White Sage Cultivation
Jan Timbrook’s editorial on the wholesale plunder of white sage in the wild is an important and timely message to well-meaning users of this precious, rare, and sacred herb.
It is true that the wild habitat for white sage has disappeared dramatically as suburbia has taken over wild fields where white sage was once abundant. However, her comment that “Sustainable farming of these species, while theoretically possible, is currently all but non-existent” is not entirely true. Through a local partnership, we have been cultivating 5,000 white sage plants on a hillside adjacent to Los Padres National Park for seven years.
The virtue of growing white sage is to be able to consistently harvest the plants, keeping the leaves in tight clusters that make for a much better product than wild plants that can get woody and leggy. Under the brand name, Worldwide Botanicals, our “whole clusters” of white sage leaves are used by our customers as incense or rehydrated to make sage bundles.
I believe we are doing our part to meet the commercial need for this plant while relieving the stress placed on its wild habitat.