Wellness - 08/01/2012
Medicines from the Earth Conference
A Visit to North Carolina
About a month ago, Sean and I (Lowen) had the amazing opportunity to attend the Medicines from the Earth Conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina. This conference is really special. It brings together all levels of the holistic healing community; from published naturopathic doctors to nurses to herbalists to co-op wellness employees like us! There are tons of lectures all day long and we get to choose which ones we wish to attend. It’s really hard to make a decision because they are all so interesting! We went to lectures on the benefits of coffee, celiac disease, adaptogens, HPV and more! Ask us about them, we'd love to share what we learned with you!
Gaia Herbs (one of our favorite companies) sponsors the conference and this year, Sean and I took a little road trip to visit their facilities and their 250 acres of farmland nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Brevard, NC. The land is lush and fertile and as we stood in the fields of flowering valerian and echinacea it became very apparent that Gaia is a special place.
Gaia Herbs was founded in 1986 and has been committed to upholding the rigorous standards required of a Certified Organic Grower (COG) as determined by Oregon Tilth, one of the strictest and most stringent organic certifiers in the nation. As a result, Gaia Farm (established in 1997) has earned its reputation as one of the leading growers and producers of Certified Organic herbs and herbal products in the United States. Oregon Tilth inspectors evaluate every aspect of their land, production methods, and facilities, including the assessment of their organic seed sourcing, cover cropping practices, crop rotation, soil fertility programs, pest control programs, machinery maintenance, greenhouse practices, neighboring land uses, crop washing practices, crop segregation, plant use and destination, and water use, as well as administrative and documentation practice.
This year, Gaia intends on planting ~7 million plants including Ashwaganda, Stinging Nettles, Milky Oats, and Skullcap. They also have groves of Ginkgo trees and Hawthorn trees. These plants are used in their amazing herbal supplements and formulations. Just being on the land, you can feel that their intentions are true. It is a magical place.
Some interesting facts about Gaia Herbs:
- The Gaia Farm Produce Program supplies thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables grown on their land for a weekly share to all employees for free! 19,727 pounds of produce were distributed in 2010.
- They power all trucks and tractors with locally made biodiesel.
- They use 100% recycled shipping boxes.
- Their Produce Program also donates nearly 6,000 pounds a year to the local community kitchen and food bank.
- They have introduced a “Meet Your Herbs” program where you can track how the herbs in their products were grown, harvested, extracted, and validated.