers who come together to learn, grow, and remember that we are an important piece of this thriving diverse garden ecosystem.
Whole Life founder, educator, and herbalist Caroline Riley, created the apothecary in 2018 after 6 years of transforming a pasture surrounding the Whole Life Learning Center into a flourishing forest garden – fondly referred to as the “Food Forest.” The gardens are a living classroom for the Whole Life learners, Austin Permaculture Guild students, and volunteers alike. Blooming roses and passion flowers invite guests to take a deep breath to relax the nervous system upon arrival – the same effect our herbal remedies often have! A symphony of bird songs, bright colors, and sweet aromas of the seasons’ blooms weave the sensational tapestry of this pulsing heart center of our community.
The Food Forest itself is a community effort; hundreds of people have helped design and tend the forest garden over the past decade with Caroline at the helm. She has facilitated countless Permaculture Design Courses through the Austin Permaculture Guild here over the years, which have made this place what it is today, and we are truly grateful. Check our community events page to see what workshops and events are currently being offered here.
Mutable Earth Botanicals offers specialty tinctures, teas, and remedies that serve the whole body, mind, and spirit. Our medicinals are all organic, always as local as possible, and infused with prayer and intention. We grow and share these potent plants to uplift our families, ourselves, and the larger community. From unique custom blends to wholesale bulk orders, we aim to be of service to the plants, the planet, and to you.
Check out our community calendar (hyperlink) and subscribe (hyperlink to contact form) to our monthly emails to learn about our most current products, workshops, and community offerings. We look forward to getting to know you!
A spagyric is an alchemical preparation of herbs into a tincture form. This differs from a standard tincture in one key way: it contains the salt, or body, of the plant, which a normal tincture simply throws away. These “salts” contain many trace minerals that were present in the plant material that get put back into the tincture. Our herbal remedies utilize what the forest garden offers us seasonally; optimally harvested, and mindfully prepared to create the most potent medicinal to aid the body, mind, heart, and spirit. Prayers and blessings surround every bottle while infusing.
Everything here is organic and small batch. Our seasonal tinctures and elixirs are available with the flow of the seasons. Caroline harvests and dries hundreds of small batches of herbs a year for custom-blended teas. The apothecary is stocked with over 100 organic plant extracts from organic sources, available through the shop
Hey hey y’all, I’m Caroline Riley. I am a trained clinical herbalist with a heart for service, and I’m passionate about growing a deeply-rooted, resilient community. The ever-changing expressions of the seasons are solace for my heart and spirit. Through my practice of witnessing, I have developed a knack for partnering plants and people to support health and wellbeing. The depth of healing folks experience through reconnecting with Spirit through this sacred relationship with the plants and the land never ceases to amaze me.
First and foremost the plants are my teachers and have been for over 20 years. I learn more and more with and about them with every passing season. Training wise I come from the Vitalist and Wise Woman traditions. I studied Clinical Herbalism, Alchemical Herbalism and Astro Herbalism with Sajah Popham and The School of Evolutionary Herbalism. I have both studied and taught with Ginger Webb and Sacred Journey School of Herbalism. In 2020, I began studying Botanical Medicine for Women's Health with Aviva Romm.
At a young age, I fell in love with the workings of nature. Running wild on the Texas coast with my family, I grew up fishing and gardening, very in touch with the cycles of the seasons. I have always felt deep awe for the interconnection of all things.
In my early 20’s, I became a single mama. After my son West was born, I went back to University of Texas in Austin to finish a Liberal Arts degree in Education, and later completed a Lower Elementary Montessori Training. In 2004, while living in Colorado, I was introduced to Permaculture Design. This framework for regenerative agriculture, place-based education and living awakened in me a desire to implement these principles for myself and my son. It was through this experience I discovered the life-changing joy of partnering with plants as medicine.
In 2009, the unthinkable happened: my son and father died in an accident. Searching for support and healing, I leaned hard into herbal medicine and alternative healing. I remember the moment I realized that medicine is literally growing all around us; we have what we need when we have eyes to see it.
I met my future husband Michael Carberry in 2011. We decided to blend our passions and visions to open The Whole Life Learning Center, a holistic school with a mission to foster self-awareness and sustainability. That same Fall we opened the school, I also began teaching Permaculture Design at Austin Community College, and we got married! We were living life in the flow!
As the school grew so did the gardens. Caroline began teaching with Austin Permaculture Guild, hosting the courses at The Whole Life Learning Center in 2014. To date there have been countless Permaculture and herbalism classes and gatherings onsite. The Food Forest gardens are a product of the many loving hands and hearts who have given energy to this space.
You can find me in the gardens, apothecary, or my own yard gardening with my two sons and animals most days. Creating opportunities for people to learn and grow with the plants and soil is my happy place. Thanks for being here, I look forward to getting to know you!