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Business of Herbs

| 7/25/2008 11:04:43 AM

If you own an herb business, or have ever dreamed of having one, you must check out the International Herb Association (IHA), the trade association for herb professionals. Don’t be put off by its big-sounding name: This group is rich in everything a membership association should be—collegiality, support, usefulness and spirit.

Last weekend, I attended IHA’s annual conference (this one held in Gettysburg, Pa.). What a great meeting; what a great group. In-depth presentations covered everything from strategic planning for herb businesses to website insights to promising new plants, and much more. Tom and Madeline Wajda hosted a delicious al fresco dinner at their beautiful Willow Pond herb farm, where members exchanged ideas and had fun. Most members operate small businesses, such as hand-packaged culinary blends, all-natural herbal soaps or essential oils. Others operate large, long-established nurseries. All are welcoming and generous, happy to share ideas and lessons learned. As one attendee noted, "I just learned more from this 1-hour seminar than I did from an entire semester of a university class on the same topic."

I’ve dreamed of having my own little herb farm for at least 20 years now. Still haven’t gotten around to it … and that’s OK. I’ve just added a wealth of information to my “future” file, all gathered at the IHA meeting last week. Hope to see you there next year.

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