Past Events
May 27, 2017
Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association Annual Meeting, May 27, 2017 held at Caprine Goat Center, Tuskegee University
AMPGA’s Spring 2017 conference was held at Global Center for Postharvest Research and Training at Tuskegee University. Updates on medicinal plants research were given by representatives from Auburn, Tuskegee and Alabama A&M universities. Dr. Dennis Shannon gave a presentation on black turmeric. Jewel and Russell Bean discussed their experiences growing Moringa. Representatives from USDA FSA and NRCS gave an overview of current resources their agencies have available for medicinal plant producers. New officers were elected to the Board of Directors. New officers include: Jayme Oates, President, Lindsey Lunsford, Vice President, Dr. Muhjah Shakir, Secretary, Greg Lolley, Treasurer, Subha Ravi, Evelyn Coke-Fluker and Asaud Frazier, Board Members.

The Spring/Summer meeting was Saturday, July 11, 2015 at the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station, 372 Walker Lane, Hazelgreen, AL
(256)-372-4248. 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The fee for the meeting will be $35 (includes light snacks, lunch and tours). The public will welcome to attend!! Registration at the door.
1. Straight from the Buyer: Current trends, quality issues and marketing strategies. Edward Fletcher, COO, Strategic Sourcing –
2. Production Practices for Popular Forest Medicinal Plants: Robin Suggs, Owner, Moon Branch Botanicals. and
3. Herbal Remedies and Preparations. Phyllis Light, Herbalist, Arab, AL
4. Locally grown medicinal herbs and markets. Alice Evans, Lindsay Whiteaker, and Summer McCreless
5. Year round production of medicinal herbs. Russell Bean, S&B Farm.
1. Medicinal Plants Research at AAMU Agricultural Research Station
2. Medicinal plat tour at Wade Mountain Preserve, Spragins Hollow Road, Huntsville – Identification and medicinal uses of local medicinal plants – Phyllis Light, Herbalist, Arab, AL

Limited scholarships are available through the Small Farms Research Center, AAMU. Contact JaMarkus Crowell at (256)372-4424

Hotel information:
1. DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Huntsville south, Rate: $90/night/double or single. (256)882-9400
To book your accommodation visit: id=POG
mention group name AMPGA Conference; Group Code; PGA
2. VIP INN & SUITES – Rate $45/night/double or single – (866)327-2449 ask for “Alabama Medicinal Plant Grower’s Association”

contact Roa Mentreddy at (256)372-4250 or; Phyllis Light (256)931-0351 or; Russell Bean (334)687-2532 or

September 20, 2014
The Fall meeting was held in Tuskegee, AL at the historic Tuskegee University in Henderson Hall. The girls from ACS did a WONDERFUL job of setting up snacks and coffee for registration. Welcoming everyone to the meeting was Provost Walter Hill. Kelli Bain and her talk, Show me the Money: Medicinal Plant Extracts for Cosmetics, Personal Care and Wellness Products were a BIG hit. Shirley Baxter from National Park Service gave a great talk about George Washington Carver and the Old Reliable Vegetable Drugs, Safaa Al-Hamdani of Jacksonville State University changed a few minds about Kudzu with his talk – it isn’t just for goats and ditches any more!! Rao Mentreddy from Alabama A&M University discussed Changes in Essential Oil Composition of Medicinal Basil in Response to Different Agricultural Treatments – WOW!, Larry Chandler from Sand Mountain Herbs gave a ‘hands-on’ talk about some interesting herbs he is looking into for his herb business. He introduced us to several new plants that he gave away. We now have ALL new officers and Board members!! Thanks to all that pitched in to help with this issue. After the Wonder Women from ACS provided a great lunch we went out to the Goat Research area where Jayme Oates held a workshop on growing Shiitake Mushrooms. Several members may now be in the mushroom business…

March 8, 2014
2014 Spring Meeting at the Chilton Area Research and Extension Center. Tia Gonzales and Dee Smith of the Wiley Women Weed Club in Auburn, AL gave a lively talk about how to make and use Herbal Infused Vinegars. They brought several samples of vinegars that they have recently made and had instructions and recipes on how to make your own. Also even tips on “dressing up the package for sale”. Then Elisha Jones, one of the new members got up and told us a bit about himself and his herbal practice. A brief business meeting followed during which it was determined that it is past time to elect new officers. Please be thinking about becoming PRO-ACTIVE as a member and possibly an officer. We need your help – this is YOUR group! GET INVOLVED!! We then played Follow-The-Leader to the Chilton Food Innovation Center where Christy Mendoza gave a wonderful tour of the facility and discussed how they can help small-time farmers move their product.

September 14, 2013
2013 Fall Meeting and Workshops at the Chilton Area Research and Extension Center. Rao Mentreddy of Alabama A&M gave a very informative research update on his work with Service Berry, Holy Basil and Bitter Melon. Willard Collier of Tuskegee University talked about some of his research with Hibiscus, Sweet Gum and Ginko. Then 3 of his students told us about some of their work with an After School program where they used natural dyes (from turmeric, blueberry, hibiscus, etc) to make tie-dye shirts with the kids. Dennis Shannon from Auburn University gave a brief update on his Turmeric project. The after lunch tour of the Kitchen did not work out. Maybe in the spring.

March 23, 2013
2013 Spring Annual Meeting and Workshops at the Chilton Area Research and Extension Center, 120 County Road 756, Clanton, AL 35045- 8-9 AM Registration – Coffee and Snacks- 9 AM -12 PM – Business Meeting and Dr. Dennis Shannon and Aliza Cummings- 12-1 PM Lunch- 1-2 PM Dr. Willard Collier- 2-? PM Tour Petals From The Past

September 22, 2012
2012 Fall Annual Meeting and Workshops at the Chilton Area Research and Extension Center, 120 County Road 756, Clanton, AL 35045- 9-10 AM Registration – Coffee and Snacks- 10 AM -12 PM – Business Meeting and Speakers- 12-1 PM Lunch- 1-3 PM Tour Research Facility- 3-? PM Tour Petals From The Past

March 31, 2012
Spring Meeting at the Cottage House, Ariton, AL. We observed a moment of silence in the passing of our president Joey Bennich. Janet Smith is the Inter-president and Rachel Sharpe was voted in as vice president. The speakers were Dennis Shannon from Auburn University, James Currington from NRCS and James Ford – Outreach Coordinator from Madison, TN. We were able to tour the farm of Barbara and Roy Shipman.

March 2011
The 2011 Spring Workshop was held Saturday, March 26, 2011 at the Alabama Farmers Coop, 2519 Highway 80 West, Selma, AL. The workshops contained the following topics:- Joint Efforts for Mississippi Medicinal Plant Growers- Harvesting and Quality Control- Cooperative Experience – Community Medicine Garden

September 2010
The second annual business meeting and educational conference of the AMPGA took place at Comer Hall at Auburn University in Auburn AL. A great lineup of speakers on a range of topics was given on growing and using medicinal plants. A continental breakfast was provided. This year’s speakers included: Judy Farrell – Judy, along with her husband Joe, owns and operates Two Creek Farm in Shiloh, Georgia. As a member of Georgia Organics, United Plant Savers, and the International Herb Association, Judy works to organically grow medicinal herbs and vegetables within the boundaries of the farm’s plant and wildlife sanctuary. Gene Hopper – An Alabama farmer and current president of AMPGA spoke on his experiences this year growing and marketing feverfew. Dennis Shannon – Professor of Agronomy at Auburn University discussed his extensive work with turmeric and skullcap. Susan W. Kramer – A full-time therapeutic herbalist, a teacher for the East West School of Herbology, an accredited Registered Herbalist, and a Certified Classical Homeopath. Susan discussed medicinal plants worthy of cultivating and harvesting.

February 2010
The following speakers made this a very informative conference: Phyllis D. Light – RH, has almost 25 years of clinical experience as an herbal consultant and teacher. She provides continuing education classes for nurses and other health care professionals as well as classes at the Appalachian Center for Herbal Studies. She is Professor of Herbal Studies at Clayton College of Natural Heath. Her formal training was preceded by traditional training from Appalachian Folk herbalist such as her Cherokee/Creek grandmother Rosie Light and renowned Alabama herbalist Tommie Bass.Darryl Patton – ND, publisher, author, educator and Master Herbalist has been called a walking encyclopedia of herbal folklore. He spent 12 years studying under the internationally recognized A.L. “Tommie” Bass and is adjunct Professor of Herbal Studies at Clayton College. Darryl operates a wilderness survival training school in North Alabama and is the veteran of numerous trips to the Peruvian Amazon where he graduated from the Peruvian Air Force’s Jungle Operations and Survival School. He and his wife Jane live on Lookout Mountain and may be reached at Debbie Boutelier – Her interest in herbs began in the 80’s with a culinary herb garden. In 1995 she took the next step in her education by taking the Alabama Master Gardener course. She has logged over 4,000 hours of volunteer service to the Master Gardener program, which lead to an eight year stint as a County Extension Agent in Autauga County. She now teaches nationally and serves on the Board of Directors of the Herb Society of America. Thomas Easley – At the age of 14 completed a five year apprenticeship under a Master Herbalist and at the age of 19 opened his first herb store. After years of study under professional members of the American Herbalist Guild he became a certified instructor and started teaching at schools and medical colleges. Thomas is also on the Board of Directors of Herbs for Orphans, an organization fighting childhood malnutrition in poverty-stricken countries. Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani – A Fulbright Scholar and a professor in the Department of Biology at Jacksonville State University. Since 2005 he has been Editor in Chief of “Alabama Academy of Science Journal”. He is a recipient of the Association of Southeastern Biologists Meritorious Teaching Award and his research in plant physiology is published worldwide. Safaa is the originator of the Books for Bagdad program which has sent over 55,000 textbooks to Iraq.

August 2009
​The newly-formed Alabama Medicinal Plant Growers Association (AMPGA), believing that medicinal plant production could be a new income source for Alabama landowners, invited the public to attend its first annual business meeting and education conference in Goodwyn Hall at Auburn University in Montgomery. The program focused on educating growers (and potential growers) about production, management, harvesting, and marketing methods for medicinal plants, herbs, and mushrooms. The species and varieties best suited for Alabama, their cultural methods, disease and pest management, appropriate harvesting, processing and storage methods were discussed by speakers which include two herbalists, a veterinarian who uses medicinal herbs in her practice, a dealer in medicinal herbs, and researchers and growers with knowledge on cultivation of medicinal plants suitable for Alabama.Dennis Shannon, one of the Auburn researchers involved in the AMPGA (along with other educators/researchers from Alabama A&M, Tuskegee University, and Jacksonville State University) says that some medicinal plants are understory species that can be grown in Alabama’s forests and woodlands in conjunction with other land use strategies, such as hunting and tree farming, and others can be grown in open fields. These plants could be a boon for landowners, particularly for under resourced landowners and farmers looking for high-value crops to grow on their under-utilized fields, forests or lightly wooded land. Also, many native medicinal plant species are considered endangered or threatened and cultivating them may help protect wild populations and protect the public from imported products that may be contaminated with harmful contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals and other materials.

March 2009
For this second meeting, Dennis Shannon gave a presentation on “Why Form a Growers Association”. Rao Mentreddy gave a presentation on “How a Growers Association Could Operate”. Mike Reeves gave a presentation on “Things to Consider when Forming a Growers Association” and circulated a sample mission statement and sample bylaws from other organizations and other handouts.

January 2009
This was the initial meeting of the AMPGA. It was held at the North Shelby Library in Shelby County, AL. It was mostly a business meeting, but there were some discussions on medicinal plants.