United States Lavender Conference 2023


View the list of Topics and our updated Schedule.

Some of the top industry leaders and experts are waiting for you at USLC 2023. Here are the speakers booked so far:

Keynote Speaker: Clive LarkmanClive Larkman

Clive Larkman has been working in the nursery industry since 1989 after the death of his father, Barry Larkman. At that time, he was living and working in the UK and had little knowledge of horticulture and the nursery industry, but had an understanding of botany, basic business principles and customer service and so he took over the family nursery, which was only five years old.

Clive and his family have taken Larkman Nurseries from a medium sized propagation nursery producing 400 000 plants a year in 1989 to one of the top specialist propagation nurseries in Australia, propagating over 2 million plants annually. He has done this by continual development of the company, its range and its customer base. In 2006 Clive and Di purchased the Victorian agency of Renaissance Herbs and now supply herbs and perennials to the retail garden centres. With sons Simon and Martin running the day-to-day sales of Larkman Nurseries (Simon) and Romantic Nursery (Martin) the family has an integrated business model that is constantly innovating their product range.

In 2012 the family decided to develop an annual food festival focused on herbs. Under Clive’s management and the family’s commitment it has quickly grown to be one of Melbourne’s major food events with 5000 plus attendees each year.

Clive has a degree in Botany and Zoology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Humanities – Philosophy of Science. He is also a Certificated Nurseryman and is a Certified Nursery Professional (Specialist) under the Nursery and Garden Industry of Australia’s professional development program. He is semi fluent in Indonesian and French.

He has a strong belief in the integral role of small business to the Australian economy and community and is strongly committed to the development of the horticultural industry in Australia. He has a belief that Australian nurseries are a major part of the modern business community. As such he has been a long serving member in several key horticultural associations. He has served 19 years on the board of Primary Skills Victoria (previously Victorian Agriculture and Horticulture Training Board), 15 plus years on the state board of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (including ten years as president) and was made a fellow in the late nineties. He has been on the board of the Australian Region of the International Plant Propagators Society since 2000, including 2 terms as president, 2 terms on the International Board, and was elected International President for 2019. He is currently International Director, Editor and Historian and was awarded their award of honour in May 2010. He has been a member of The Australian Lavender Growers Association since its inception. He did a two-year term as treasurer and was responsible for a greater understanding of the genus Lavandula. He was made a Life Member in 2010. He has also done three terms as a director for the Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria and was the Chairman of their Education committee for many years. He was the main IR negotiator for the industry for the first ten years of this century and was a key part of the award discussions in 2009/10 and received an Award of Merit in 2009 for this work. Clive is representing the Nursery Industry on the Agribusiness Yarra Valley Board, was elected Deputy Chair in November 2005 and has been the Chairman since 2006. He is currently chairman of the Victorian Agribusiness Council and is a strong advocate with all tiers of government on the needs of the Victorian agribusiness sector.

His community work has not been confined to horticulture. From 2003 to the end of 2005 Clive was a Councillor for the Shire of Yarra Ranges. During this time, he sat on many community, council and business bodies where he utilized his business skills and broader experience to further enhance the quality of life in the Yarra Ranges. These involvements included Chairman of the Library Board, Chairman of the Forests Policy Steering Committee, Chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Committee, member of Timber Towns Victoria, member of the Yarra Valley Brand, member of Centre for Agriculture and Business and many others. Clive is also a past Rotarian.

Clive believes that there are overriding principles that govern business development regardless of the industry or era. The key one is customer service and a focus on product development. The second one is that the owners of the business should always be working on their business and should be aiming to make themselves redundant. For a company to truly succeed there should be no member that is irreplaceable, including the owners. Over the years he has worked in a variety of industries, restaurant manager, taxi driver, petrol station manager and home handyman. All of these have added to the development of the family enterprises.

Finally, Clive believes that we are here to experience life. Our businesses should add to that enjoyment and help us look after our families. He writes for several trade journals, is a regular on Melbourne’s 3AW gardening program and was a weekly presenter on The Garden Gurus TV gardening show. His passion is for food and plants and collects old books but really finds value in most aspects of life.

Christine MulderChristine Mulder

Chris has been growing lavender since she started her part-time retail business, Barn Owl Nursery - Herb & Lavender Farm in 1982. For 40 years she has been growing & selling lavender plants, along with culinary & ornamental herbs from her 5-acre farm. Chris & her husband Ed built a barn-like gift shop with an herb drying room next to their house. They began landscaping their property with four L. angustifolia cultivars they acquired from her father's wholesale nursery. She propagated & planted those first lavender plants, along with other ornamental herbs, to create a demonstration garden. As many different lavender plants became available from local growers in Oregon, they planted a small field with different lavender cultivars. They hosted their first annual Lavender Days event in June 1996 to showcase the lavender in bloom on their farm. After Chris joined the Oregon Lavender Association (OLA) in 2008, they began hosting a 2nd annual lavender event in July, as part of the OLA state-wide festival & farm tour.

Over the past 30 years, Chris have grown over 100 different Lavandula plants on their farm, including L. angustifolia, L. x intermedia, L. chaytorae, & L. stoechas cultivars. Her main interest is in the culinary uses of lavender. She has her own line of lavender teas & other culinary products she sells from her gift shop.

Using her experiences & former training as a teacher, Chris teaches classes on growing & using herbs & lavender & speaks to local garden clubs. The nursery has a loyal customer base that returns to the nursery to shop, learn, & share the experience. Chris is inspired by seeing generations of families return to the nursery & meeting new people that are interested in growing lavender & herbs. She enjoys sharing information & consulting with her customers about choosing & growing different lavenders & seeing more people get excited about growing lavender in their garden & starting a lavender farm in the Pacific NW. She has her nursery & gift shop open by appointment in the spring, summer, & fall.

Chris is a charter member of USLGA. She has served on several OLA committees & on the OLA Board of Directors as Vice President for 3 years and President for 4 years. Chris retired 8 years ago from her other part-time job as coordinator of a cancer program that she started at a local hospital. She is a founding member of Lavender Northwest & she is currently serving as LNW President.

Andrew Van Hevelingen

Andrew Van Hevelingen

Andrew started growing lavender almost fifty years ago. His wife, Melissa, and he started a small wholesale herb nursery in 1983. They developed and introduced the following cultivars: L. angustifolia cvs. ‘Royal Velvet’, “Melissa’, ‘Opal Rain’, ‘Cedar Pink’, and ‘New Zealand Blue’; L. stoechas cvs  Portuguese Giant’, ‘Ivory Crown’, and ‘Cottage Pink’, and L x chaytorae cvs. ‘Silver Frost’, ‘Ana Luisa’ and ‘Jennifer’. Presently, their personal collection exceeds 175 lavender cultivars and species. Over the years, Andy has written several articles for various magazines: Sunset Magazine, Fine Gardening, and the Herb Companion. He has been a speaker at the Herb Society of America (HSA), International Herb Association (IHA), the United States Lavender Growers Association (USLGA) and at the Oregon Lavender and Sequiem Conferences. 

Dr. Michael Lemmers

Dr. Michael Lemmers

Proprietor of RavenCroft in Northwestern Oregon, Dr. Lemmers is a charter member of the U.S. Lavender Growers Association and current treasurer of Lavender Northwest. After obtaining a chemistry degree in Colorado, and an MPhil in biochemistry at Cambridge, England, he earned his MD at Stanford, and then trained in surgery, urology, and kidney transplantation at OHSU in Portland. Following a 10-year professorship in surgery, he established a private practice, and subsequently diversified into lavender farming. The focus of his special interests in lavender relate to the complex chemical nature of lavender essential oils, and how its components influence the quality and applicability of lavender-derived products.

Carolyn Breece Carolyn Breece

Carolyn Breece has been a research assistant for the OSU Honey Bee Lab since 2009. She maintains the OSU apiary of 60-80 colonies, provides research support, teaches online beekeeping classes for OSU students, and provides educational workshops and events for Oregon beekeepers, including for the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. Carolyn has a side hustle, ""Honey, I Love You"", selling honey, lip balm, and beeswax wraps.

Nancy BaggettNancy Baggett

Nancy Baggett is an award-winning author of numerous cookbooks, most recently The Art of Cooking with Lavender, which won a “Books for Better Living” award from Independent Publisher. Her book has been a popular seller in numerous lavender growers’ shops around the country. Both her photos and recipes are routinely rated 5 stars for their appeal by growers and their customers. Several decades ago Nancy became interested in food photography while assisting the professional food photographers and stylists working on her cookbooks. After honing her skills and taking styling and photography workshops for a number of years, she propped, styled and shot all the photography for The Art of Cooking with Lavender. Today, she styles, props and photographs her own food beauty shots for her free newsletter, “Nancy’s Lavender Newsletter” https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=ff3fa075108f39ed997b290a3&id=343e0cbad7 and for her websites www.kitchenlane.com and www.nancyslavenderplace.com. She has also teamed with videographers to create a number of lavender and other culinary videos for her YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/nancybaggettvideos/videos. Nancy has devoted about 15 years exploring the remarkable versatility and appeal of lavender in all kinds of sweet and savory dishes. She maintains a small patch of culinary lavender varieties near her Maryland home and uses them in testing and photography sessions. She was the keynote speaker on the topic of culinary lavender for the 1917 U. S. Lavender Growers convention. She has also given talks and demonstrations at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.; the Herb Society of America; and numerous lavender festivals, garden clubs, and culinary and cookbook events around the nation.

Marilyn Kosel

Marilyn Kosel

Marilyn Kosel has been farming lavender for over twenty years. She is a founding member of USLGA and Lavender Northwest, and started the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival in 2005. Marilyn is a believer in the power of community, team building, and collaboration. She has integrated this philosophy in all parts of her business. Her farm, Wayward Winds Lavender, is an agritourism destination. Wayward Winds Lavender also manufactures an extensive line of lavender foods and personal care products. These products are sold wholesale as private label, ready to label, or bulk products to lavender farms across the US.

Beth Hammerberg

Beth Hammerberg

Beth started her small lavender farm in Wenatchee in 2016. Having been an agricultural educator for the last 20 years, she loves the idea of putting much of what she teaches into practice. She has found the work and learning involved in building a small business fascinating and rewarding. She has a heart for helping and teaching others and loves to share all about lavender farming and the agricultural industry in general.


Dr. Concetta DiRusso

Dr. Concetta DiRusso

Concetta DiRusso, Ph.D. is the President and CEO of Kennebec Analytical Services, LLC (KAS). Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, it is a commercial laboratory dedicated to providing a range of testing services for the lavender industries. Dr. DiRusso is also the Emerita George Holmes University Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Jefferson Science Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. She has published over 100 scientific research articles and holds 5 patents. In 2020 Dr. DiRusso started Kennebec Analytical Services to support the burgeoning essential oil and hemp industries. KAS works directly with farmers and product producers to assess the chemical composition of their plant flowers and products for compounds ranging from the valuable terpenes to contaminants such as pesticides and mycotoxins. Such testing is essential to demonstrate quality, purity and safety of the products, particularly those used for human or pet consumption. KAS is accredited as a US and international testing lab by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and ilac-MRA to the ISO/IEC 17025 standards.

Michael Shay

Michael Shay

The first thing you should know about Polara Studio co-founder Michael is that he’s a published poet. What does this have to do with taking pictures, you ask? Everything. Imagine Walt Whitman with a Nikon in his hands. An image-maker, not an image-taker, it’s estimated Michael has taken over a million photographs and can make a glob of Crunchy Jif on a Saltine look like something Thomas Keller would overcharge for at The French Laundry.

His work can be found on grocery store shelves and in advertising for many national brands including Reser’s Fine Foods, Pacific Foods, and Papa Murphy's. He is active in the local creative community and chair of the National Board for the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). When not shooting, Michael practices traditional Japanese karate, rides motorcycles, writes poetry, and brews his own beer, not necessarily in that order.

https://www.instagram.com/polarastudio/ or @polarstudio
https://www.instagram.com/chezshaypdx/ or @chezshaypdx

Jean-Paul GrimaudJean-Paul Grimaud

Jean-Paul is originally from France and has been growing lavender in the Walla Walla Valley since 2000. His micro-farm, the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm, has become a seasonal destination in the agritourism industry in the Spring. His personal journey encompasses several countries and trades including higher education in the field of Languages and Social Studies.