Appalachian Botanical Co. finds new potential in West Virginia resources.
Would you believe that carefully crafted essential oils, bundles of aromatic lavender stems, and sumptuous body creams could all find their beginnings in the soil of West Virginia coal country? This budding reality in Boone County isn’t just luxurious, it’s also helping to put the area’s residents and land back to work.
Through sustainable agriculture on reclaimed coal mine land, Appalachian Botanical Co. is growing acres upon acres of lavender that it then transforms into lavish products. No part of the plant goes to waste—stems are bundled and sold to be used in fireplaces or grills, the flowers are transformed into oils, sprays, honeys, and lotions, and the remainder is sent back to the earth through compost. The care that goes into these products mean you get more than your typical essential oil from a big box store.
“We’re proud that we’re growing using organic principles,” Jocelyn Sheppard, founder and president of the company, says, adding that the company is in the process of applying for its USDA-certified organic status. “Let’s say I go shopping online for a lavender essential oil. I don’t necessarily know what I’m getting. We can say that all of the lavender oil we sell, the lavender mist, all of our products, are made with lavender we’re growing there in Ashford.”
Infinite potential is seen in not just the farm’s crops, but in its staff as well. “We believe in second-chance employment,” Sheppard says, noting that Appalachian Botanical Co. is happy to employ those who might have difficulty finding a job elsewhere because of prior substance abuse issues or incarceration. “The farm is a beautiful place that can be very nurturing and healing for people of all kinds, but especially people who have been through stress and trauma, and who just want a pretty, healthy place to work.”
Appalachian Botanical Co. is run mainly by women who are in their 40s or over who may have had prior career paths, which Sheppard says is another way the company thrives on finding untapped potential in everyone and everything. “It shows you can do really exciting things at any age, if the spirit’s willing and the opportunity is there.”
1889 Daniel Boone Parkway, 304.956.4015, @appalachianbotanicalco on FB