Our mission is simple: we are building a profitable botanical enterprise that puts West Virginians and reclaimed coal mine land back to work.
Some call this a “triple bottom line” business model, where positive impacts on people, profit and the planet are valued equally.
We offer flexible employment to people who, due to substance use issues, prior incarceration, lack of transportation, and/or lack of a high school diploma have limited opportunities for decent-paying jobs.
We are hiring and training previously unemployed or underemployed workers, some of whom lost their jobs during the coal industry downturn over the past several years. Our only formal job requirements are that workers be at least 18 years of age and able to pass a drug test. We pay above minimum wage.
Because our workers often face multiple barriers to employment, we’ve teamed with outside organizations to provide needed support services that help our workers keep these jobs. And we’ve provided a few support services of our own such as transportation, meals, and clothing.
Lavender has a wide variety of uses and lavender grown using organic practices is especially valued by consumers.
Our target market is the conscious consumer searching for high quality, healthy, and environmentally and socially responsible products. Our strong West Virginia brand identity appeals not only to local and regional residents, but also to the large numbers of visitors who stop in Southern West Virginia on their way to and from the Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, and Canada.
Our success turning lavender into value-added products also provides financial benefit to coal mine operators. Coal mine operators are legally required to restore the land they have mined. For each site mined, operators put up hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in reclamation bonds, money they do not recover until the land is deemed to be restored and productive. In West Virginia, the most common reclamation method is reforestation, an expensive and time-consuming process. Growing lavender has the potential to rapidly accelerate reclamation bond release. Growing lavender also means revenue in the form of annual rent and royalties for coal mine land owners. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Lavender thrives in the rocky soil typically found on a reclaimed coal mine site. It is drought and pest resistant, requires only a tiny amount of organic chicken fertilizer during planting, and can be grown successfully without the use of pesticides. When we watch our honeybees forage in our lavender fields, we know that we are helping to protect a species whose numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years.