Herbs have been used in cosmetics, homeopathic and other alternative medicines for centuries. These days it has become a unique part of the culinary art. Restaurants and fast food joints also uses fresh herbs to prepare delicious dishes. People at home are also starting to realize the potential of fresh herbs in home-cooked dishes. Apart from cooking, you can also find them in tea, candles, wreaths and aromatic essential oils. Naturally the demand of these organic herbs and medical plants is skyrocketing. If gardening is your hobby and you have interest in these herbs, you can grow them in your kitchen backyard.
There is a growing market for organic herbs and medicinal plants everywhere in the world. In India, they are commercially cultivated mostly for export in the foreign countries. There is a national organization for organic farmers, known as Central Herbal Agro Marketing Federation of India (http://www.chamf.org/) encouraging farmers by providing seeds, planting materials, new technologies and also marketing and other facilities. If you have free space in the backyard, then starting a farm of organic herbs and medical plants is a great way to turn your love for gardening into a money making opportunity. There are also a number of people who were able to turn their small backyard herb farm into a large-scale farming business that now makes impressive bucks than they could ever make in their 9 to 5 day jobs.
The market is out there. All you need to do is gain some knowledge and start growing. Since you will most likely be starting out as a small-scale herb farming business, you can set out with a minimal budget and do not even need a business plan. The most vital part of this business model is learning more about herbs. You need to know about thousand different types of herbs to get started. You simply need to know about some of the basic herbs which have high demand in the local market. Many herb-growers start out with the simple culinary herbs that are used in specialty foods. Once they start making money, they start to specialize in additional herbs with the expanded knowledge and experience.
- Contact another herb farmer in your local area and arrange an interview. If you cannot find anyone, find a good book about farming herbs.
- Collect as much information about organic herbs as you possibly can.
- Start to read through the information and educate yourself on the use and purpose of different types of herbs. You also need to educate yourself on growing these herbs.
Starting Your Farm
When you gained the adequate knowledge to get started with an herb farming business, you can start planting your herbs. You now have the knowledge on how to plant and grow these herbs, so it is time to implement that knowledge and start doing it yourself. Start by preparing a location in your backyard for your new herb garden. If you have dogs in the yard, then you need to find a location where they will not be able to ruin your garden. Many people enjoy creating their farm in front of the kitchen window to experience the aromas of some of the herbs.
You will also need to buy seeds that you can plant. Once you find a location where you can create your garden, prepare the space and add some compost. Now buy some seeds to get you started and plant them. Follow your own knowledge about growing the organic herbs. You have now successfully started your own herb farming business, congratulations.
Promoting Your Herbs
It is now time to find some clients for your herb business. If you start out very small, you could promote your herbs to friends and family members. You’d be surprised at how many of your friends are in dire need of fresh herbs for their dishes. Sell your herbs to your friends at a reasonable price and ask them to tell their friends about you. Be sure they have your address and contact number on hand to give to referrals.
Once your herb garden expands a bit, you can start to contact local businesses that might be interested in your herbs. Restaurants are always on the lookout for affordable suppliers of fresh herbs. Many of these restaurants prefer to use local farmers, so you can use this fact to your advantage. There are also supermarkets and organic food stores in most areas. Contact these businesses and advise them on your farming business. You should have a price list on hand to email them so that they can know how much you are going to charge them.
Other ways to promote your business include putting posters up on notice boards, handing out flyers and placing adverts in local newspapers. Be sure to note on your advertising material that you grow organic herbs. You can even prepare a brochure that tells clients about the advantages and health benefits of these herbs. Include your price list and contact details on the brochure and hand it out wherever your target market may be.
Farming herbs can be a lucrative income opportunity, even when you start out small. Many organic herb growers have started out in their backyard and have been able to use the money that their organic business brings them to buy larger pieces of land. There are also many cases where an herb farming business started out in a backyard and soon expanded into a national business. The key is to do proper research beforehand and to educate you on herbs. The next step is to take action without any delays.