New Program Seeks to Increase Sales of Local Herbal Products

The Plains, Ohio — Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program, in partnership with United Plant Savers, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded funding through the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Services 2017 Conservation Innovation Grant program to assist forest landowners in Ohio and West Virginia with forest management planning that increases the sustainable cultivation of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), such as ginseng, goldenseal, and ramps. Secondly, this project will work towards enhancing producer profitability through Forest Grown Verification (FGV), an emerging direct marketing and sustainable branding initiative that aims to connect producers with small herbal products manufacturers seeking sustainably produced raw materials.

According to Tanner Filyaw, Rural Action’s NTFP Program Manager, “This project will significantly benefit forest landowners in the region, and enable us to assist those who are both new to NTFP cultivation, and those who have been growing for several years and are now ready to market their products.”

“Furthermore, this will be a great opportunity to redefine how plants with high conservation value, like ginseng and goldenseal, are sold. Traditionally NTFPs are aggregated and sold by a series of wholesale buyers before they are processed into finished products. But by using a FGV model, we can help connect growers with the manufacturers that want their products, and create more streamlined domestic supply chains” says Filyaw.

In addition to the benefits for NTFP producers, this project also incentivizes and promotes the conservation of our at-risk medicinal plants.

“Appalachia is a hot spot for medicinal plants, but at the same time these botanical resources, and our knowledge of how to use them, are disappearing. This CIG project is historic because it acknowledges the economic potential of these native plants, and empowers us to raise the value we place on our diverse cultural and ecological biodiversity” says Susan Leopold, Executive Director of United Plant Savers.

Landowners who are new to forest farming can request a site visit and forest assessment to evaluate the potential for NTFP production on their property, and identify existing NTFP assets that they may already have. Landowners who have already established NTFP enterprises will have the opportunity to connect with natural products businesses who are interested in building sustainable supply chains.

Landowners interested in receiving assistance should contact Tanner Filyaw (tanner@ruralaction.org or 740-677-4047) with Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program for more information.

Rural Action is a member-based sustainable community development organization. Their mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program utilizes a collaborative approach to promote the sustainable production, management, and marketing of forest resources in Appalachian Ohio. United Plant Savers is a membership-based organization working to protect the native medicinal plants of North America and their habitats while ensuring an abundant and renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org and United Plant Savers at www.unitedplantsavers.org. You can also keep up with their work on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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CONTACT

Karam Sheban
Forestry Program Specialist
karam@ruralaction.org
614-572-5266

Rural Action’s Tanner Filyaw and Karam Sheban demonstrate a wild-simulated ginseng planting during a Conservation through Cultivation workshop at the United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary
(Photo Provided by Rural Action)

Rural Action’s Tanner Filyaw and Karam Sheban demonstrate a wild-simulated ginseng planting during a Conservation through Cultivation workshop at the United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary
(Photo Provided by Rural Action)

Rural Action’s Tanner Filyaw and Karam Sheban demonstrate a wild-simulated ginseng planting during a Conservation through Cultivation workshop at the United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary
(Photo Provided by Rural Action)