HerbDay 2006 is just a few months away and numerous sponsors and participants are already planning an exciting array of events to celebrate herbs and herbalism at sites all across America. Reports of events and offers to become involved are increasing as people and companies are beginning to register at the event's Web site: www.herbday.org. There are three HerbDay Corporate Sponsors: General Nutrition Centers (GNC), a global retailer of nutritional supplements; Nature's Resource Herbal Supplements, sold in food and drug stores nationwide; and Vitamin World, a seller of nutritional and herbal supplements direct from the manufacturer. All will promote activities in key cities across the country. Several retailers, large and small, will participate as HerbDay hosts, either on HerbDay itself (October 14) or on the days just before and after. The extensive GNC chain is planning a variety of store-based activities all month and special offers to honor the day. Vitamin World will promote and publicize the day at its 480 stores and through its publications, and another retail chain, Vitamin Shoppe, will hold events in all of its 280 stores to highlight the value of herbs. Herbs Etc., a manufacturer, will host HerbDay activities in its Santa Fe, NM, store and community. Great Earth Vitamins, another retail chain, based in Ontario, CA, and Nature's Sunshine, a large manufacturer of herb products based in Provo, UT, will also host HerbDay activities.
Beyond the retailer arena, the San Diego Herb Club and that city's chapter of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) are joining together to plan an informational fair in Balboa Park, including tours of the newly expanded "Trees for Health" medicinal tree grove and garden. In Ben Lomond, CA, the East-West School of Herbology will also participate. Further east, Herbalists Without Borders (based in State College, PA) will host an "HerbalSlam"—a poetry contest on the theme of "all things herbal." Renowned herbal experts Aviva Romm, James Duke, PhD, Robin DiPasquale, and Bevin Clare are scheduled to offer free classes to the public on herbal topics at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, from October 13-14. Twenty students from the Tai Sophia Institute in Columbia, MD, are planning to set up discovery stations on their campus, with 6 students delivering lectures on various herb-related topics. The National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), the Herb Society of America, Bastyr University, Tai Sophia Institute, and the International Herb Association will also participate in HerbDay. NNFA has created an HerbDay committee to help inform retailers of the event, and the organization provided an HerbDay booth at its 70th anniversary annual trade show in Las Vegas in July.
The herb trade media, meanwhile, have expressed support for HerbDay through their plans to promote the event to readers. Ads and editorials will be run well in advance of the event and up to October by the following Media Sponsors: Health Supplement Retailer, Remedies, Vitamin Retailer,Health Smart Today, Whole Foods Magazine, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. In addition, Taste for Life will publish a special edition in October that includes a 24-page pullout section with articles by respected herbalists. This special edition will offer leading manufacturers an excellent opportunity to support consumer education through advertisements.
Five national nonprofit organizations—American Botanical Council (ABC); American Herbalists Guild (AHG); American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP); American Herbal Products Association (AHPA); and United Plant Savers (UpS)—have been working together as the HerbDay Coalition to launch this event. The entire herbal community is invited to participate actively in HerbDay 2006, either by hosting an event or providing sponsorship in the form of financial support. More information about HerbDay activities and resources, including a menu of ideas for individual events and registration forms for prospective participants, is available at the Web site: www.herbday.org.
—Gayle Engels and Courtney Cavaliere