Ohio Herbal Elder: Diana Sette

(University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies & Childrens’ Hospital)

Listen: Oral History with Diana Sette

Audio Credit: Sette, Diana & Jess Lamar Reece Holler. Oral History with Diana Sette. Ohio Herbal Elders Project 2.0, in collaboration with United Plant Savers || © Diana Sette & Jess Lamar Reece Holler, 2022+. All rights reserved; for personal, non-commercial use only. No derivative works. Contact for any research requests.


Born & raised in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s, Diana Sette grew up in an Italian-Irish-American family in a community rapidly expanding into its surrounding forests & wetlands. A born artist, performer, activist, & “kid who loved being in the dirt,” Diana rejected the “Italian princess” role her world expected of her. 

She first discovered herbalism at Drew University — New Jersey’s “university in the forest” — where she lived with budding herbalists, & spent school breaks in Vermont. After graduation, Diana moved to Vermont full-time, & worked at an alternative high school with a strong gardening & outdoor emphasis, & studied herbalism at Vermont’s many herb schools, before taking a life-altering apprenticeship with Vermont’s famed Bread & Puppet Theatre — the country’s oldest political theatre company — based at a collective farm in the Northeast Kingdom. Diana eventually joined the company — farming, making puppets, creating massive environmental spectacle theatre, & performing with the company around the world — before relocating with her then-partner to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, to launch Possibilitarian Puppet Theatre: a hybrid political theatre, permaculture, & community homesteading experiment rooted in addressing Cleveland’s needs. 

After training in permaculture, running an urban teen gardening program with the Cleveland Botanical Garden, building capacity for grassroots community leaders with former mayor Michael White, & establishing cleveland’s Tree Corps program, Diana found her life-long interests in social service & facilitating relationships between people & plants come together in a miraculous posting: a horticultural therapy position with University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies & Childrens’ Hospital. Diana got the job; & now runs “Angie’s Garden” — a beautiful, full-service rooftop garden — alongside a horticultural therapy suite, & bedside service program, helping connect children & families staying at Cleveland’s premiere children’s hospital to the healing power of plants. Diana lives in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Cleveland with her daughter Rosemary — named, of course, after Rosemary Gladstar.

For more, visit Diana & her plant & artistic practices at: dianasette.wordpress.com