The Loss of French Lavender Farms

lavender farm in Provence, France

Drought and a plant virus strike lavender farms in Provence, France.

As we drove over the plateau on the mountain top, field after field was in the same condition. Ten years ago I wanted to buy a farm on the plateau that I fell in love with and had taken many distributors to see. It was a beautiful 300-plus-acre, organic, Lavandula angustifolia farm that was nestled high above the main plateau in a valley at 5,000 feet. Over the years I had visited this farm, and three times I tried to purchase it, but the farm was never for sale.

However, the owner was able to grow and supply the oil for us to make up the difference when our own production was short because of our growing demand. This year the farm is sadly for sale. The dead and dying plants, caused by the drought as well as by a virus that has attacked and killed the lavender plants, caused a rapid drop in production and, of course, income, which put so much stress on the family that it resulted in a divorce.

This year the production on his farm was down 60 percent from previous years. There is no way this man can recover, and if he doesn’t sell the farm, he will simply lose it to the bank. Unfortunately, he is only one of many farmers in similar situations. In addition, many distilleries on the plateau were out of operation this year.

Jean Noel and I had a lot of discussion about our farm and distillery. We wondered what to do about the distillery simply because there was no crop. Many farmers who are hoping the lavender will come back are talking about keeping just one central distillery in operation and selling the others, if they can find buyers.

12 thoughts on “The Loss of French Lavender Farms

  1. Dear Gary
    If only you could persuade the extra-ordinary Mahendra Kumar Trivedi to bless the lavender fields. Please go to the website if you haven’t heard of him. http://www.trivedifoundation.org
    I feel that you represent so many people around the world that Guruji (as he is called)…would respond to you. He is in the United States.
    Ann
    in Ireland….blessed for twenty years in using your essential oils. Thank you.

  2. Gary,
    Would it be alright if we as Christian Young Living Distributors collectivly have a time of prayer to Our father in the name of Jesus for the people in France who have lost so much from the death of the lavender and also for Young Living? The enemy will flee when so many pray! This company is powered by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! We can pray that this bad situation be turned around for something good for them and for young Living and for inner peace and joy. May God richly bless you and your family. Thank you for all you do.
    Marilyn Buchanan, Oklahoma City,OK

  3. we are certified organic farmers in Iowa. We’d be interested in chat with you about growing lavender in our area. Growing, harvesting etc. . .

  4. Have you tried seed from YL farm to see if it is resistent to this virus?Plant it in France see what happens . nothing to lose,maybe every thing to gain.

  5. Hi Gary

    I was very saddened to read this blog. My husband passed away 2years ago a very painful time. My daughters wanted to go with me to France in 3 weeks to experience the healing fields of lavender.All we wanted was to spend time in a clean safe place to be with the people and the culture. Is there any place we can go ? Are any of the fields thriving?

    I will pray for you and ask others also.

    Linda

  6. Dear Linda:
    My condolences on your loss. What a peaceful time you would have in the lavender fields of Provence, France. Yes, many fields were decimated, but on our Simiane-la-Rotonde, France, farm, we have high hopes for our crops of lavandin, rosemary, and clary sage. Perhaps next year will be a better year for lavender in France. Our lavender fields in Mona, Utah, and St. Maries, Idaho, have been blooming spectacularly if you decide to stay closer to home. We have many distributors who come to participate in the harvest at St. Maries, which is happening now, and you are very welcome to join us. Call our office for details.

    Gary

  7. Dear Gary,

    Indeed, the world is going through so much change. As I was reading the blog, a deep feeling of loss overwhelmed my heart. It is so sad to acknowledge situations and feel powerless about them. I am sorry for the loss.

    Cristina

  8. Dear Gary,
    It was wonderful to be at Australian Convention with you. (We had a conversation about chainsaw injuries on Sunday). Brian (My husband) and I are passionate about the health of the land. We are manufacturing a soil and plant conditioner which is made with waste wild harvested from small fish and kelp. We have found that one of the vital keys to healthy plants is encouraging healthy soil biology, and when you feed and nurture the soil biology pathogenic bacterial and fungal issues disappear or dramatically reduce, the plants tolerance of stress increases and water requirement diminishes. We are getting continuing reports back from people using our product that their sick Australian natives (Suspected dieback) are healthy and growing again. At convention you mentioned about putting fish liver out on the farm, so I am sure you are well aware of all of this, but somehow just felt compelled to share. Thank you for your wonderful work and your dedication to the wider Young Living family.
    Pip

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