Thesis Title: Production and Marketing of Traditional Herbs: A Plan for Developing Agricultural Opportunities in Indian Country
Author: Anita Lisa Hayden 2001
This research describes one approach to commercializing new horticultural crops for the natural products industry. The use of aeroponic technology proved to be feasible for the production of difficult-to-harvest, high-value root crops.Using Arctium lappa Astemceae ("burdock") as a model crop in a modified A-frame aeroponic growing unit, the biomass and phytochemical yields of roots grown in aeroponics were compared to controls grown in a typical greenhouse soilless peat/perlite/sand mixture. No significant differences were seen in the yields of root biomass, measured as dry weights. No significant differences were seen in the phytochemical quality of the roots, asmeasured by the concentration of chlorogenic acid. Variability in the concentration of chlorogenic acid appeared to be lower in roots from the aeroponically-grown plants, indicating the possibility of improving phytochemical consistency using this horticultural technology.
The feasibility of producing raw materials for the herbal dietary supplement industry in Native American communities and on reservations was also examined. Research exploring the use of a matched savings program called Individual Development Accounts indicated that low- and moderate-income Native American families are interested in becoming producers of herbal crops, using aeroponic and conventional horticultural technologies. This model of economic development for rural Native American populations may provide an example for integrating various tribal and federal programs with private enterprises to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for supplemental farm-based and home-based income.