Final Report for LNC00-174

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2000: $49,859.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Colin Donohue
Rural Action
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Project Information

Summary:

Cultivation of medicinal plants at-risk due to over-harvest in the wild was used as a strategy to protect native biodiversity and generate higher income for grower in the Appalachian region of Ohio. Outreach activities, educational activities, development and distribution of literature, establishment of research and demonstration sites, formation of a growers association, and assistance in marketing were all part of this integrated support system for growers. Total participation in educational activities was over 470. A growers association formed with over 40 members. Significant initial plantings were made by growers and broader awareness of woodland cultivation was developed in the region.

Introduction:

Problem
Appalachian Ohio is a region where long-term economic distress and challenging terrain have greatly reduced the number of viable small farms. Much of the land is hilly and wooded but is used by farmers for grazing of livestock, creating heavy damage to forest soils and ecological health of the forests, reducing biodiversity, and generating only marginal additional income. At the same time, growing worldwide demand for mushrooms and medicinal herbs has pushed some native species, notably ginseng and goldenseal, onto the list of endangered and threatened species. Increasingly, large buyers such as Frontier Herbs are looking for products from forest-based organic cultivation as an alternative to buying wild-harvested materials. The Woodland Cultivation Project has been created to take advantage of this opportunity. Production of CITES listed herbs and other high-value herbs and mushrooms creates opportunities for a viable agriculture which maintains natural forests with their soil and water conservation functions and habitat for native fauna.
The overall target audience is economically marginal agricultural producers. This includes tobacco farmers, marginal-income dairy farmers, tree farmers, and harvesters of wild ginseng, goldenseal and mushrooms. Most farms in the area include woodlands and many tree farmers are looking to diversify their income streams. Also of note is the fact that many people who wild-harvest herbs have experimented with growing them with mixed results. Drawing them into a group where information can be exchanged about cultivation methods will increase their rate of success. Many wild-harvesters have very low income levels and piece together a living from a variety of sources, many involving agriculture.
By researching, demonstrating, and widely publicizing appropriate cultivation practices we will be developing a sub-sector of the farm economy that can provide more profitable and environmentally sustainable agricultural production for hundreds of small agricultural producers in the region.

Proposed Steps Towards Solution

To develop a base of growers successful and profitable in sustainable cultivation of these species we pursued the following objectives:
Develop “best practices” for ecologically sound woodland cultivation of high-value
medicinal plants and gourmet mushrooms.
Different growers face different site challenges (low pH, non-ideal slope, etc.), and forest-based cultivation of these crops is so new that little in-depth information exists on preferred cultivation techniques. Demonstration plots will examine the effects of spacing, irrigation, and soil amendments on productivity at different sites. Wild-simulated planting, with the lowest environmental impact, will be tested as a means of maximizing conservation benefits. Demonstration sites developed with conservation in mind will allow us to teach by example proper techniques that prevent soil erosion and other environmental degradation.
Down the road, continuous sharing among local growers could represent an advantage for growers who may eventually face global competition on production of certain crops.

2. Promote forest-based cultivation of endangered and other native medicinal plants and gourmet mushrooms to preserve biodiversity while creating an economic diversification strategy for area farmers.
Woodland cultivation of these crops can have far less environmental impact than field cultivation. We will help growers move into woodland cultivation through demonstration sites, workshops and written material (available on web-site as well). Diversification of farm income will be an additional important outcome.
Cultivation of endangered woodland plants can have significant environmental benefits including a reduction of harvest pressures on wild populations and re-introduction or re-naturalization of endangered native plants both on-site and dispersed by wildlife. Other benefits include reduced soil erosion, water conservation, and maintenance of a functional indigenous ecosystem while creating generating a viable economic diversification strategy.
Market research and marketing assistance for growers is a critical element and while only dealt with here in a limited way it will be focused on for additional funding from other sources.

3. Disseminate results to natural resources and agricultural extension personnel.
Increasing the knowledge, experience, and buy-in of natural resources and agricultural extension personnel will be vitally important in promoting woodland cultivation techniques.
Even after SARE funding runs out, impacts from the project will be felt if Extension personnel and others continue to make this information available to farmers and other landowners. We hope to use a fairly small amount of funding to start leveraging movement within extension towards sustainable practices. A follow-up Professional Development Proposal could allow us to do this in a significant fashion. Economic benefits would accrue from more focused attention on the medicinal products industry (which has been growing at roughly 15% per year according to Time magazine (Greenwald, 1998)). Environmental benefits will accrue through education relating to organic agriculture, wildlife habitat benefits of trees, etc..
The target audience for this objective are OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources personnel. We will also make trainings open to Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation District, and Division of Natural Resources personnel who work with farmers. The ultimate goal is to enable these persons to more fully meet the diverse needs of small agricultural producers in our region.

4. Disseminate results to area farmers
At the core of our project will be our educational efforts directed towards growers. For obvious reasons adoption of these new practices and crops depends upon the buy-in of growers. Building in experimentation will also help growers respond rapidly to new market opportunities.
In our planning for a 5-year Ford Foundation grant we estimate that an additional $1,000,000/year could be generated if growers are able to mobilize fairly rapidly. Through providing information, as well as one-on-one technical assistance, we will be able to greatly speed up the ability of growers to get production and be successful in their endeavors.
Environmental benefits, again, will be seen as a result of education relating to erosion prevention, organic production, and the benefits of forested lands.

Literature Review

Part of the rationale for integrating research with our demonstration plots is that there is not very much known about woodland cultivation of certain medicinal herbs and mushrooms. Publications of a general nature are available from Extension in North Carolina, Kentucky, (Davis, 1996 and Jones, revision yet to be published), but the level of specific knowledge of preferred cultivation practices is relatively small when compared with other commercial crops.
Historically, and to the present day, most goldenseal, black cohosh, wild yam, and other medicinal herbs we are working with have been harvested from the wild. This harvesting of wild native plant populations , called “wildcrafting” amounts for virtually all of the black cohosh used by the herb industry (Blakley, 1999). Even goldenseal, until recently, came 97% from wild-harvested product (McGuffin, 1999). While cultivation of goldenseal has become much more widespread (McGuffin, 1999) there still is far less known about it than many other plants.
Because these plants have been primarily wild harvested, less time has been spent developing appropriate cultivation practices, developing cultivars, etc. Currently, work is being done by the New Crops researchers at Purdue (Jim Simon, personal communication, New Crops web-site) on developing varieties that will yield higher key-constituents. Work on cultivation practices is being done by Jeannine Davis from NCSU (personal communication, and Jeannine Davis, 1996). Terry Jones from University of Kentucky Extension (personal communication) has also conducted trials relating to soil amendments, lime in particular. Frontier Natural Products Cooperative (Tim Blakley and Erica Renaud personal communication) is conducting research on cultivation practices of perhaps the broadest array of eastern woodland species. A major partner of ours they have established a privately funded research center, the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs, and are researching cultivation practices on over a dozen medicinal herbs at-risk of being over-harvested. Most of these are eastern woodland plants being cultivated in woodland settings. Other medicinal herb companies are cultivating goldenseal and learning as they go, but little published literature has come out from their efforts. Wilcox, Frontier and Eclectic Institute are a few of the companies that have moved into goldenseal growing, though from a commercial rather than an academic perspective (personal communication with each company).
Most of the information we have on goldenseal, woodland ginseng, and black cohosh growing is coming either from on-farm research, research by Extension agents, or academic research that has yet been published. Dr. Jan Salick and her students at Ohio University have established research plots on goldenseal but have not yet published their results (personal communication). Martha Van Der Voort is doing her dissertation work on woodland ginseng but has not published her results yet (personal communication). Mountain Traditions in Kentucky is getting into on-farm research but results are not yet available (personal communication)
There is a considerable literature relating to ginseng cultivation under shade-cloth, but far less relating to woodland cultivation. Pioneering work has been done by Andy Hankins with Extension in Virginia (personal communication), David Cooke and Jon Scott in West Virginia University Extension (personal communication) and Bob Beyfuss (Beyfuss, 1998) from Cornell Extension as well as Terry Jones in Kentucky (Jones, Szymanski, revision yet to be published).
There have been a few SARE producers grants that are relevant. A producer project on cultivation of wildflowers and medicinals in the woods was conducted in Massachusetts, a project on ginseng growing in Maine was conducted, and one other project relating to growing herbs in the woods was listed on the SARE web-site. None of the few related projects had education and broad citizen-based research components. (SARE web-site, 1999)

Project Objectives:

Develop “best practices” for ecologically sound woodland cultivation of high-value
medicinal plants and gourmet mushrooms.

Targets:
Establishment of 4 research and demonstration areas evaluating 8 research questions
Technical assistance to 5 growers in establishment of on-farm research
2 meetings of a citizen science group linking researchers with growers needs attended by 10
Dissemination through 5 growers group meetings and field days attended by 60

2. Promote forest-based cultivation of endangered and other native medicinal plants and gourmet mushrooms to preserve biodiversity while creating an economic diversification strategy for area farmers.

Targets:

One two-day conference on income opportunities in forest cultivation attended by 150

Distribution of Grapevine newsletters (2 with distribution of 1600)

Presentations to other practitioners at 2 or more national conferences (Expo East, Expo West, National Network of Forest Practitioners, Rural Communities Assistance Program Conference)
4 workshops on cultivation of high-value woodland crops with combined attendance of 80
Development and distribution of “Introduction to Special Forest Products” brochure
(First printing of 3000)
Development of 4 demonstration sites (also under 1)
5 Herb Growers’ meetings and demonstration site visits with combined attendance of over 60 (also under 1)
3 or more mushroom growers meetings and demonstration site visits with combined attendance of 25 or more
4 individual or small-group visits to demonstration sites attended by a total of 15 persons

Disseminate results to natural resources and agricultural extension personnel

One or more seminars or workshops for OSU Extension, NRCS, local SWCDs and other personnel working with farmers attended by a minimum of 10. Much of the initial dissemination will occur through project partners

Presentation to Hocking College and OSU forestry classes attended by 110

Develop and distribute informational packets for forest cultivated crops on-paper and on-line

4. Disseminate results to area farmers

Targets:
Conference attended by 150
Four workshops attended by a total of 80 growers
Growers groups with 5 meetings of the herb growers group.
Establishment of 4 demonstration plots.
2 newsletters distributed to 1600 persons.
Articles and/or news releases for Farm and Dairy magazine, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association newsletter, Farm Bureau newsletter and others identified as strategic.
Staff displays at 2 county fairs, Paul Bunyan Show, the Sorghum Festival, and other events

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Brian McCarthy

Research

Materials and methods:

Methods
Rural Action implemented a grower-centered contact and support approach. We identified ways to outreach to new growers where they would find us accessible and approachable. These methods have included outreach at county fairs and other public events, press-releases relating to events and other milestones, and development of outreach materials, such as the NTFP brochure, that encourage growers to contact our office.

Next we developed a menu of ways for growers to access further information and to become involved in the regional cultivation efforts. These included:
Formation of a growers association focused on promoting these crops
Co-hosting educational meetings
Co-hosting field days at growers’ farms
Identification of the best written materials relating to growing these crops
Organizing of public education workshops with hands-on training components
Establishment of demonstration sites for experiential education on cultivation practices

Organizing of a region-wide conference allowing a low-cost immersion experience for growers interested in exploring a variety of new crops

We also are putting into place drivers for local competitiveness, helping local growers to compete on a sustained basis. Methods for this have included the formation of the growers association and establishment of research efforts which will keep growers on the cutting-edge of cultivation practices. The research efforts are a combination of grower-research and more formal academic research driven by grower research questions. One mechanism for this was our management of the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs in Meigs County, a research and training center for growers.
Finally we supported producers in making market linkages. By participating in Natural Products trade-shows and other national events we were able to link one producer with a buyer who paid more than 300% of what he otherwise would have received for his crop.
Overall we used a variety of methods designed to reach a variety of producers from varying backgrounds and with varying interests.
This was an education grant so we will not go into detail on the experimental design on the demonstration sites. The experimental data generated by them will be a happy by-product of this process. Research design was evaluated and approved by Dr. Brian McCarthy a bio-statistician and plant ecologist at Ohio University and was implemented by a graduate student of his.

Materials
We primarily relied on the farms of cooperating farmers for the demonstration activities, though we also utilized an education center and the National Center for Preservation of Medicinal Herbs that we operate in Meigs County. The education center demonstration site will be used for future landowners conferences and the demonstration site at the National Center will be used for a variety of field days on a continuing basis. The demonstration sites on growers’ farms will be used primarily by the RAGA association for internal training activities and as a field component to educational workshops.
For the ginseng workshops we generally relied on land owned by supporters of Rural Action or by friends and family of RAGA members.
In January of 2001 we undertook management of the National Center for the Preservation of Medicinal Herbs in Rutland Ohio. It is a 68-acre research and education center established by Frontier Natural Products Cooperative. Currently there are over a dozen initial research trials established and we will be looking to further expand this research. Many of the existing trials will be harvested in Fall of 2002 and we will be using that data to prepare publications for growers.

Research results and discussion:

Projected results for this project were almost entirely all reached and most projections were exceeded, sometimes by a factor of 2 or more. The notable objectives that were not reached were the creation of a mushroom growers group and a seminar for natural resources professionals. The interest in mushroom cultivation did not warrant formation of a mushroom growers group. Increased efforts were put into the creation of a medicinal herbs growers group which developed into an incorporated growers association.
Work with natural resources professionals happened on a one-on-one basis with cooperating Extension agents and foresters. The seminar has been postponed and will take place in the context of a larger Professional Development effort that Rural Action is conducting. Trainings will happen in 2002.
See the Table “Expected Results Compared with Actual Results” to see the quantification of our results. Overall the project was extremely successful and we will continue to pursue activities in this vein with growers.

Expected Results from Proposal Abstract:
¨ Introductory workshops and conference attended by 230 (80 workshops, 150 conference)
¨ Growers meetings and advanced field-days with combined attendance of 120
¨ Addition of 200 interested people to our database through fairs and outreach tables
¨ Distribution of 3000 introductory brochures and 150 in-depth (50 page) information packets
¨ Distribution of 2 issues of the Grapevine newsletter to 1600 current and potential growers
¨ Outreach to 120 forestry students and natural resources professionals
¨ Establishment of 4 demonstration and research sites and 4 grower experiment sites
¨ Articles published in 3 or more farm-related magazines

Expected Results Compared with Actual Results:
Proposed Results:
¨* Introductory workshops and conference attended by 230

* Growers meetings and advanced field-days with combined attendance of 120

* Addition of 200 interested people to our database through fairs and outreach tables
* Distribution of 3000 introductory brochures and 150 in-depth (50 page) information packets
* Distribution of 2 issues of the Grapevine newsletter to 1600 current and potential growers

* Outreach to 120 forestry students and natural resources professionals

Actual Results

Participation of 127 in workshops, 150 in first conference and 200 in second for a total of 477.

Over 12 RAGA meetings and field days and 11 RAGA board/committee meetings with total participation of 207.
Addition of 420 new contacts into our database

Distribution of 5000 new Intro. To NTFPs brochures. And 200 copies of educational materials.

Development and distribution of 3 newsletters with total circulation of over 5000

Forestry enrollment did not warrant presentations. Presentations made to 4 other groups with participation over 120.
5 demonstration sites established in 4 counties. Ongoing development still needed. On-farm research established on 4 farms
2 RAGA field days at Morgan Co grower’s site, 1 May 2001 tour and 1 during conference at National Center with total participation of over 100

In-depth coverage in Farm and Dairy and the Athens News and lighter coverage in other media

Herb Growers Group incorporated into Roots of Appalachia Growers Assoc.. Over 12 monthly meetings, numerous board meetings and committee meetings on education and policy. Total participation of 207. Membership grew to over 40.

Mushroom growers did not end up forming an association. Interest was too low.
Outreach tables at over 16 county fairs and other public events

* Establishment of 4 demonstration and research sites and 5 grower experiment sites

* 4 individual or small-group visits to demonstration sites attended by a total of 15 persons

* Articles published in 3 or more farm-related magazines

* 8 Herb Growers meetings

* Mushroom growers meetings

* Outreach tables at 4 county fairs

* Presentations to other practitioners at 2 or more national conferences
* Seminar for natural resources personnel

* Develop and distribute informational packets for forest cultivated crops on-paper and on-line
* 2 Advisory Board meetings

* 2 Citizen Science Council meetings

* Conduct market research and provide marketing assistance for growers

* Assist growers with marketing for Fall 2001 crops

Research conclusions:
Impact of Results/Outcomes

While some of the impacts of our work would be very expensive to evaluate with great precision, there are certain areas where we can point to impacts.

New Plantings of Forest Cultivated Crops
In 2001 alone, we sold over 120 Lbs. of ginseng seed to local producers, with an estimated value-at harvest of over $180,000 (based on research findings from Andy Hankins of Virginia Extension). All of the seed was obtained through a local producer, it was all organic and all from Ohio ecotype stock. Close to 50 Lbs of goldenseal was also sold through the program in 2001 in addition to roughly 200 Lbs planted by one grower which was not purchased through us. 250 Lbs. of black cohosh was also planted.
It is reasonable to assume that less than 50% of the cultivation that has happened as a result of our efforts took place using planting stock we sold. Thus we estimate that between June 2000 and December 2001 that 400 pounds of ginseng seed was planted by persons who had attended workshops or the conference or that otherwise received information from us. Similarly we estimate that at least 500 pounds of goldenseal and 500 pounds of black cohosh was planted. Under good conditions this could be expected to produce almost $750,000 worth of root if markets hold and goldenseal and black cohosh growers sell directly to manufacturers.
This work is only the beginning. In the next 3-5 years we anticipate the planting of $5 million worth of ginseng (value at harvest) with a similar increase in cultivation of other forest medicinals. With value-added processing the value could be substantially greater. In the coming years we plan to assist growers in production of value-added products.

Roots of Appalachia Grower Association
In 2000 Rural Action hosted a series of Growers’ Group educational activities. We supported this group in development into an incorporated growers association which we continue to support. In January of 2001 the Roots of Appalachia Growers Association (RAGA) became a legal entity and since then has been having monthly educational and board meetings.
Currently RAGA has over 40 grower-members and a board including growers from several Appalachian Ohio counties. Meetings included both educational topics, field days, and planning meetings. Rural Action also supported RAGA in preparation of its first grant proposal to expand educational activities. Workshops in Fall of 2001 included significant involvement of RAGA in planning and implementation and the association has begun to take leadership in workshop planning for 2002.
RAGA has changed the region by becoming a voice for growers in the region, a source for diffusion of innovative techniques, a clearinghouse for research and a mechanism for improving visibility of local growers in the marketplace. This has raised the visibility of the region as producers of medicinal herbs and has become a competitive advantage for our growers.

Events
Rural Action organized 8 workshops and 2 conferences during the grant period. The workshops were held in 6 different Appalachian Ohio Counties. Total participation was over 475. This introduced hundreds of growers to forest cultivated crops. We do not have numbers for the adoption of these practices but we estimate that roughly 100 growers have experimented with these new crops and at least 10 have undertaken significant cultivation.
In June 2000 an “Income Opportunities” conference was held showcasing income opportunities from medicinal herbs, mushrooms, and other forest cultivated crops. Total participation was 150 and participant evaluations were very favorable.
In June 2001 we held the “Appalachian Herb Gathering”, a joint conference held with United Plant Savers which attracted over 200 participants and over 40 presenters. This two-day involved 9 simultaneous conference tracks with hands-on workshops and presentations focused on forest cultivated crops and economic opportunities. It was the most successful conference we have held to date and experienced extremely positive reviews from both presenters and participants.
The Forestry Program also held 8 workshops and educational outings focusing on the cultivation of many NTFP’s, with total participation of over 125.
Other educational activities happened outside of the region including national conference presentations in Wisconsin, Washington state and elsewhere.
The impact of the events was to significantly increase the use of appropriate practices among growers. Most ginseng growers plant the seed too deep, expend unnecessary effort preparing their sites inappropriately, and thus waste resources while promoting disease. By providing training for hundreds of growers we have significantly increased the productivity of their efforts and their profitability.

Outreach Efforts
It was also a very successful year for our outreach efforts, adding over 400 new people to our database and exposing the program to over 1300 people in 2001. By raising visibility in the region the political climate has become more supportive of ginseng growers. We anticipate new poaching laws and enforcement coming into effect in the next 2-3 years.

Demonstration Sites
Staff and VISTA* Volunteers, along with Ohio University volunteers and graduate students established 5 NTFP Demonstration Sites in 5 counties. These sites now contain not only demonstration plantings, but also several research plantings as well. From a demonstration standpoint, these sites offer one the opportunity to see the different planting techniques and results for several species of medicinal herbs and mushrooms. This also allows the public easy access to many of these sites if they are interested in learning more about the cultivation of NTFP’s.
From a research standpoint, these plantings will help us learn more about best cultivation practices and allow us to share the results we gain with many local growers/producers. Although many of the research results will not be known for several years, these sites give people the chance to visually observe results on a year to year basis.
The research we are doing on these sites is primarily focused around Goldenseal and Black Cohosh. We are comparing different spacings for each species as well as looking at planting in tilled VS. not tilled soils. All roots were photographed, weighed, measured, numbered and tagged before going into the ground. This will allow us to find out not only the percent growth on a year to year basis, but also allow us to see the actual morphisis of a individual rhizome over time. At each site where research is taking place, 8 beds were laid out, 4 focused on goldenseal and 4 focused on black cohosh. This process was repeated at 3 of the 5 sites. This research is being conducted in cooperation with Ohio University Department of Plant Biology.
Of the 5 demonstration sites, 3 are located on growers private farms, 1 on a non-profit herb research/demonstration farm, and 1 at a “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” Summer Camp where we will be holding our income opportunities conference in 2002.
We expect that in the future the demonstration sites we have developed will provide a means for many new growers to get involved. By providing several demonstration sites throughout the SE part of the state we feel that we have made it easy for interested people across the region to come see some examples of forest farming. Our hope is that these sites will continually be developed into the future and can evolve as we learn more about different propagation, planting and cultivation techniques. Landowners involved in the demonstration sites development have agreed to hold grower field days at the sites, this will provide a opportunity to share our experiences and results with more people.
We are developing de-centralized education infrastructure to facilitate more rapid adoption of these practices and efficient flow of information to keep growers on the cutting edge.

Economic Analysis

Cooperation between Marcella Szymanski and Deborah Hill of UK Extension and Rural Action led to the production of a draft economic analysis of small-scale shiitake production. Analyses for large scale shiitake operations had been conducted but a study of the economics of small-scale production is a new undertaking. Results have not yet been published but Rural Action has commented on a draft version.
For the economics of ginseng production Rural Action has identified recent publications by Andy Hankins with Extension in Virginia as well as some analysis by Scott Persons in his book Green Gold and in other papers. The National Agroforestry Center has a publication on Economics of Ginseng produced by Bob Beyfuss and Terry Jones and Deborah Hill have a publication which includes the economics of both ginseng and goldenseal.
The only treatment of goldenseal we could find is that done by Jones and Szymanski. The economic analysis was not very complete and did not include labor inputs so was not useful in assessing profitability.
Rural Action and the Cooperative Center at OSU Extension Piketon have entered into a collaboration which will result in the publication of a cost of production study on goldenseal. This is not yet completed but completion is anticipated in 2002.

Farmer Adoption

One good indication of the adoption of these new practices was the increase in membership in Roots of Appalachia Growers Association. In its first year the association increased to membership of 40. This was without even a concerted membership recruitment effort!
Many other workshop participants have also begun cultivating these new crops but are not involved with the growers association so we do not have firm numbers. We estimate the number to be around 100.
Because of the private nature of ginseng growers in particular it is quite possible that there were many more than we know of who started growing, refined their existing cultivation practices, or otherwise benefited from our educational activities.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary

Education/outreach description:

Publications
Introductions to Non-Timber Forest Products, circulation 5000
The Grapevine Newsletter, 4 issues, circulation 1000+ each
Resources for Forest Income Opportunities resource compilation, selections distributed at a variety of public events, workshops, etc. Numbers not tracked but estimated at 300 each.
Economic Analysis of Small-Scale Shiitake Production (Deborah Hill and Marcella Szymanski with Rural Action’s cooperation and support)- currently in draft form
Wild Simulated Ginseng how-to video in process with David Cooke of WVU. Production scheduled for 2002.

Workshop Participation
“Income Opportunities from Your Woodlands” Conference Meigs 150 June, 2000
Site Selection for Growing Herbs Morgan 25 July, 2000
Ginseng Morgan 16 October, 2000
Ginseng Vinton Co. 6 November, 2000
“Appalachian Herb Gathering” Conference Meigs 200+ June, 2001
Ginseng Perry Co. 21 September, 2001
Mushroom Growing Meigs Co. 16 April, 2001
Mushroom Hike Athens Co. 16 September, 2000
Intro. to Med. Herbs Meigs Co. 11 September, 2001
Ginseng Washington Co. 16 October, 2001

Total Participation: 477
Note- This does not include RAGA meetings and other educational activities that are not primarily oriented around outreach to NEW producers

Selected outreach at county fairs and other community events

2000
Athen’s Co. Fair 8/3-11/01
Meigs Co. Fair 8/13-18/01
Pawpaw Fest 9/15/01
Chili Pepper Fest 9/21-23/01
Meigs-Expo 9/14-16/01
Country Living Field Day 9/29/01
Paul Bunyan Show 10/5-7/01
Farm Science Review 9/18-20/01
Sorghum Fest 10/5-7/01
2001
Athens Kid Fest 7/15/00
Perry Co. Fair 7/18-23/00
Wilksville Fish Fry 7/29/00
Athens Co. Fair 8/4-12/00
Meigs Co. Fair 8/14-19/00
Smoke Rise Blue Grass Fest 8/ 17-19/00
Parade of the Hills 8/23-26/00
Paul Bunyan Show 10/4-6/00

Other outreach activities

Our events routinely received coverage in local newspapers. Additionally two feature articles on growers appeared in Farm and Dairy newspaper and the Athens News. Farm and Dairy is a critical channel for reaching farmers in the region. Other smaller publicity pieces and articles occurred throughout the project period.
We produced three Grapevine newsletters during the grant period. These were mailed out to roughly a thousand members, interested landowners, and state agencies. Another 1000 copies were distributed at fairs and other outreach events as well as at national conferences. In addition, we assisted in the production and distribution of two Roots of Appalachia newsletters, which were focused on the needs of local medicinal herb growers.
We are working with an Extension specialist from WVU to update and distribute a wild-simulated ginseng “how to” video. The video is still in production and editing with an expected due date of Spring 2002. During the interim, we video taped two of our workshops and will make them available on a limited basis to our local grower, partners, and other interested landowners.
During the grant period we added 420 new prospective growers to our database. We will be using this base of growers to promote these new crops to others throughout the region, to be a source of cultivation information, and to provide a pool of sellers for future cooperative marketing efforts.

Project Outcomes

Recommendations:

Areas needing additional study

We will be conducting professional development training in 2002. That is one logical area for further activity.

Cultivation practices, while under some study at the moment, are largely un-documented. More focused academic study on this would be beneficial.

Ecological impacts of disturbing forest soils need additional study. Overall effectiveness of different cultivation approaches also warrants further study.

Market-oriented research is also required to develop promising directions for development of new value-added products.

More information about innovation-diffusion in the farm community would also be very helpful to our work. It is possible that there is literature we have not seen but we feel this is a potentially very useful arena of study.

Future grower-education activities that focus on market development and market access would be useful.

Further work developing a coordinated system of aggregating crops from smaller growers would be helpful. A local manufacturer of Paw Paw products needs additional fruit to meet his production needs. A combination of “wild orcharding” and cultivation seems prudent. Development of production systems for this would be helpful.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.