WNC Medicinal Herb Growers
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 and put “WNC Medicinal Herb Growers” in the subject line.
All events are linked to our Cooperative Extension Calendar, check there for times and registration details. We typically hold events in the winter, spring and fall, leaving summer open for the busy tasks of fieldwork.
At this point, all of our 2021 Events will be held virtually.
For production information on a wide range of culinary and medicinal herbs, NC State Extension’s Herb hub is the first place to begin. Specific resources for non-timber Forest Products, including woodland botanicals can be found on the New Crops and Organics website.
Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition is another excellent resource for production and value-added product information.
Plant Taxonomy and Identification
People are often eager to learn how to identify native plants that are utilized in the medicinal products industry. By far the best way to learn how to identify ANY plant is to spend time in the field observing plants and their unique details. Photos, drawings, and written notes of observations are all useful tools to draw upon. Additionally we recommend acquiring a collection of field guides and botanical resources to further expand your knowledge. Use our Recommended Field Guides and Book List to find some of our favorite resources for botanical identification.
The Art & Science of making plant vouchers is one of our most popular annual workshop events. Watch this short instructional video on how to get started making plant vouchers. Here is a list of materials for making plant vouchers that you’ll need to get started.
How to Make a Plant Voucher :
Caring for Your Tools
One of the first investments an herb farmer will sink resources into are hand tools. Hand tools are often the unsung heroes of a successful farm, and they contend with a lot of wear and tear throughout the growing season. Learn how to maintain, sharpen, and properly care for common hand tools in our handy video.
How to Care for Hand Tools: