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La Paix Herb Farm

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La Paix Herb Farm
  (Steward) Myra Bonhage-Hale



Founded:  1981

Location:  3052 Crooked Run Rd., Alum Bridge, WV 26321
North Central West by God Virginia

  contract, seasonal:  1   Apprentice 2007:  1

Q: How did you start (or become owner) of the business?
  Wanted an inexpensive, not to say cheap, acreage where I could grow organically  and found it in WV. in 1981.    Before retiring in 1991, organized a tour of organic farms in the area which were members of MSOGBA (Mountain State Organic Grower and Buyers Association).  This was so successful I began having monthly workshops.

Q:  What made you choose this type of business?
 Became interested in the environment through the League of Women Voters in Balto., - I was a member and had a radio program called Politics and People.  We examined various issues in government by doing in depth  research and discussion.  Loving gardening, I realized that organic gardening and being environmentally friendly were also a political and ethical  statement.  Haven’t stopped since!

Q:  What is your background?
  Grew up on La Paix Lane in Towson Maryland, a suburb which was enhanced by the fact that F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived at the homestead of the La Paix estate.  Towson High School, Academic.  Washington College, Chestertown Maryland, B.A., Psych., Soc., Spanish majors.  U. of Md. School of Social Work MSW community organization major.  Boston University, Psychiatric Rehabilitation trainer.  Australasian College of Herbal Studies:  Aromatherapy in Provence.

Q:  What are your biggest challenges as an herb business?  Keeping my enthusiasm despite not making much money.

Q:  What are the biggest rewards of being an herb business?
  Being able to inspire apprentices and the participants to explore, create and be all they can be.

Q:  What is your philosophy of customer service?
  I always go the extra mile.

Q:  What makes you stand out from your competitors?
  I inspire people.

Q:  What plans do you have for your business? 
Continue it as long as I can.

Q:  Is your family supportive of your business? 
Yes, but mostly from a distance.

Q:  What do you wish you’d done differently with the business
?  Made a business plan – and had more money to invest.

Q: What do you think people starting out should know about getting into your type of business? 
You’re not going to get rich in $.

Q:  How has the internet helped/hurt your business? 
It has helped it immeasurably – now have about 200 visits a day, over 5000 a month from all over the world. 

Q: How long has it taken for your website to pay off? 
What is a pay off?  If in satisfaction that I am doing all I can do, immediately.

Q: What things have you done to promote your website? 
Everything I can possibly think of that doesn’t cost $.  Having the support and help of Maureen Rogers of the Herb Growing and Marketing Network over the years has been so helpful, as well as recent membership in the herb business list serve.  I am very pleased that the Wild Wonderful West Virginia magazine with a wide circulation is featuring La Paix for the second time (1995 the first time) in June of 2007. 

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to tell people about your business, growth, or plans? 
Come visit me really or virtually at www.lapaixherbfarm.com   there’s something new all the time.  For instance, although I have had three other research grants from SARE (USDA sustainable agriculture), I was turned down for one which I recently submitted.  This extensive research was to determine if stinging nettle could be a viable fertilizer and herbicide for farmers all over the world (stinging nettle grows in Siberia and South Africa).  If it was proved that stinging nettle was effective, poor farmers and environmentally friendly farmers all over the world could improve their crops by using a resource growing on their own farms.  I intend to publish the entire research application on the web and ask for funding of the research.  One of my main characteristics is perseverance.  You might have guessed


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