Lavender: The Blue Gold of Provence in Peril
L’Occitane en Provence founder and creative director Olivier Baussan considers lavender, one of the first flowers distilled by Occitane, the soul of the region. He started the very successful company l’Occitane at the age of 23, in 1976.
With over 20,000 hectares of lavender in Provence, summer is lavender harvest and l’Occitane purchases almost half of the lavender essential oil produced by the region’s crops each year.
L’Occitane Foundation devotes almost 18% of its annual budget to preservation initiatives in Provence, such as studies on the rehabilitation of olive groves, or ethnobotany research to help make fine lavender more sustainable.
However, there is a threat that hangs over the lavender of Provence and the “Blue Gold” is in peril. Thanks to a five-year contract signed with L’Occitane, crops are saved!
Olivier Baussan is president of the endowment fund put in place by industry actors to finance research on the problems; research now led by the French fragrant plants’ research organization the CRIEPPAM in Volx in Haute Provence. Its director Eric Chaisse explains in the video how a leafhopper, by feeding itself, introduces phytoplasma into the lavender branches.
There is hope and research is underway to save Lavender from becoming extinct.
Support the lavender endowment fund: www.sauvegarde-lavandes-provence.org