Hello to all the Medicinal Herb Growing & Marketing Conference participants,
The MHG&MC was the first-time coalescence of herb farmers and herbal
product industry representatives in the United States and has laid the
groundwork for enormous economic potential in the years and decades to come.
The refrain we heard over and over again during the conference was
‘quality, quality, quality.’ Better quality herbs means better quality
products. We also need a better quality of human relationships in the supply
chain. Fair trade and non-exploitation of human labor or the environment.
Sustainability of wildcrafting was a topic of conversation. The public will
benefit from a more robust medicinal herb industry. People’s general
health and welfare will be improved as the herbal industry’s product quality
While the conference was billed as a Pacific
Northwest regional event, it was clear from the start that it had a national
appeal. People attended from Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania,
North Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, California, Montana, Idaho, as
well as representatives from Canada, China, Somalia, Iran and several Native
American nations. Our plans are to make the 2017 MHG&MC even more of a
national event. There is obviously a need and a desire.
there were glitches and things to improve. This was a first time event. One
of the most obvious problems was that the printed program of workshop times
and locations did not always match the on-site schedule board. A few
workshops and panels did not happen due to schedule changes, presenters not
making it to the conference or lack of interest. Signage to get people to
the classrooms was sketchy till Mary McNutt added a lot of signage in the
classroom buildings. We will get on that much earlier next time.
One limitation is that I had never put on an event at Fort Worden
before and was unfamiliar with the classrooms. I had to guess how many
people would attend each workshop to assign them rooms and did not always
guess right. Some workshops were filled to overflowing. Ryan Drum’s and
James Jungwirth’s hilarious and informative Seaweed Wildcrafting class was
one glaring example of a space way too small for the crowd that wanted to
attend. Another limitation was that some of Fort Worden’s largest conference
rooms were booked by another event on Saturday and so we did not have as
many large group spaces as we could have used. It looks like we will
do the next MHG&MC at Fort Worden and will book up the facilities much
earlier so we have more spaces to work with and we will have more
familiarity with the classrooms and their capacity as well as with the meal
system and the lodging facilities. For 2017 we will reserve all the
classrooms and lodging well in advance. Fort Worden currently has me
penciled in for March 24 - 26, 2017.
In retrospect, one of my
biggest mistakes was in not giving time for Peter McCoy to deliver his
promised keynote at the closing circle. My apologies to Peter and to
everyone. I will write up some of my thoughts on Radical Herbology to
make up for this shortfall and perhaps Peter will write something up to post
as well. Having Jeff Carpenter and Yvan Rochon give keynotes in the middle
of the Tasting was a challenging assignment and we won’t do that again.
Next time we’ll have the Saturday evening keynotes just prior to the
We will improve a lot of things at the next conference. We
had 5 months lead time for the 2016 event and now have almost 12 months till
the 2017 conference.
We have set up two comments forms on the
conference page so
you can post your Compliments and Suggestions for Improvements.
We would love to hear what you liked about the conference while it’s still
fresh in our memories and how it was helpful for you (and the herbal
movement). And we would like to hear how we can do even better next year.
Some early comments:
“This was very rich and
dense event full of well everything herbal! It was a resoundingly successful
event! This year went so well that next year is going to be big.” Peg
“It was an honor to participate in the conference. Thank you
for giving a voice to all of our botanical friends and allies.” Brian
“The weekend was wonderful and I'm looking
forward to next year already. I have a lot of incredible connections and
inspiration for the next year.” Rachael Fairbanks.
“What a fantastic
weekend, Michael Pilarski. Congratulations!” Katrina Svoboda Johnson.
“Yes! Fantastic! So much gratitude to you for the gathering heart
emoticon.” Nicki Neilson.
A huge amount of
photographs were taken by numerous people at the event. We want to put
together a photo album page on the MHG&MC website. Please send us your
best photos to add to the photo album. Jeff Eichen has already shared
115 of his photos on the MHG&MC Facebook Event pages (some of which are
represented here). Here's where you can
. Jeff will eventually post even more of his photos and videos
on his website
Richard Cedar Reese and his AV/audio crew made audio
recordings for about half of the conference sessions (hundreds of hours) and
after Cedar does some editing these will be available for a minimal price.
Stay tuned to the website for updates about this. VIDEO:
be posting the best videos of individual workshops, panels and keynotes on
our website as they get edited. If you took video recordings we’d love
to receive them to add to our collection of videos for inclusion in our
video reports. We will have a Dropbox to send large documents to. Who would
like to be on the crew working on the video project?
Lots more to
follow in the days, weeks and months ahead as the impact of the conference
spreads and grows.
Herbal love to all,
Michael Pilarski, Conference Coordinator.