UpS Helps Kick Off Forest Grown Program

Forest Botanicals: Working Together to Build a New Supply Chain was a “first of its kind” event that United Plant Savers held in November with support from Mountain Rose Herbs, Penn State, PCO and Virginia Tech.

How much longer can the ecosystem support the constant wild harvest of native woodland botanicals? Do we know who is harvesting and where are forest botanicals are being harvested? The new PCO forest grown verification program encourages “conservation through cultivation’ as a solution of sustainability, quality and ethics. The new PCO program that allows woodland farmers of medicinal plants to be verified is perfectly synced with another new project “Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Program: Growing Opportunities Beneath the Canopy”. United Plant Savers is one of several collaborators that will be apart of a 3-year funded USDA program to train future forest farmer in how to become growers of native medicinal plants within the Appalachian region. If you are interested in knowing about future workshops/webinars and getting connected to the new network of forest farmers then please email your information to For those that attended and for those that are interested here are the powerpoints presented from the workshop in PDF format.

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(Susan Leopold, Eric Burkhart, Jeanine Davis, Leslie Zuck, Jennifer Gerrity, Joshua Bogart, Jacob Lauch, Tiffany Brown)

The workshop kicked off with Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University who presented Lessons Learned: A Historical Perspective on Buying and Selling Forest Botanicals.
Get the 2015 Lessons Learned PDF (4.6 MB)

Eric Burkhart of Penn State University presented: Native Medicinal Forest Plant Supply Chains in the Eastern United States: Opportunites, Challenges and Third Party Verification.
Get the Native Medicinal Forest Plant Supply Chains PDF (29.8 MB)

Leslie Zuck President of PCO presented on the new ‘Forestgrown’ Producer Verification Program, for further details visit

For those that are interested to join the program UpS had set up a cost share program to help with enrollment costs. UPS provides Cost Sharing for Ginseng

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Mountain Rose Herbs is the first to offer Verified Forest Grown Ginseng, to find out more, get the details here.

The one-day workshop ended with a presentation by Jennifer Gerrity, Executive Director or Operations and Jacob Lauch, from the procurement department of MRH on the Buyer Perspective on a Forest-grown Supply Chain: Needs, Pricing and Expectations.

Folks came from southern Virginia, the mountains of Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina to engage, network and discuss how to move towards a more sustainable forest herb supply that encourages stewardship of the region  these plants call home. We must address the root of the issue if we are to truly ensure the conservation of these important medicinal plant species.

Here a few pictures of those working hard to support a shift – a new paradigm for Appalachia-one that conserves the forest and the plants while providing quality herbal products. Thank you to all that attended to make this event a success!

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