Pangaea Plants awarded $10,000 in American Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge

Photo courtesy of Pangaea Plants

PRESS RELEASE from Pangaea Plants:

LAKE LURE, NC – Gabriel Noard, President of Pangaea Plants, was presented with a $10,000 check on November 1, 2017, for winning the “America’s Best Farm Startup” award in the American Farm Bureau’s 2018 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The award validates Noard’s early prediction of the market demand for herbs that Pangaea Plants has already begun to meet.

Since 2015, Pangaea Plants is the only company in the country that produces packaged Certified Biodynamic® medicinal herbs. “Winning this Farm Bureau award certainly confirms the huge demand for domestically-grown high-quality herbs right now,” Noard notes, explaining that his company “grows, processes, and packages top-quality organic and biodynamically-certified herbs for medicinal use. We sell to local and national herbal supplement companies, as well as offering pre-packaged dried herbs and teas that look great on the store shelf or the kitchen counter.”

Winning the “Best Startup Farm” award in a contest that received applications from 47 states is a great honor for Pangaea Plants, but Noard says that the award is equally a vote of confidence in WNC farmers. The 2018 Farm Bureau contest featured “startups that highlight diverse and emerging trends in food and agriculture,” and Noard believes that herb farming is an “emerging trend” ideally suited to the WNC area.

In his own contest application, Noard stressed the potential profit in herb growing for area farmers, and the need to help the wider community transition to a new crop. Pangaea Plants offers demonstrations of growing and processing herbs, but growers also need to learn many less visible aspects of the business to be successful.

To that end, he has plans underway to offer a training course in growing herbs for the rapidly expanding market.

Herb Farmer Training and Certification Course Planned

Gabriel Noard is developing an “Herb Farmer Training and Certification Course,” to train both beginning and experienced farmers who are serious about getting into the herb business. The course will be designed for people who are dedicated to making a difference and are ready to pursue a career in quality herb production.

The planned in-depth curriculum is both holistically and scientifically based: “So we might plant by the stars, but harvest when the phenolics and alkaloids measure at the best,” Noard says:

“Students will learn a broad assortment of essential skills to launch them in the industry. From herbalism and biodynamics, to new food safety laws, basic laboratory skills and the mechanics of specialized equipment, to accounting and marketing, and in bringing new vitality and energy into the soil, and the farmers quality of life.”

Students will also learn of the many resources and experts available to them. Noard notes that there are already numerous local organizations that support this work, such as the Organic Growers School, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Mountain Biz Works and the Cooperative Extension.

Noard knows that, as the herb industry continues to flourish, more herb farmers, herbal businesses, and herbal manufacturers will appear and more opportunities for everyone will arise. There will be an industry demand for training programs like his. And maybe, over time, from these small beginnings, prosperity will come to Western North Carolina, its herb industry, and its farm families. (Pangaea Plant’s Challenge Video)

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