Juniper Ridge was born out of a deep reverence for the plants that we harvest and the ecosystems they call home. We are increasingly concerned about the challenges facing the white sage plant (Salvia apiana), a plant endemic to Southern and Baja California that we work with and care deeply for. The suburban sprawl into its native habitat and the worldwide increased demand for the plant has led to overharvesting and poaching of white sage on unauthorized land.
We felt that in order to assist in the preservation of Salvia apiana we needed to transition all of our white sage offerings to 100% sustainably cultivated white sage. We began this journey several years ago and are proud that as of 2022 all of our white sage products are made from 100% cultivated white sage, grown by our exclusive partners on their family-owned farm in Baja California. We believe it’s important that there is a sustainable, farm-grown option for people to purchase natural incense and hope that as we offer cultivated white sage to the market, there will be less wild-foraged and unethically harvested white sage sold by others.
For over 20 years, Juniper Ridge has practiced a form of wild-scaping. We prune plants and trees to promote fire resilience, growth, and healthy ecosystems and only ever on authorized land. When we harvest shrubs, we hand-trim the branches and always take care not to overly stress the plants or damage their root systems—and we return to the same locations to monitor our impact. As the popularity of white sage has grown over the years, we’ve become aware that inexperienced or unscrupulous harvesters have damaged and killed plants in their efforts to collect white sage. We have a deep concern for the environmental effects of overharvesting and lack of respect shown by others in the industry. Because of this, we fully support a ban on the unchecked harvesting of white sage and will continue to support conservation organizations to fight against the destruction of these fragile ecosystems.
In addition to the ecological threat being posed against white sage, the rich history of the Indigenous cultures for which it has been used for both ceremonial and medicinal purposes, is also being impacted. To ensure that Indigenous people benefit from the sale of these products, we have adopted a form of financial reciprocity. Since 2019, 10% of the profits from our white sage products go to Indigenous identified organizations. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the people and groups that care for and steward our land.
We are immensely grateful to the white sage plant for leading Juniper Ridge, and all the individuals who work for the company, on a journey that aligned us further with our core values of environmental and social responsibility. While our White Sage line offers harm-reduced options for those wishing to use white sage based products, we also want to encourage other ways to alleviate the pressure on Salvia apiana’s wild populations. For those who live in regions that can support the growth of Salvia apiana, a favorite of bees and other pollinators, there are many helpful resources online on how to grow your own.
As awareness grows on the issues surrounding white sage, there becomes more opportunity for all of us to find ways that we can educate ourselves, contribute, and improve our practices. We look forward to the positive impact we can make when we all work together for a common cause.