United States Lavender Growers Association

logo_founderAh, where to begin…..  In this post, I told of how we came to start SHL.  But there’s another story that happened along the way too.  I started the United States Lavender Growers Association – a national non-profit to “support and promote” the US lavender industry.  Wha???  Yep.  Here’s THAT story….

In Feburary, 2011, we attended our first lavender conference.  We met so many people and learned so much – so much!  During that weekend, something had been mentioned about that someone had tried to start a national group, but due to a death, it was not carried on.  I also heard later that someone else had tried to create such a group but it didn’t work.  And somehow, somewhy, it popped into my head that I could start a national group….I’m good at starting things and I’m a project manager!  Boy…little did I know!  So Mike Neustrom introduced me to the wife of the man that had done work previously and I got more information.  I contacted the people that had been involved previously and started leading our band of souls in June 2011.   We started at square 1 and had to figure out our mission, name (that came *after* the mission!), vision, operating structure, membership categories, articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies and procedures, logo, website, member benefits, membership cost, committees, membership application needs, voting procedures, and on and on.  We needed an organization that would bring together lavender growers and enthusiasts and industry suppliers across the nation, would represent them, be a voice for them, and provide education, research networking, marketing,

The mission of USLGA is to support and promote the United States lavender industry through research, education, networking and marketing.

That was one committed group of volunteers that became the Founding Members of USLGA.  In April 2012, we started taking members – a massive, Massive milestone.  We weren’t sure how many people would sign up and we weren’t sure what the future would hold – except that we had ideas and plans.  In that first year, we had 90 members!  And we continued to grow, learn, adapt, and move forward.  We even put on a national conference in October of 2013 – a Huge undertaking all done by volunteers.  As of the writing of this, we now have 223,  members and we’re working on advocacy issues for the industry, advertizing opportunities, educational and research topics (surveys and reports!), regular members newsletters that are packed full, another national conference, extending our PR reach, creating design standards and guidelines, and so many more things.  I am the Founding President and my term will end in March 2015.  It’s like watching a child grow and knowing you’ve done everything in your power to help, support, and develop them.  I look back and still can’t believe how much work and dedication it took to accomplish this, and I am extremely proud of myself, the Founding members, the current board members, and my family – oh yes, they were along for the ride too. 🙂   And now we have our own farm that can benefit from this organization!

– Mary B.