FARMER TRAINING COURSE ATTRACTS INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION WHILE ENCOURAGING US TO BUY LOCAL
by Gabriel Noard
“I’m a farmer who grows farmers.”
What started as an organic veggie and herb farm 8 years ago is now a thriving Certified Biodynamic® and organic medicinal herb farm and training center, as well as a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary.
Founder Gabriel Noard recognized the need to work with his environment, including his community and saw the need for sustainably grown herbs that would protect the plant populations in his local Appalachian Mountains, and build the diversity and health of his farm, and ultimately the prosperity of his community.
What he found was that not only are the herbs endangered, but that the knowledge of how to grow, harvest, dry, and process these herbs in scale is also a much endangered art. Though the public’s desire to learn is growing, there are are only a handful of sustainable production size herb farms in the country—a country that spent $37 billion on natural supplements last year.
Within 3 years of orienting the farm to only medicinal herbs, the farm, Pangaea Plants has had visitors
and applicants from all across the U.S., and as far as Vancouver, B.C., Kenya, and Beijing. The popularity led them to be voted Best Farm Start Up of the Country by the National Farm Bureau and put on the cover of Acres USA magazine. The demand for knowledge on how to sustainably supply our growing appetite for herbs is genuinely on the rise.
The increase in populations and interest in medicinal herbs has grown exponentially and the pros and cons of this have been felt throughout the wild. There is currently a culmination happening highlighting the importance of sustainably growing the domestic supply of medicinal herbs, and providing the country with safe, eﬀective unadulterated herbs.
Pangaea Plants herbs, grown as close to better than nature as you can get, are Certified Biodynamic by Demeter USA, and the quality and freshness of their herbs are always remarkable. The farm is kept without additional inputs and the biodiversity of the land encouraged. Crops are alternated with cover crops, and tons of compost are made every year. The farm meets strict standards of agriculture set in place nearly 100 years ago. That includes placing value on the parts of a farm that are often absent from farms today, namely biodynamics. This includes valuing biodiversity and working with the energetic and cosmic forces that help keep the environment in balance. The centurion methods also naturally support regenerative agriculture, which has now become known as the surest way to combat climate change.
The company also produces these herbs according to modern strict federal standards outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that dictate further the safe growing and harvesting procedures for the human consumption of these sustainably grown herbs.
Pangaea Plants has developed an Herb Farmer Training Course to teach students the intricacies of the natural products industry. Led by industry experts, the course is designed for those serious in a career in the natural products industry. Three courses are oﬀered—a spring and fall 6-week course and a summer long 6-month course. In one year there could be 40 new herb farmers trained, each able to convert 10 acres or more into sustainable certified biodynamic herb production.
The demand for sustainable domestic and local herb production can only be sustained if we ask for it. Support for this course has until now only been a conversation, and options for these herbs were nonexistent. The situation will only change as we continue to seek the sustainable herb farmer and their products.
Farmer Gabriel Noards’ thirst for connections to the herb growing community is insatiable. Comments, tricks, and tips for herb growing are graciously received. He and the farm can be reached at www.pangaeaplants.com.