AHPA Announces Winners of 2020 Awards

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Silver Spring, MD—The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has announced its 2020 awards, given to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the herbal products industry, according to a press release. Rather than being presented at Expo West, as per usual, the awards will be presented at SupplySide West in Las Vegas, currently scheduled for the end of October.

AHPA President Michael McGuffin said in the release: “Every year, AHPA recognizes the hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations that go above and beyond to ensure the continued success of the herbal industry. AHPA and the entire herbal products industry have greatly benefited from their expertise and passion for herbs. These awards are a small token of our gratitude for their tireless efforts.”

The Herbal Hero Award was given to Wilson Lau, Vice President of Nuherbs, the third generation of his family to lead the company, which was founded as a pharmacy in Oakland, California, to provide TCM herbs for his grandmother Dr. Bing Yin Lee’s patients. Lau is a member of the AHPA Board of Trustees, as well as Secretary of the Board. Beth Lambert, CEO of Herbalist & Alchemist, who nominated Lau, said in the release: “In his senior management role with the third-generation family owned Chinese herb company, Nuherbs, Wilson helps the company set an important example in following best practices with a long-term view while staying true to traditional uses of herbs, from sustainability practices to robust testing to ensure identity, purity, and potency.”

The Industry Leadership award goes to Verdure Sciences, for “setting an example of outstanding business practices,” the release says. The company looks to surpass expectations of corporate responsibility and to present itself as an industry leader in what corporate responsibility can look like, specifically in the herbal products industry. Verdure’s social responsibility initiative, Verdugration, provides a framework for global efforts and global stewardship. In 2019, as part of the initiative, Verdure helped plant 2,000 Boswellia serrata tree saplings in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to help promote the growth of a protected an dwindling tree species, to support the local community, and to help meet increasing consumer demand.

The Herbal Insight award goes to the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC), a network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share the common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers. The coalition’s aim is to increase awareness of forest-grown medicinal plants through education and relationship building, and to support conservation efforts through stewardship of existing plant populations and forest farming of native botanicals. Holly Chittum, Project Scientist at AHPA, who nominated the coalition, said in the release: “ABFFC assists beginning forest farmers in navigating the production, processing and marketing of forest farmed medicinal plants in the Appalachian Region. It supports regional partnership and network development and offers educational programming, publications, and videos for forest farmers and technical service providers. It also builds capacity by tapping into the leadership qualities and leadership assets among coalition members to refine production techniques in an evolving forest grown market.”

The Visionary award goes posthumously to Dr. Ed Alstat, naturopath, herbal pioneer, and organic farmer. He passed away in early 2018. He founded the Eclectic Institute in the National University of Natural Medicine on-campus medicinary in 1982; it quickly outgrew that space, and Dr. Alstat bought a large organic farm and rural campus in Sandy, OR, which he regularly opened for naturopaths and others to further their study of herbs and natural remedies. He studied and made available reprints of original texts of the Eclectic physicians, and was the first to bring to market many original formulas cited there, as well as grain-free organic alcohol extracts, alcohol-free extracts, and freeze-dried herbal capsules and powders. His farm was one of the first to be certified organic by the Oregon Tilth. The release says: “Dr. Alstat’s professional contributions are evident, but just as important are his personal interactions and openness to sharing the beauty and simple pleasures in life with all of those he encountered on his journey.”

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