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WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Group

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WNC Medicinal Herb Growers logo

The Western North Carolina Medicinal Herb Growers is a group of NC Extension educators, herb farmers, and serious herb gardeners interested in gaining experience in growing medicinal herbs and learning more about them. The group first organized in the fall of 2013 and has met under the names of the WNC Herb Club, the WNC Medicinal Herb Club, the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Club, and most recently, the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers. They are an active group that meets every month or so on herb farms in the western third of the state to get hands-on experience with all aspects of medicinal herb growing, post-harvest handling, and marketing. It is a very social group, so a pot-luck lunch is often part of the event. Experienced herb growers mentor beginning herb farmers; this can be a casual or more structured relationship.

To get on the mailing list for this group, please email Meghan_Baker@ncsu.edu and put “WNC Medicinal Herb Growers” in the subject line.

Woodland Stewards is a group within the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers who are beginning and advanced forest farmers that meet monthly for hands-on programming at the demonstration woods of the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Mills River, NC. Under the leadership of Margaret Bloomquist, research associate, and the WNC Medicinal Herb Growers Captains, the Woodland Stewards are embarking on their 5th year of monthly gatherings and work parties. This includes participation in research and extension efforts of our native woodland botanicals; the maintenance, growth, and harvesting of woodland medicinals at the Mills River demonstration site; site visits, mentorship, and work parties at woodland stewards’ properties; plant rescues; and more! The Woodland Stewards projects are currently supported by, and very much a part of, the educational programming of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmers Coalition funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Videos:

How to Make a Plant Voucher – 2/12/2021 – Meghan Baker, Margaret Bloomquist, and Craig Mauney, NC Extension. Meghan Baker also created these lists of field guides and other resources to help you with medicinal plant taxonomy and identification and a list of materials for making plant vouchers.

Tool Care for Small Farmers – 7/21/2021 – Meghan Baker and Craig Mauney, NC Extension.

2021 Events

Get these dates on your calendars. More information will be posted as it becomes available. Count on most of these being virtual!

  • The Art and Science of Plant Vouchers. In this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to create plant vouchers from pressed dry plants. Dried flowers, medicinal herbs, hops, roots, and more can be turned into art and identifiable plant mounts. Vouchers are important for your plant based business no matter how small or large and provide gardeners with a helpful way to track their heirloom plants. Keep on file for potential buyers and for your own farm/garden records (or mount as art on your wall).
    Date: February 18, 2021
    Location: Virtual event
    Cost: Free to attend
    Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    To register:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-and-science-of-plant-vouchers-tickets-138291033203
  • Tools & Equipment Care for WNC Medicinal Herb Growers – Virtual
    Keeping your tools and equipment in proper working order is essential for any small farm. Join N.C. Cooperative Extension and WNC Medicinal Herb Growers for a virtual tool care workshop where we’ll cover the care and maintenance of common tools found on the farm. N.C. Cooperative Extension Area Specialized Agent, Craig Mauney, will demonstrate cleaning and care of hand tools as well as tool sharpening basics. Note that we will only be focusing on non-powered hand tools.
    Date: March 24, 2021
    Location: Virtual Event
    Cost: FREE to attend
    Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tools-equipment-care-for-wnc-medicinal-herb-growers-tickets-138291324073
  • Annual Native Plant Taxonomy Walk for WNC Medicinal Herb Growers – Virtual
    Immerse yourself in plant taxonomy with our native spring wildflowers as the focus of this workshop. Dichotomous keys, plant family characteristics, floral morphology and habitat markers will be highlighted as we identify woodland botanicals. This hybrid event will offer live instruction and videos useful for plant identification.
    Date: April 14
    Location: Virtual Event
    Cost: FREE to attend
    Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/annual-native-plant-taxonomy-walk-for-wnc-medicinal-herb-growers-tickets-138291524673?aff=ebdsoporgprofile
  • Harvest Skills for Medicinal Herbs-Roots
    As medicinal herb growers, we strive to produce the highest quality crops. Harvesting skills and post-harvest handling decisions can significantly impact our crop quality. We will delve into proper harvesting of aerial plant parts for this virtual spring workshop. Further, we will talk about storage and quality control standards that can be implemented to document the quality and value of our crops for buyers. Finally, we will address Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) as they pertain to small herb farms.
    Date: Sept 14
    Location: Gaia Herbs, Brevard, NC
    Cost: FREE to attend
    Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
    To register: Registration Link
  • The Art and Science of Plant Vouchers
    WNC Medicinal Herb Growers invite you to attend the Art and Science of Plant Vouchers, our final workshop for the year. Participants will learn how to create plant vouchers from pressed dry plants. Bring your dry flowers, medicinal herbs, hops, roots, and more and turn them into both a verified botanical document and work of art!
    Vouchers are important for your plant based business no matter how small or large and provide gardeners with a helpful way to track their heirloom plants. Keep on file for potential buyers and for your own farm/garden records (or mount as art on your wall).
    Date: Nov 16th
    Location: (TBA)
    Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Cost: FREE to attend
    To register: Registration link

Thanks to the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program for support to continue our efforts.

To get on the mailing list for the Woodland Stewards, please email Margaret_Bloomquist@ncsu.edu.

Woodland Stewards in demonstration herb plots.

Woodland Stewards in demonstration herb plots.

And we are currently recruiting new WNC Woodland Stewards to help shape our 2022 spring and fall gatherings – Please email Margaret_Bloomquist@ncsu.edu with your interest.

See More News for WNC Medicinal Herb Growers