This post was updated on 2/26 to include new links, and to reflect changes re: the applicable Facebook page.
You may have heard that the term “fire cider” has been trademarked – a term that Rosemary Gladstar coined and that has since become common parlance for a preparation involving deliciously warming herbs like garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and turmeric; apple cider vinegar; and honey. Like many, I was appalled to hear this. The herbal community is in many ways a gift economy, whereas this move has every appearance of shameless commercialism. To remove a term in common usage – one that herbalists all over the world use thanks to Rosemary’s generous teaching of this recipe – is detrimental both to the herbal community and to the English language. Already, words that herbalists might or might not otherwise choose to use are exclusively the realm of the medical community (“diagnose, treat, or prevent” are forbidden except in a disclaimer, and even “tincture” may be iffy because of its early use in conventional medicine), but it’s a new twist for Shire City, an herbal company, to take “fire cider” away from the herbal community.
The good news is that this is not the end of the story. Here are some resources to keep up on the news and to help make sure that the story ends well:
- Petition: Revoke Fire Cider Trademark – Please sign this and share it!
- Boycotting the Product: You can find a list of retail stores carrying Shire City Fire Cider right here, and a suggestion for a letter to send to those stores on this page.
- Free Fire Cider: Probably the best source for updates, this website also includes resources like recipe cards, posters, etc. You can volunteer to help, learn how you can help flood the market, and more.
- Tradition Not Trademark, the official Facebook presence for the ‘Free’ Fire Cider movement – Another great place for updates and suggestions.
- And on twitter, follow @FreeFireCider and use the hashtag #FreeFireCider.
- Free Fire Cider: Anti-Trademark and Herbalists for Health Freedom Group – on Facebook
- Do you make fire cider? Proclaim that it’s a tradition not a trademark, by posting a photo like this one.