The Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine (BRCCM) in Floyd County recently received grant awards from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the next phase of their Appalachian Herbs Growers’ work. The project is intended to be a county-wide and region-wide economic development initiative that introduces a new high-value crop and helps agriculture to be a more profitable segment of our economy. Already, through private funding and initial TRRC funding, BRCCM is working with 50 farmers and has 30,000 plants in the ground in five different tobacco counties. A number of Chinese medicinal herbs are perennials and require 2 to 3 years to mature for harvest. This is very different than annuals (like corn or tomatoes) that are harvested annually. This will require that farmers adjust their thinking, but the projections indicate that it will be well worth the effort.

The project goal is to have the Floyd region become the hub of Chinese medicinal herb production and distribution in the U.S. In effect, BRCCM is creating a new industry because there has never been the quantity of domestic production of Chinese medicinal herbs to satisfy the demand of the 27,000 Chinese medicine practitioners in the U.S. This new funding will now double plantings and begin the first major harvest of existing farms, plus add capacity for drying, processing and packaging herbs (using solar power) and selling to licensed Chinese Medicine clinical practitioners in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. This promises not only to improve income for 50 farm families, but BRCCM has committed to provide free herbal medicine to 50 patients per year.

For more information, contact is the director at BRCCM: Rob Glenn at (540) 520-2591 and

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