The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

How abandoned strip mines are being rescued by a field of sweet-smelling purple plants


An innovative new company is rescuing the damaged land — and people — of Appalachia 

Jocelyn Sheppard hasn’t always been a lavender and honey farmer. For more than a decade, she was the founding partner of a consulting firm that did market research, business planning and grant writing for tech startups and nonprofits. But something came up at work that pulled her into a completely different world. 

“I was hired to write a grant to explore the feasibility of growing lavender on reclaimed coal mine land,” Sheppard recalls, “When the grant was winding down, I had the idea that this would be great as a commercial opportunity.” 

This year, Sheppard’s notion became a reality in Boone County, W.Va. Her new company, Appalachian Botanical, is now a 35-acre lavender farm and apiary located in the bowl of an old strip mine.  

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