Our Story

Lavender growers in the US had been without a national organization before 2012. Although there were several regional organizations representing areas that had a denser population of lavender growers, isolated growers had nowhere to turn. There was much talk about starting a national organization before that time though.

2006 -2007

Al Armstrong of Valley View Lavender Farm in Buhl, Idaho, gave a presentation at the 2006 Southwest Lavender conference in Fredericksburg, Texas, addressing the idea of starting an American Lavender Growers Association (ALGA). At another conference in McMinnville, Oregon, in early 2007, Al Armstrong, Mesha Munyon, and Sarah Richards talked more about the idea of a national lavender organization. Although Mike, Al, Mesha, Sarah, and several others did some initial work to put together an organization, that momentum ended when Al Armstrong became ill in 2008 and passed away in November 2009.

2011

At the Southwest Lavender Conference in February 2011 at Kerrville, Texas, Mary and Tim Bergstrom met Mike Neustrom and again the talk of putting together a national lavender organization began. Many growers in attendance at that conference were interested in pursuing and Peggy Armstrong agreed to send Mary Bergstrom the information that Al had accumulated.

Organizing Committee

Following that conference, Mary Bergstrom took the initiative to contact those from the conference who were interested and to reach out to others through word of mouth and through the Lavender Growers Yahoo group. She formed a committee of dedicated people with the right skill set to form a national group. This was the beginning seed of the USLGA organizing committee.

In April 2011, surveys were filled out to get to know each other and the first official virtual meeting was on June 15, 2011. The organizing committee started by defining the process, the topics, and in what order to get the organization created. The first step was to define what the mission of the organization would be, with a focus on the United States, instead of North America. 

The 16 original members of the organizing committee began meeting in June of 2011 and met biweekly after that were:

Lila Avery-Fusion, Mary Tate Bergstrom, Tim Bergstrom, Justin Cook, Anne Hickman Davidson, Debbie Gorham, Susan Harrington, Cindy Jones, Kathy Kimbrough, Cynthia McCoy, Jan Meier, Mike Neustrom, Sarah Richards, Curtis Swift, Christine Teeple, and Deborah Thompson.

Structure of the USLGA

The mission statement of the USLGA was approved on September 20, 2011: “To support and promote the United States lavender industry and trade through research, education, networking and marketing.”

Mary Bergstrom laid out the structure of the organizing committee, a name was decided upon, and a temporary board put in place. The direction taken was much different than the model previous groups attempted.

In order to secure the organization’s name before making official announcements at an upcoming conference, the articles of incorporation were filed November 18, 2011, in the State of Nebraska. 

A website was developed to provide information to the public and provide several venues for them to contact us or stay informed. 

Several members attended a lavender conference in NW Washington in November 2011. The existence of the USLGA was officially announced at that time and participants of the conference were encouraged to join the organizing committee.

Membership levels: Next on the agenda was defining the levels of membership. This topic took more time and involvement. Everyone was welcome in the organization, but there were many discussions of how to categorize the members. A vote was taken, resulting in the first version of membership levels. Subsequently, six additional motions were made to change the wording and a final version was produced. The levels were: Grower, Associate, and Affiliate. We detailed how the board was to categorize the members, how the board was to be composed, and what constitutes a founding and charter member.

We decided on membership dues and benefits. We had to dream big, then prioritize what could be done initially and in the future. 

Membership application and profile: The application was crafted after much input. There are many questions in it that will supply helpful information to the organization in order to benefit the members.

USLGA’s Bylaws and Policy & Procedures Manual: These were developed and approved by the members of the organizing committee.

2012

January 12, 2012 

A temporary Board of Directors was created, which included:

Lila Avery-Fuson, Mary Bergstrom, Justin Cook, Anne Davidson, Debbie Gorham, Cindy Jones, Mike Neustrom, Sarah Richards, and Christine Teeple

The Founding Officers were:

President – Mary Bergstrom
Vice President – Lila Avery-Fuson
Treasurer – Mike Neustrom
Secretary – Sarah Richards

Committees were formed with committee chairs and committee members. Committees included: Membership, Finance, Internet, Event, and Newsletter. Later on, four additional committees were added: Education and Research, Public Relations and Communications, Advocacy, and Nominating. 

April 27, 2012

Launch of the USLGA

After months of organizing and writing Policies and Procedures, the United States Lavender Growers Association (USLGA) organization was announced and opened for membership on April 27, 2012, at the Sequim International Lavender Conference. 

Those individuals who worked on the organizing committee before that date are ‘founding members’; those who joined in the first six months are ‘charter members.’ 

2012 

The Founding Members of USLGA are:

Lila Avery-Fuson, Mary Bergstrom, Tim Bergstrom, Justin Cook, Anne Davidson, Debbie Gorham, Jack Harrington, Susan Harrington, Cindy Jones, Kathy Kimbrough, Cynthia McCoy, Jan Meier, Mike Neustrom, Sarah Richards, Curtis Swift, Christine Teeple, and Deborah Thompson

April 2012

The USLGA logo was approved.

May 11, 2012

Founding officers were officially elected, and the two additional board members Debbie Gorham, and Anne Davidson were installed on May 11, 2012.

Summer 2012

The first member newsletter was published on August 3, 2012.

2013

The first USLGA Lavender Conference was held in Richmond, Virginia, on October 18-20, 2013.

2015

The second USLGA Lavender Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 22-24, 2015.

The rollout of the 15 regions and regional groups were announced at the Members Annual Meeting on January 23, 2015. Regional groups were formed where members could network with, collaborate, and learn from fellow members in a closer geographical area. Additionally, this provided opportunities for regional gatherings in the years opposite the national conferences.

2017

The third USLGA Lavender Conference was held in Mesa, Arizona, on January 26-28, 2017. An updated website platform went live.

2019

The fourth USLGA Lavender Conference was held in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 24-26, 2019.

2021

The fifth USLGA Lavender Conference will be held virtually, due to COVID-19, on March 19-20, 2021.