Multi-stakeholder collaboration for profitable and ecological cultivation of forest medicinals

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $103,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Dennis Hosack
Rural Action- Appalachian Forest Resource Center

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals


  • Animal Production: herbal medicines
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: cultural control, integrated pest management, physical control, prevention
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture, permaculture, transitioning to organic
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, analysis of personal/family life, social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    One of the Appalachian region’s greatest assets is its extensive and diverse forests. The descendents of families drawn to the region for coal mining jobs are attempting to find viable livelihoods in this area of limited economic assets and limited employment. Ginseng, goldenseal, and other forest medicinals are an important income source for families in the region. With ginseng selling for an average of $340/pound and COG goldenseal selling for as much as 400% of non-certified goldenseal there are important, underused economic opportunities for farmers in the region. This project proposes the following education, extension, and research-linked activities to achieve outcomes for diversifying and creating more profitable small and medium-sized farming in the region using forest medicinal plants: A multi-stakeholder planning meeting of regional organizations and producers; Three educational field days held at the farms with successful wild-simulated cultivation without the use of fungicides; Follow-up on-site technical assistance and extensive phone consultation with producers; A market report updating growers on prices of conventional, COG, and wild-simulated medicinal herbs; A Multi-Stakeholder Roundtable to connect growers and researchers; A producer reception involving 50 producers participating in dialog with researchers and other growers to identify new information about best cultivation practices; Webpages with new research information and market information; A 150 person conference in southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Out of 300 participating small and mid-sized producers, 60 will diversify their incomes and improve farm profitability by cultivating one or more FNPs (ginseng, goldenseal or experimenting with others)

    Out of 300 participating producers, 30 who are already cultivating ginseng change their production system by moving to wild-simulated ginseng production, including phase-out of fungicide use;

    Out of the 25 researchers and service providers participating in the multi-stakeholder roundtables 15 will undertake research based on the needs of producers and will communicate results to growers through appropriate channels (not research journals).

    500 producers, researchers, Extension agents, and nonprofit service providers will visit

    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.