For 68 years, Gary worked in the farming industry, growing up on a ranch where his family raised oats, barley, wheat, and alfalfa. At age 18, Gary drove to Canada for the first time, intent on living his dream. In Gary’s words, “In 1967, when I was 18, my dream came true when I loaded my truck and my horse and moved to British Columbia. In 1968, I got in on the last homestead act in the Caribou District with 320 acres 30 miles in the wilderness, where I began building my horse ranch and logging business.”

Following a serious logging injury in 1973, however, Gary’s path changed; and he found himself fighting through 13 years of constant debilitating pain and frustration. Once Gary began to regain the ability to walk—a miracle that defied his medical prognosis—his focus turned from logging and ranching, and he began experimenting with different modalities and many avenues of study, growing in his knowledge of herbs and natural healing. With his farming background, Gary had a particular interest in the growing, harvesting, and distillation of oils from aromatic plants.

Gary, Mr. Viaud, and Jean-Joel talk about distillation.
Gary harvesting einkorn on the Young Living farm in France, 2014.

This curiosity took him to France, where he began to learn about the country’s famous lavender-growing tradition and about the essential oil that comes from this beautiful plant.

After his first trip to Europe, he returned home with 13 different essential oils and began experimenting with them to discover and learn more about their usage and application. Gary was on the frontier of essential oil science as he began to discover what oils and oil combinations to use, what worked better, and how to apply them. With no written information in the U.S., no internet, and virtually no one with any conclusive experience, the frontier was his. So he boldly went forward to innovate and unlock the hidden mysteries of this ancient science that he instinctively understood.

In 1990, a chance meeting with Frenchman Jean-Noël Landel opened many doors for Gary in the world of the French lavender growers. Gary traveled all over France with Jean-Noël meeting growers and visiting distilleries. Jean-Noël and Gary leased their first farm in that country in 1992. They became great friends and business partners. During the next four years, Gary traveled back and forth to France spending as much time as he could, studying and working in all aspects of the production from planting to harvesting and to all factors of the distillation process.

Every aspect of the harvest and distillation was important to him because he knew that it all had to work in

Early distillers are on display at the entrance of the frankincense distillery in Spain that Gary and Mary visited in 1996.
Gary is thrilled to see the beautiful Juniper oil.
Gary is passionate about growing the ancient grain of einkorn and planted the first test crop in Mona in 2011.
The lavender is magnificent and when in bloom can be smelled miles away in the surrounding area.
The automation system is complex, but Gary loves it.

harmony to achieve the best results. Each crop was different, so he made many adjustments and modified his system according to what he saw. The early years of harvesting and distilling brought about many changes from the traditional old ways to new, innovative, and more efficient production methods. The more discoveries he made, the more his head spun with ideas, and the more Gary’s innovative “art of distillation” evolved.

During these years of studying and farming in France, Gary also established other farms in St. Maries, Idaho, and Mona, Utah. With every crop, every harvest, and every distillation, more was learned; and the new information increased Gary’s knowledge. Together, all of Gary’s knowledge and innovation ultimately became Young Living’s Seed to Seal® program. Seed to Seal was Young Living’s proprietary system that controls the sourcing, science, and standards of every product. These Seed to Seal pillars are the foundation on which Young Living global corporate offices, farms, partner farms, and certified suppliers operate. To learn more about how Seed to Seal ensures that Young Living maintains the ultimate, industry-leading standard in essential oil products, visit SeedtoSeal.com.

Today, even with the tremendous accomplishments at the farms and all that has been learned about the plants and the operation, questions continue to be asked. How can we make the planting, the harvesting, and the distillation more efficient? Is there a better way? That was the nature of Gary Young, which was why he continued to make new innovations that benefited all those in the essential oil world.

Gary operating the first Young Living harvester used on the Young Living farm in France.
Gary’s third portable, wood-fired distiller, built in St. Maries, was a good prop for the ol’ country doctor in the Steven Segal movie, The Patriot, 1998.