Editor's Note
West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports on the West Virginia Forest Farming Initiative, a program that teaches residents how to raise native plants on their own forested land as a source of income and as a way to preserve the forests. Mature goldenseal root, for example, sells for up to $40 per pound and demand is growing during the pandemic. At the same time, larger herbal manufacturers are looking for a stable supply chain and companies want to assure their customers that the plants are from sustainable and verifiable sources. “It’s very pragmatic, because it’s their supply, their products depend on it," said Yew Mountain Center director Erica Marks. Part of the forest farming program is teaching people how to become certified growers to get a higher price for their crop.
Ginseng, Goldenseal, Cohosh, Bloodroot, Ramps – all plants native to Appalachia and all appreciated around the world for their medicinal and culinary properties. In West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia, these plants have been harvested in the wild for generations. But over harvesting of these slow growing plants could diminish wild populations. The West Virginia Forest Farming Initiative takes a different approach. The program teaches residents how to raise botanicals on their own forested land for a source of income and as a way to preserve the forests. 

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