In late July, I had the unique pleasure of visiting Gaia Herbs Farm in Brevard, North Carolina. Gaia Herbs creates herbal remedies, with 25% of raw materials coming from its own farm. When Gaia buys herbs, it sources responsibly from organic farms, and it uses “Land Steward Harvesters,” a network of ecologically sensitive wild-crafters, to gather responsibly from forest habitats.
Mary Bove, Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and formulator and consultant for Gaia, treated us to a full tour of the farm and grounds and spoke extensively about the growing practices, research, use, and formulation of the numerous herbs, flowers, and trees cultivated on the 250 acres. Developed 30 years ago, the location was chosen by Founder and CEO Ric Scalzo because, incredibly, the vast majority of plants that can be grown in all of the United States can be grown in and around Brevard. The thriving (and currently expanding) farm and manufacturing plant are surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Pisgah National Forest. Irrigation is provided by Cathy’s Creek, which flows from the protected forest through Gaia’s land.
Focusing on a deep desire to connect plants and people, Gaia Farms grows forty-five species (five million plants!), which are grown organically, for medicinal extracts, as well as cultivating fruit and vegetable gardens to feed Gaia employees and to provide donations to a local food bank, Bread of Life. The farm is certified organic by the strict standards of Oregon Tilth. Raw materials acquired from outside sources are rigorously tested to be sure they are organic and/or ecologically cultivated, as well as free of pesticides, heavy metals, and any other contaminants. Purchasers of Gaia products can literally follow the history of the ingredients by using a totally unique “Meet Your Herbs” ID number found on every package, thus adhering to Gaia’s philosophy of seed-to-shelf traceability.
Dedication to being mindful of our future and of our Earth is profoundly evident in the practices of Gaia’s farming and manufacturing. Trucks and tractors run on local biodiesel, and solar panels heat the water. Packing materials follow a closed loop system, as cardboard refuse is sent to the manufacturer of Gaia’s shipping materials, making the boxes and packing materials 100 percent recycled. Crops are rotated and fields nourished between plantings to maintain the healthy, rich soil.
The integrity of Gaia Herbs, evident in every aspect of their farming, manufacturing, and employment of people, as well as in their commitment to nurturing the community and the land, goes above and beyond other manufacturers’. The purity and potency of every finished product is the result of that integrity and dedication. My visit to Gaia Herbs Farm reaffirmed in me a strong connection to the important work of caring for every detail of creating the highest quality products for Weaver Street Market’s customers, helping to support a healthy and thriving community.
All Gaia products are on sale for 25% off through November 1, 2016.