Forest Botanicals: Working Together to Build a New Supply Chain

United Plant Savers is excited to co-sponsor this event specific for those who are actively engaged in stewardship of forest botanicals. UpS supports the efforts of forest grown botanicals as a critical component of conservation of at-risk native medicinal plants many of which come from the forest regions of Appalachia.  

November 13, 2015 in Front Royal, Virginia & November 14, 2015 in Abingdon, Virginia


Forest-based medicinal plant cultivation (i.e., agroforestry), could help forest landowners in the eastern United States generate additional income, improve the health of their woodlot, and contribute to native medicinal plant conservation. It also stands to help the natural products industry address concerns about where their raw plant material comes from and the quality of their products. However, status quo markets favor wild harvesting and make it difficult to profitably farm these plants in the forest. Buyers, manufacturers, and many herbalists have simply not been willing to pay the price required for forest owners to profitably and sustainably raise many slow-growing, habitat-specific medicinal plants in the forest where they often grow best. As a result, plants such as black cohosh, blue cohosh, goldenseal, bloodroot, and American ginseng continue to be wild-harvested or cultivated under artificial shade instead of grown in the forest.

Attendees of these meetings will learn about the complex and little understood forest botanical supply chain and the opportunities and challenges facing forest-based growers (and buyers) of native medicinal plants. Quality-control, profitability, and sustainability will be discussed along with current efforts to address existing market shortcomings by building a new forest botanical supply paradigm based on third-party forest-grown verification. Attendees will learn about how to become involved in building a new ‘forestgrown’ botanical supply chain that features ‘wild-stewarded’ and ‘forest farmed’ products, and discuss with experts and company representatives what is needed to become a supplier in this emerging agroforestry-based industry.

Who is invited to attend?

Due to space limitations at each of these locations, we encourage only commercially-oriented forest landowners already involved in medicinal plant production and harvesting forestlands to register to attend one of these meetings. If you are eligible to attend, we ask that you send only two members of your household or operation to the workshop. To register, you must complete the attached registration form which asks you to provide some brief details about your history producing medicinal plants and involvement in the forest botanical trade. If selected to attend one of the meetings, you will be asked to remit a deposit to reserve your space. Preregistration will be required to attend. For planning purposes we will not be able to accept registrations at the door.

Agenda (Repeated on Both Dates)

9:00-9:15 Welcome, Purpose and Agenda, John Munsell, Virginia Tech

9:15-10:15 Lessons Learned: A Historical Perspective on Buying and Selling Forest Botanicals, Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-11:30 Native Medicinal Forest Plant Supply Chains in the Eastern United States: Opportunites, Chllenges and Third Party Verification, Eric Burkhart, Penn State University

11:30-12:15 Overview of the PCO ‘Forestgrown’ Producer Verification Program, Adam Seitz, Pennsylvania Certified Organic & Eric Burkhart, Penn State University

12:15-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:00 Buyer Perspective on a Forestgrown Supply Chain: Needs, Pricing and Expectations, Mountain Rose Herbs, Oregon

2:00-2:15 Break

2:15-3:00-ish Facilitated Discussion: Questions, Concerns and Next Steps, John Munsell, Virginia Tech, Eric Burkhart, Penn State University & Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University


Deadline for registration is October 2nd, 2015

Download Registration Form Here