- Agronomic: flax, hops, oats
- Fruits: berries (cranberries)
- Nuts: walnuts
- Vegetables: beets, carrots, garlic, peppers
- Additional Plants: herbs, native plants
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, workshop, youth education, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, market study, value added, agritourism
- Pest Management: botanical pesticides, mulching - plastic
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture, permaculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, employment opportunities, sustainability measures
Despite delays caused by tornado damage in 2011, UCAN continued to work with local farmers and agencies in identifying potential crops and markets that would meet the needs of our community. In August 2012 UCAN held the grand opening and were able to share and receive the support of our local government and agencies such as Auburn University and the Chamber of Commerce. This support made local farmers aware of our project and the need for local, organic product native to this area and used to treat many common ailments such as blackberry leaves being used to relieve sinus problems.
Tribally, there has always been a person or persons called Indian Doctor(s) or Herb Doctor(s). Among Cherokee’s these individuals have a gift and understanding of herbs and healing. The way leaves grow, the way a root twists and the color of the blooms tell the tribal Herb Doctor what part of the body a plant is best suited to aid. Joyce Dixon, one of UCAN’s Herb Doctors, studied for years. As a child Joyce was taught about the herbs and remedies by her grandmother. One herb Joyce shared with UCAN is the wonderful properties of blackberry leaves treating sinus problems.
Historically, blackberry leaves are used to treat a number of maladies. During World War II, the United States dispensed blackberry leaves to American soldiers to treat bleeding gums and dysentery. Traditionally, the Indian Doctor was approached by an individual or was summoned to a home to help people. The doctor would offer an herb or combination of herbs with verbal instructions. This trust was formed through centuries of results and remains so today.
Many of UCAN’s Tribal members, as well as many people within the Southern region of the country suffer with sinus problems. Today most individuals fast pace schedules do not allow for the time to steep blackberry leaves for tea. The convenience of taking a capsule has become the preferred method of treatment.
Literature used in research: 2005, PDR for Herbal Medicines, Medical Economics Company, Montvale, New Jersey
1. Acquire necessary accounting software for reporting and production of blackberry products and additional herb items.
2. Form partnerships with small fruit farmers and land owners with the goal of introducing our product line through the use of blackberry leaves for sinus problems.
3. Set agreeable realistic goals with farmers and land owners about blackberry leaves and other potential products that could be produced on their farm.
4.Encourage farmers to use current sustainable agriculture practices such as plastic mulch and drip irrigation in connection with blackberry production. Introduce positive options like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program through Eddie Wheeler with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to enhance production and apply conservation techniques.
5. Enhance the processing and marketing of the blackberry leaf product through volunteer force, paid employees, updated systems, and adequate equipment.
6. Conduct outreach field days and workshops in June, 2011 at David Cox blackberry farm located in Grant, Alabama and in October, 2011 on Steve Dixon’s land located in Guntersville, Alabama to identify various herbs and practices used to develop and market these products.
7. Consult with agricultural and horticultural sources at Tuskegee, Alabama A&M and Auburn universities, the U.S., Department of Agriculture, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Don Wambles with the Alabama’s Farmers Market Authority and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to identify most successful partnership opportunities for growing herbal needs.
8. Take full advantage of being in front of any audience and hand out literature and brochures. We visit a lot of schools, but we also work with adult groups and colleges as listed below.
* Jacksonville State University, Calhoun County, AL
* Forestry Camp, Epps, Saint Clair County, AL
* Native American Heritage Day, Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, AL
* Wallace State University, Hanceville, Cullman County, AL
* The Mountain Valley Council of the Arts, Marshall County, AL
* Scout Troop 27 of Scottsboro, Jackson County, AL
* Five Feathers Educational event in Madison County, AL
* Trail of Tears Motorcycle Event ending in Waterloo, Lauderdale County, AL
* WalMart Diversity Training, Gardendale, Jefferson County, AL
* WalMart Diversity Training, Oneonta, Blount County, AL
* Jackson County Heritage Center, Scottsboro, AL
* Trail of Tears Re-enactment & First Nations, Lincoln County, TN
* Native American Celebration, Chattanooga, Hamilton County, TN
* Marshall Community Club, Guntersville, Marshall County, AL
* Sam’s Club Diversity Training, Huntsville, Madison County, AL
9. Train employees that quality and consistency comes before quantity.