One Line Pitch
Creating a lavender farm for essential oils as a retirement project
Buying a property on one of the gulf islands and planting a lavender farm has always been an escapist dream of mine. When work gets frustrating, or computers are making me hate all of my life choices, I would take a break and dream about what life would be like on a lavender farm. As far as possible away from digital screens.
There are many features of lavender farming that appeals to me
- The lavender has low requirements for maintenance and propagation. They like well draining soil (rocks, pebbles, perlite, sand) with low organic material (No fertilizer), Slightly alkaline pH 7 (Most of BC), and full sun. In the summer the plants only need about 200 ml of water per full grown plant per day. (Low water requirement)
- The lavender needs to be hand harvested. This means that it can be planted on uneven surfaces such as a hillside, and no expensive upfront costs for machinery. It does mean that you need to manually shear the lavender but that’s part of the charm.
- You can harvest the lavender twice a year. Most of the year you are just maintaining the plants. They don’t have any natural pests species that you have to worry about. Work well with drip line irrigation. Now effort.
- To extract the lavender oils from the lavender stocks it requires a distillery. The distillery part is similar to my industrial brewing education from the start of my career and appeals to me as memories of a simpler time.
- Having all the equipment for distillery on hand, unused, between harvests means that I could distill other things like gin, vodka, whisky, and other spirits. This is more of a novelty for me than anything else.
- Lavender attracts pollinating species such as bees. This means that we could maintain beehives and harvest honey. This has always appealed to my partner.
- Having a bunch of pollinating species of insects around would be great for my macro photography hobby. I would catch the bugs, pose them, photograph them, and sell the photos.
- The lavender stocks can be fed to chickens as feed. The chickens would also enjoy eating all the pollinating insects that are attracted to the lavender plants. You would have some happy chickens.
- Lavender smells great. The hippies tell me that the lavender essential oils are great for stress relief and have a calming effect.
- Lots of prior art of people doing this kind of industry in BC. See BC LAVENDER NETWORK. The path to success is well documented.
- Selling the oils can be done online, or individually, or sell the whole lot to lavender wholesalers. There is not a ton of money in this harvest but it’s easy to sell.
- Easy to clone or reseed plants from existing plants makes it easier to expand and replace old plants
- You can harvest in the first year of a plant’s life, but it takes about 5 years for a plant to come to maturity.
Imagine waking up each morning and looking out of your window across a field of purple flowers, smelling the lavender, drinking tea and reading a book. Add sunshine, clean air, rocking chairs, sounds of bees buzzing, and maybe an old dog running around, honey from your own hives for your tea.
An idealistic location would be on salt spring island. It is known for small batch artisans and producers, close to the city, there are other lavender farms already on the island. It’s close to Vancouver and an airport if you want to travel. Not too far from family and friends that they can visit on weekends.
For the land, something that is on a hill that can’t be used for traditional farming, where you can build a house at the top of the hill and look down on the fields. Hopefully the hill would make the land cheaper then the corresponding normal farm field.
The lavender plants do not need a lot of water, but it would be nice to have a well on site to draw from or be connected to the municipality water system. The water can be tested before putting on the field using Idea 079 - Gorilla water quality monitoring device
Learn from others to see what they are planning, it’s easy to create a few bushes of experiments. If an experiment works out, lavender is easy to propagate in just a few years.
A unique selling feature for individual sales could be based around Idea 63 - RootedIn. Each plant would have its own name, story, background, likes and dislikes, friends (other lavender plants), photo gallery, conversations, and a wall for people to comment on. When someone buys one of our bottles of lavender essential oils it comes with a QR code to the social media page for the plant that this oil came from. Where they can interact with the plant by leaving a comment, uploading photos, etc…
- Lavender Documentary Film - Learn to Grow, Harvest, Propagate, and Distill Lavender Essential Oil
- First Year Lavender Field Update : Flower Hill Farm
Lavender is not a cash crop and does not produce a huge amount of profit. This is a retirement project. It doesn’t need to make a lot of money, it to keep you busy during the end of