Season 1, Episode 4
Our guest on this episode of the Life in the Carolinas podcast is Camille F. Edwards, Executive Director of the North Carolina Herb Association. The Association provides networking and promotion opportunities to growers and manufacturers of North Carolina’s herbs as well as workshops and classes to the general public and those interested in becoming involved with the industry. The herb and botanical industry in North Carolina averages $2 billion per year and includes common herbs such as lavender, ginseng, echinacea, lemon balm, golden sill, ginger root, mushrooms, black cohosh, and medical marijuana or hemp.
Camille has been working with the Department of Agritourism to get plans in place for future farm promotions and tours. She has also found that as soy, corn, and tobacco are being increasingly produced in other countries, the NC farmers who have been producing these crops are interested in transitioning their fields to herb growing, providing the opportunity for the industry to grow even more in the coming years. An additional opportunity that Camille has pinpointed is the harvesting of woodland medicinals, which grow in the undergrowth of forests that are often used for lumber. Woodland medicinals are difficult to grow in an artificial environment, so it is imperative to intentionally give them time and space to grow naturally and be harvested before the lumber is harvested in the area. One challenge that Camille has observed in her work is that many farmers want to keep to themselves, but she knows that they would benefit from being involved in a community of like-minded herb growers once they decide to sign on.
You may not be aware that North Carolina is well-known for its herbal schools and the herbalists that conduct business in the state, and there is likely a local herb association in your area that would be a good resource for questions specific to your locale. Herbalists are a great resource if you are wondering if certain herbal supplements will interact with any prescription medications you are taking or if you are unsure how herbs are best used. During the last weekend of July every year, the NC Herb Association hosts the Wild Herb Weekend, so be sure to check that out next year!
Connect with the NC Herb Association: