Sustainable Forestry

Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program works with private landowners, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations to develop innovative strategies that promote the sustainable production, management, and marketing of forest resources.

Our goal is to support landowners interested in exploring economically and ecologically sustainable models of forest production, by providing site visits to inventory species on private land; planting stock sales for forest herbs such as ginseng, goldenseal and ramps; opportunities for peer-to-peer learning in the sustainable timber and non-timber forest product sectors; market support via networking for both buyers and sellers as well as market outlets, such as the Chesterhill Produce Auction; and informational resources, including fact sheets coauthored with Ohio State University, the Woodland Owners Toolkit, and much more. We aim to provide resources to landowners at any level of production, and to help interested landowners move along the production pipeline, by providing the information, resources, and opportunities required to start a forest-based operation, expand it, and bring forest products to market.

By providing resources for woodland owners we have been able to effectively train landowners and partner agencies to identify alternative income opportunities, like forest farming of ginseng, goldenseal, and other forest botanicals, as well as how to conduct land restoration projects with native plants, and mitigating the impacts of non-native invasive species that can adversely effect forest health and diversity. Recently the Sustainable Forestry Program has joined the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition, a network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers.

Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can work with you!

Current Programming & Resources


Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition

Rural Action is partnering with Virginia Tech and other universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies, to expand access to forest farming information and opportunities in the Appalachian region of Ohio and its neighboring states. Learn More

IMG_2469Native Plant Restoration

Since 2014 Rural Action has worked with the National Forest Foundation and Wayne National Forest to conduct restoration plantings and monitoring for American ginseng, goldenseal, and ramps. Learn More

Non-Timber Forest Products

The Appalachian region is a valuable source of non-timber products that may offer alternative income opportunities for land owners. This page provides land owners with information about economically important species that can be cultivated in the forest understory. Learn More

classAppalachian Stewards

Rural Action’s Forestry and Environmental Education programs are partnering to deliver a hands-on, forest herb curriculum to students in schools across the region. Learn more

Planting Stock Sale

Rural Action has been offering high quality stratified American ginseng seed, goldenseal rootlets, and ramp bulbs for planting since 1999. Learn More

The Forest Farmers Handbook

Learn how to grow goldenseal, ginseng, black cohosh, and other forest herbs with this free handbook. Download.

Woodland Owners Toolkit

For many landowners, managing and restoring the land you have bought or inherited is a primary goal. Often times, how to start this process isn’t clear. Our goal is to help put you in touch with the resources you need to appropriately manage your land to increase aesthetics, value, and biological activity for many years to come Click here to download the Woodland Owners Toolkit

Sustainable Forestry Staff

tom website forestTom Redfern is the Director of Rural Action’s Sustainable Forestry Program. Tom directs all Forestry programming, and leads multiple Sustainable Forestry team members including a Non-Timber Forest Product Specialist and an Ohio Stream Restore Corps AmeriCorps member, as well as college interns and an array of community volunteers. Prior to his start at Rural Action in 2004 he spent 20 years working in commercial and public horticulture in Ohio and served as an Extension educator in the U.S. Peace Corps. He has degrees from both Hocking College and Ohio University. Contact Tom at for more information about Rural Action’s work with agriculture in Appalachian Ohio and to learn how we can work with you.

Tanner Filyaw is the Non-Timber Forest Products Program Director. From 2005 to 2008 he worked as an Americorps VISTA with the Rural Action Sustainable Forestry program conducting landowner education and outreach around sustainable forestry, land stewardship, and non-timber forest products. Tanner accepted a staff position with Rural Action in 2008 and continues to act in this capacity; conducting workshops, giving presentations, and holding other educational programs for Ohio landowners, helping them to develop sustainable and income-driven strategies from their forested lands. He graduated from Ohio University in 2005 with a B.S. in Environmental Geography, with a minor specializing in Environmental and Plant Biology. Tanner went on to receive his Masters of Environmental Studies at Ohio University in 2017. He can be reached at