FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/04/2021
Contact: Katie Commender
Agroforestry Program Director
Appalachian Sustainable Development seeks to expand populations of native Appalachian medicinal herbs in Virginia through cost-sharing and mini-grants
Duffield, Va. – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is accepting applications for the Forest Botanical Nursery Mini-Grant Program http://bit.ly/NurseryMiniGrant and Forest Botanical Planting Stock Cost-Share Program http://bit.ly/PlantingStockCostShare for landowners in Virginia. Virginia nurseries interested in sustainably cultivating bulk supplies of forest botanical planting stock and forest farmers interested in increasing the supply of native Appalachian forest botanicals for herbal markets are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. EST, June 15, 2021. Awards will be made in July. All mini-grant questions should be directed to Katie Commender, ASD’s Agroforestry Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASD will award at least two forest botanical nursery mini-grants. Funding requests are not to exceed $1,800, which can cover the costs of soil amendments and startup planting stock for qualifying species, including: Goldenseal, American Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Bloodroot, Solomon’s Seal, False Unicorn, Wild Yam and Stoneroot.
Applicants must be located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, be a current operating nursery or an aspiring new nursery seeking startup capital, landowner or able to prove long term lease agreement, have an appropriate site for growing forest botanicals, commit to following growing sanitation guidelines and best practices and commit to offering bulk, wholesale quantities of forest botanicals to customers. Funding for the Forest Botanical Nursery Mini-Grant was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 301-20-029. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.
In addition, ASD will award forest botanical planting stock cost share to at least four forest farmers. Funding requests of up to $1,000 can help cover the cost of planting stock for qualifying species, including: Goldenseal, American Ginseng, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Bloodroot, Solomon’s Seal, False Unicorn, Wild Yam and Stoneroot.
Applicants must be located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, be an aspiring or existing forest farmer, landowner or able to prove long term lease agreement, and have suitable planting sites pre-identified for eligible forest botanical species (preference given to goldenseal). Funding for Forest Botanical Planting Stock Cost-Share is made possible by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
About Forest Farming
Forest farming is a method being employed on forested lands to rebuild the supply of at-risk forest botanicals, while also allowing for sustainable harvest and financial gain. Currently, a primary barrier to forest farming is a lack of wholesale planting stock for start-ups. ASD’s mini-grant and cost share programs will support the conservation of forest botanicals, by expanding the availability of bulk, wholesale planting stock for forest farmers. This helps to increase forest farmers’ ability to sustainably cultivate forest botanicals for the herbal market.
As consumer demand for native forest medicinal plants grows, it puts pressure on already declining wild populations in the Appalachian Mountains. Habitat loss and overharvesting have resulted in many of these plants being listed by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) as species with potential to become threatened by extinction. Decreasing wild populations also threatens harvester’s ability to sell these species to herbal markets.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Living Better. Locally. It’s what drives ASD’s commitment to propel its mission to build a thriving regional food and agriculture system that creates healthy communities, respects the planet, and cultivates profitable opportunities for Appalachians. Since 1995, ASD has been working in Central Appalachia, providing hope, and making a difference for the people who call the region home. What began as opportunities for struggling tobacco farmers to grow fruits and vegetables have become lasting solutions to regional challenges that impact economic development, workforce development, food access, health, and wellness. Over the years, ASD has expanded its reach from northeast TN and southwest VA to include partners in WV, OH and KY, enabling the organization to bring resources back to the region. For more information, visit https://asdevelop.org , Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.