BRATTLEBORO >> The rural Northeast is one of a preciously small number of places on our planet where there is more forest now than there was 150 years ago. Despite our rich, forested landscape we derive economic benefit from a very small number of products, primarily wood, maple syrup and wildlife from hunting. The list of additional crops that could be grown and harvested in our forests is impressive: fruit like pawpaws, the culinary mushrooms shiitake and chanterelles, nut and oil crops like hazel and chestnut, and medicinal fungus such as chaga.
On Wednesday, July 6, entrepreneurs from throughout the region will gather in Brattleboro to present their business ideas in the areas of AgroForestry, Sustainable Agriculture and Permaculture. This meeting is affiliated with the Green Economy Innovation Hub, which is working to develop 'green' jobs and businesses throughout the region to replace those lost with the closure of the Vermont Yankee power plant. Other sectors in the GEIH initiative include green building, finance/insurance/real estate and international development.
Ideas brought to this event can be presented in any stage of development. Collaborators will be recruited for each and resources will be identified that might be available to help to develop the ideas into businesses. Perhaps there is a group that would like to foster intentional rotational grazing amongst dairy farms, or inoculate orchards with mycorrhizal fungi. Maybe a group of herbalists would like to set a standard for harvesting wildcrafted herbs, someone wants to develop an online market for super-fresh wild mushrooms, or a research project is envisioned that would document the soil fertility effects of biochar.
The event is free and will take place at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, 157 Main St., from 2 to 4:45 p.m. People with business ideas are asked to make a quick presentation of no more than two minutes. The program will be videotaped by BCTV. Refreshments will be served, and people are encouraged to bring sample products from their farm, field, forest or orchard. This event is sponsored by: the Strolling of the Heifers, Brattleboro Development Credit Corp., Building Green, Austin Design, Blue Toad Farm and Tad Montgomery & Associates. For more information contact Tad Montgomery at 802-251-0502 or eco@TadMontgomery.com.