by Lee Rinehart, Director of Education & Outreach, Pennsylvania Certified Organic
Sustainable harvesting of wild-grown medicinal plants is becoming a major concern to reduce the threat to forest plant biodiversity. Wild ecologies can be fragile, and given the demand for medicinal plants, the industry is looking for ways to verify the conscientious production and harvest of wild-grown products.
In response to this demand Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) has established a voluntary Forest Grown Verification Program for forest grown products that are sustainably and legally produced and harvested. The program currently focuses on American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) products from private land, and PCO is currently working to add several other forest products to the list including black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), forest-farmed mushrooms, and forest farmed leeks. The program standards for ginseng were developed by PCO through research of federal and state regulations, consultations with industry professionals and PCO members, and information from scientific publications.
Getting more forest grown producers on board is the principle focus of UpS and PCO, evidenced by a new program designed to incentivize verification by reducing the costs to producers. The Forest Grown Cost Share program is a joint effort between UpS and PCO to offset verification fees for PCO Verified Forest Grown production operations. UpS has dedicated funds specifically for the program that will be administered by PCO, with the potential to continue the program on an annual basis.
“PCO is excited to work with United Plant Savers to encourage forest grown verification,” says PCO’s Director of Education and Outreach, Lee Rinehart. “The funds provided by UpS for the cost share program help reduce the financial burden of growers who harvest forest products with careful attention to the sustainability of forest ecologies. Third-party verification communicates to consumers that the products they purchase were stewarded and legally harvested in a manner that does not degrade the long-term regenerative capability of the wild population.”
Interested producers and handlers of forest grown products can contact Adam Seitz, PCO Certification Specialist at (814) 422-0251 to obtain a Forest Grown System Plan, or visit www.paorganic.org/forestgrown for more information and a downloadable PCO Forest Grown Verification Program Manual
Dear Friends and Members of United Plant Savers, The time has come to collect new articles for our annual Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation, to be published in Spring 2016. We invite all of our members and supporters to tell their stories and share their knowledge and experiences in this upcoming issue. If you have participated in research or have stories or news of interest about “At-Risk” or native medicinal plants, please share with our membership.
Theme: Understanding the Supply Chain for At-Risk Plants and the challenges to sustainable harvesting of forest botanicals
The theme for the Spring 2016 Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation is ‘Understanding the supply Chain for At-Risk Plants’. How do we balance between demand and limited supply of slow-growing wild harvested plants, what about the quality of these plants at time of harvest and the ethics in how we harvest? How do we bring ceremony into our harvesting practices and how do we make choices when buying herbs that we know are endangered. We welcome your submission and we do have a selective process so not all submission will be published but we will try and share them through emails and social media when possible.
OCTOBER 4, 2014 RUTLAND, OH The weather was literally 20 degrees warmer with full sun the day before our big event at the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio. We were still in set up mode the evening before as the grumpy cumulus clouds moved in and hoarded the sky vowing cold, hard rain. But all hope was not lost on the incumbent weather, for when the temperature and rain both began to plummet, interspersing promises of sunshine were also breaking through, highlighting the autumnal mosaic like flecks of gold in stone and lifting our sense of hope with arching rainbows across the hollow.
The morning of the event brought our first hail of the season, but that was no match for the steadfast queue of visitors lining up at the registration table. One can only apologize for the weather so much, until it becomes clear that weather has never really stopped those who want to learn from the fields and forests (albeit it can be quite the deterrent).…
OCTOBER 2014, FRONT ROYAL, VA Susan Leopold, Executive Director, United Plant Savers United Plant Savers is thrilled to announce our merger with Sacred Seeds. Sacred Seeds is a global network of sanctuaries preserving biodiversity and plant knowledge through living gardens, containing locally important plants focused on medicinals but including those of ceremonial, food, and craft use. Sacred Seeds formed from the vision of its founding garden at New Chapter’s partner farm Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica, similar to how United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary in Ohio became the vision for the Botanical Sanctuary Network.
Uniting the work of UpS and the Sacred Seeds foundational gardens of which there are currently 31, we intend to grow our Botanical Sanctuary Network and the Foundation Gardens in the effort to safeguard traditional plant knowledge and the native habitats in which these sacred plants thrive. Sacred Seeds has been managed at the William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden by ethnobotanist Ashley Glenn, in collaboration with New Chapter. United Plant Savers will continue to collaborate with the Missouri Botanical Garden as we move forward with the common vision of working with local communities to keep the flame of knowledge alive. United Plant Savers would especially…