U.S. Senator Richard Burr Tours Gaia Herbs Facility in Honor of USDA Grant Funding

(Brevard, NC) – U.S. Senator Richard Burr visited Gaia Herbs’ medicinal herb farm and facility as part of a celebration honoring $189,000 of grant funding to Gaia Herbs from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Office. The funding was used to market two heavily researched immune support products – Quick Defense and Whole Body Defense, launched nationally in September 2006.

Senator Burr was joined by USDA Rural Development State Director John Cooper and Greg Cumberford, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Gaia Herbs in remarks that recognized the example this program made of new possibilities for healthcare, regional employment, and sustainable agriculture. Senator Burr noted that, “Americans are hungry for natural alternatives to what has typically been a drug-focused society. Efforts like the Gaia Herbs/USDA partnership represent a new option for a healthy America.”

In September 2006, Gaia Herbs received a $189,000 Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the NC Rural Development Office in Raleigh. The grant supported Gaia Herbs’ marketing efforts for two new Echinacea products that were launched last fall—Quick Defense and Whole Body Defense. The products stemmed from other research conducted by Gaia Herbs that was enabled by a $2.2 million multi-year research grant from the NIH-NCCAM that discovered and validated a novel anti-inflammatory feature in the chemistry of Echinacea roots. Echinacea is a common native North American perennial flower in the aster family which has been used traditionally for its immune-stimulating benefits.

Funding provided by the USDA VAPG grant to Gaia Herbs helped to make the company’s launch of Quick Defense and Whole Body Defense among the most successful new products in Gaia Herbs 20-year history. Marketing efforts included trade and consumer advertising (print and online), e-mail newsletters, trade show support, retailer education materials, a consumer sweepstakes that included a trip to the Gaia Herbs farm to see an Echinacea harvest, the distribution of thousands of free bottles for retailers to experience the products’ effectiveness, and an active public relations campaign. Gaia Herbs has received highly favorable media coverage for these products, including being named “Supplier of the Month” by Nutrition Industry Executive magazine.

About Gaia Herbs
Gaia Herbs is a certified organic grower and nationally-branded manufacturer of liquid herbal extracts based in Western North Carolina. The company cultivates 250 acres of medicinal herbs which, along with all operations at their 36,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, are organically certified each year by Oregon Tilth under USDA’s National Organic Program. Gaia Herbs line of all-natural herbal products is carried by independent health food retailers and co-ops, as well as national and regional natural products retail chains.

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