Yew Mountain Center Hosts WV Forest Farming Field Day May 20th, 2023
The Yew Mountain Center in Lobelia, near Hillsboro, WV, will host the WV Forest Farming Field Day on Saturday, May 20th. It’s a chance for anyone to learn about turning a relatively small piece of forest land into a productive agricultural plot. I spoke with Yew Mountain Center forest farming coordinator Will Lewis.
“It’s our forest farming field day, all day Saturday from 8am to about 7:30pm, including dinner at the end,” he said. “Basically many different things relating to forest farming. In the morning we have a series of workshops, those are going to cover site selection, so how to select a site for these forest botanicals, another one is going to be propagation.”
The cost for the field day is $35.00 per person which covers the full day of workshops, lunch and dinner, forest farming materials and technical assistance, and information about forest farming mini grants. There are scholarships available for those who need financial assistance to attend – you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the scholarship program. Participants need only bring water and perhaps rain gear if the weather looks iffy.
Ask most folks what they think of when you say forest farming, and ginseng most likely springs to mind. But Lewis says there are many other botanicals to consider.
“So the other herbs we’ll be talking about will be Goldenseal, it’s a big one, Black Cohosh, Ramps – we’ll actually have a whole workshop on just ramps. And then some lesser known ones are Blue Cohosh, Bloodroot, False Unicorn Root, Wild Yam [and] Solomon’s Seal.”
“We’ll also have a sugar and tree sap workshop, so that will cover maple syrup, but also the other tree saps such as black walnut and sycamore. And we have a guy coming to do a mushroom class too.”
That class will cover inoculating tree stumps to grow not only Shitake mushrooms, but also Lion’s Mane and Hen of the Woods.
Lewis and The Yew have been involved in forest farming for a number of years. He said interest in forest farming has steadily increased, especially during and after the pandemic.
“Yeah, actually whenever the pandemic came to be, a lot of the medicinal herbs that people were using, the demand went way up for Goldenseal,” he said. “We saw a spike in just people getting interested in this, producing their own medicine, but also buying medicinal herds.”
Other topics to be covered Saturday include a case study with someone who’s been forest farming for a decade, Pocahontas CVB Executive Director Cara Rose speaking about agritourism, and Lewis who will talk about honeybees.
He says there is also an additional workshop on Sunday the 21st on woodlot assessment for producing maple syrup. He said even if you’re not a maple producer, the information can be used to assess other trees as well. That workshop is free.
For more information or to register for the WV Forest Farming Field Day, you may visit wvforestfarming.org or yewmountain.org.