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Certified Organic Wild Crop Harvesting - Project Receives Award
The Fraziers, who many people know from Trading Spouses, partnered with the Pioneer Forest, The National Forest Practitioners to be awarded $17,000.00 for their project to demonstrate the economic potential of certified organic wild harvests
Wild Crops Project - SARE Awarded funding for Goods From The Woods
Monday April 07, 2008
Salem, Mo - George and Penny Frazier have operated certified organic wild crops Missouri farms for the last 4 years.The couple, together with several partners was awarded more than $17,000.00 in funding from The Northern Sustainable Agriculture Research program, (SARE) for a project demonstrating profitability in certified organic wild crops. The Fraziers partnered with the Pioneer Forest, The National Network of Forest Practitioners and several landowners to demonstrate the economic viability of certified organic wild crop collection of non timber forest products or special forest products.
The Pioneer Forest has been the premiere leader of sustainable managed timber harvest for more than 50 years. That forest is comprised of more than 150,000 acres in the Missouri Ozarks. The Fraziers approached the forest last year about the possibility of leasing acreage and certifying it pursuant to the National Organic Program for wild crop harvesting. Certification will soon be completed and more than 250 species will fall within that certification. However, the Fraziers and the forest have agreed to start their work with witch hazel harvest. The leaves, twigs and bark will be processed and distilled on the Frazier's facility located north of Salem Missouri. Penny has been contacted by several companies wishing to purchase the entire year's production.
Certified Organic witch hazel is highly sought after and a key component in more than 20 types of preparations for organic health and beauty preparations. Currently the demand for certified organic witch hazel is met in France with retail pricing running as high as $3.00 per ounce. The demand for certified organic health and beauty products has demonstrated the strongest growth in the entire organic industry.In the USA, the entire Health and Beauty Care market is almost USD $40 billion and is expecting 3.4% annual growth. The demand for natural health and beauty products shows steady 23% growth. Currently many of the ingredients used to formulate products is met from Europe and Asia.
There are more than 38 species of wild plants harvested by the ton in Missouri. However, the market place is demanding the harvests be certified organic in order to used in the preparation of certified health and beauty products. Certification of land for wild crop organic harvests is not a difficult process. One must demonstrate the product is harvested in a sustainable manner. The Fraziers do this through both pictures and their daily harvest log. Certification also insures the harvester and the landowner will received up to 80% premium for the product.
Many people are unaware of forest certification options available for their land. This is one of the primary roles The National Network of Forest Practitioners (NNFP) will play in the project. The group is comprised of rural forest landowners, government entities and academics dedicated to achieving sustainable rural enterprise and social justice. NNFP is the technical reporting partner and will assist in disseminating the information about the project. Grant funds will be available to help farmers and forest owners learn about certified organic wild crops at the NNFP annual meeting, which will be held in Steelville Missouri in September. One can learn more about the project and wild crop harvest at www.wildcrops.com and the NNFP presentations at www.nnfp.org.