Conference Goals

The goal of the conference is to increase the production and demand for quality herbs in the Pacific Northwest; and to increase the number of growers at all scales, from farmers to backyard growers. The Conference is an opportunity for herbal product manufacturers, herb stores and herbalists, to source their herb needs direct from growers. Similar to a farm to school networking conference where you get food producers together with food buyers.  In our case it is medicinal plants. 

This conference aims to explore the current state of the Pacific Northwest herbal trade.  Who are the growers? Who are the manufacturers? Who are the buyers? We will be looking at local, regional, national and international markets.We will have dozens of presenters from the PNW region as well as a sprinkling from elsewhere in the US and Canada.

Someone asked the other day “Why another herb conference? Aren’t we already saturated?”  Certainly there are lots of herb gatherings these days. My 2015 List of Herb Gatherings in the Pacific Northwest [posted on this website} lists 16 large herbal events. I think it is great that herb gatherings are proliferating. It shows growth in the movement.  Each event is unique with a somewhat different, and somewhat overlapping, set of clientele, different emphases, different venues, different vibe. Vive la difference.
The Medicinal Herb Growing and Marketing Conference is unique in that it will fill the need for growers to get together to talk about herb growing, and discuss their problems and concerns. As far as I know this will be the first conference focused on herb growing in the Pacific Northwest. There have been few herb growing conferences in North America. The most notable is Richter’s annual Herb Growing Conference held in Ontario for some years running and their on-line Conference Proceedings are a wealth of info. There have been several small conferences in the eastern US and at least one in British Columbia. 
The goal of this conference is to benefit the herb growers, the herb trade and the end customers.  How can more herbs be produced? How can quality be improved? How can more end-users benefit?  Making money is a necessary component, but people’s health is the main object.  We are striving to improve the condition of the human race.  The world is full of sickness and despair.  Herbs can help alleviate much suffering.  They can forestall illnesses.  They can heal illnesses. How can more people have access to good quality herbs and herbal products?  How can Northwest growers benefit by meeting this need?
Here are some of the audiences the conference is meant to serve:
* First-wave, renaissance herb farmers. 30 years+ experience. People like Mark Wheeler, Herbal Ed Smith, and Richo Cech. We’d like to give you some awards.
* 2nd wave herb farmers.
* Hope-to-be herb farmers. This conference will be valuable for anyone thinking about growing medicinal crops.
* Small-scale growers.
* People educating the greater public about growing herbs at home.
* Herb buyers. Tincture companies, wholesale herb companies, essential oil distilleries, etc
* Herbalists. Many herbalists are passionately interested in growing herbs and grow herbs for their practice.  Most of them purchase herbs and herbal products for their practice. Herbalists can help inform growers what needs growing.
* Wildcrafters. Wildcrafting will be part of the conversation.  Many herb growers are also wildcrafters.  Some cultivated crops are also wildcrafted. Some of what is currently wildcrafted could be brought into cultivation.  Most buyers purchase wildcrafted  as well as cultivated material.
* Researchers, students, educators, gardeners, naturopaths, acupuncturists, nutritionists, permaculturalists, homesteaders, and more!
The Conference is a wonderful educational & networking opportunity that will strengthen the health and vitality of the herbal community in general and herb farmers in particular.  Join us!