Since the very beginning, Gaia Herbs has been committed to quality. When our beautiful 350-acre farm came into the picture in 1996, we took that idea of quality to the next level. Here are some inspiring facts about our farm that you may not be aware of.
We Protect Our Pollinators
Pollinators play such an important role in our environment, so we do as much as we can on our farm to protect them. Since 2017, our farm has been a certified Monarch Waystation. We’ve planted dozens of Swamp Milkweed plants to ensure that the butterflies get the food they need, and have a safe place to lay their eggs. We also have 200 beehives on our farm. With honey bees performing about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide, it’s on us to create lasting environments to help support them.1
It's Certified Organic to Nurture Plants, People and Planet
The quality of our plants starts with the land. Several of our ingredients are Certified Organic by the USDA, but we have been proud to say that our farm has been Certified Organic through Oregon Tilth since 1997. What makes an organic farm different than a non-organic farm? It undergoes rigorous testing. In our case, that testing is done by Oregon Tilth. They look at every aspect of the land, soil conditions, how we manage weeds and pests, our production methods and facilities, and storage areas, just to name a few. Oregon Tilth is considered one of the most reputable field certifying agencies.
Natural Erosion Barriers Help Keep Our Water Clean
Protecting our soil and water quality is so important for the herbs that we grow on our farm. The farm sits along Cathey's Creek, which we use as a natural water source if rain is scarce during the growing season. After non-ideal weather conditions in 2018, we've also been taking measures to fight erosion naturally. One way that we do this is through an erosion barrier along Cathey's Creek, that has been created out of tree branches and other natural debris that was found around the farm. This erosion barrier helps to prevent the negative effects of a big storm and keeps our water source clean.
Seeds are Saved to Ensure Integrity
We save 80-85% of our seeds, which not only guarantees quality year in and year out, but it upholds our integrity as the leading provider in herbal supplements. This practice of saving seeds helps to ensure that we have consistent high-quality plants. It also cuts costs on our end, which helps to minimize price increases for you. With our farm being located along the sides of Cathey’s Creek, and just minutes away from the Pisgah National Forest and the DuPont State Recreational Forest, our growing conditions are lush and unique compared to many others. By saving our seeds, we know that these plants have the ability to adapt to these growing conditions.
Vegetables are Grown for our Employers
It's important for us to give back to our employees and to support their well-being. They are the heart of our operation, and they deserve the best. That’s why we have 12 acres of our organic farm dedicated to growing fresh produce just for them. During our growing season, all employees receive organic lunches two times a week, prepared by our amazing Wellness Chef. If we don’t have certain ingredients on site, we work with other local farmers in the area to source what we need. On top of these delicious lunches, our employee break rooms turn into small farmers markets three times a week, offering fresh produce for our employees to take home.
White Squirrels Live Here!
These are not albino squirrels like many would believe, but actually Eastern Gray squirrels that have a mutated gene that gives them their white coat.2 In Brevard, NC, where our farm and headquarters are located, the entire community loves these squirrels, and even has a festival dedicated for them! At the farm, we are in the process of planting nut trees that the squirrels will enjoy, to ensure that they have a safe home on our farm.
1 Save the Bees. Greenpeace. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/sustainable-agriculture/save-the-bees/
2 Fast Facts: White Squirrels. Coastal and Marine Laboratory. https://marinelab.fsu.edu/education/virtual-classroom/fast-facts/white-squirrels/