The 14 funded businesses and non-profits are implementing their proposals to improve the marketing and development of their forest products industry in Western North Carolina. To date over 110 jobs have been created directly through this funding – either full-time, part-time, or seasonal. Jobs provided through this grant incorporate a broad range of skills, including loggers, foresters, horse loggers, small sawmill operators, handcrafters and artisans, furniture manufacturers, wildcrafters, forest foods harvesters/growers, and firewood and shavings processors. Many groups are now collaborating in ways not originally envisioned. An example includes co-locating services and products to be more competitive in the market by sharing costs, while better utilizing specific skillsets.
Appalachian Designs is using $64,900 in ARRA funds to develop a dry kiln, concentration yard, and certification program for small diameter wood products.
Bark House Supply Company received a grant of $90,700 to expand to market and sell home accessories made from sustainably managed, locally sourced and manufactured forest materials in Spruce Pine.
Blue Ridge Wild Timbers is using $66,340 to construct dry kilns and develop marketing and education materials to increase capacity for locally sourced firewood while establishing cooperative relationships with unemployed loggers.
The Boggs Collective received $98,000 to create a cooperative workshop, woodshed, woodworking school and virtual gallery to support craftspeople and forest producers.
Clear Creek Wood Products is receiving $81,500 to operate a shaving mill from small diameter timber procured from area harvesters.
Doubletree Farms’ Community Forestry Project was awarded $99,998 to promote sustainable forestry through worker training, product development and cooperative marketing in horse logging, sawmill operation, and production of value-added forest products.
Furniture Specialties, Inc. is receiving $99,880 to gain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, conduct seminars, assist local vendors become FSC certified, and market the benefits of green furniture constructed with sustainably harvested wood.
Green River Forest Products receiving $88,050 to construct dry kilns to bundle, market, and transport environmentally safe and marketable firewood.
Hickory Nut Gap and Big Sandy Mush are accepting $99,519 to form a partnership to improve sustainable community forestry through local lumber, small scale sawmills, woodland and medicinal plants, ecotourism, eco-education, land conservation, and the use of local building materials.
Highland Craftsmen, Inc. is using $91,450 to certify locally sourced hardwood trees for structural purposes, certify local professionals to provide grade stamping, and provide this service to other businesses.
Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Area Council will use $97,800 to train loggers and forest workers to sustainably open old roads and trails in private forests while implementing forest stewardship plans for innovative approaches to forest uses.
Recovering Traditional Cherokee Delicacies is accepting $62,327 to train and employ unemployed forest producers to harvest, grow, and market forest food products traditionally gathered by Cherokee tribe members, including wild edible greens and mushrooms.
Smoky Mountain Native Plants is receiving $90,000 to create a network and cooperative of producers to grow, harvest, and market value-added ramp products.
NC Mountain Mushroom Cooperative is accepting $83,200 to coordinate production of regional growers to collectively market and promote cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms and sustainably draw from underutilized timber resources to produce mushroom substrate, making this product available to the public.