Sandie Rhodes, editor of The Fairview Town Crier has written a great piece about our twentieth birthday and the Root Cause initiative. Check out the full article Beauty by Design: Appalachian Designs Turns Twenty.
We were thrilled to be recognized with an Environmental Excellence Award from Asheville GreenWorks at its board meeting on March 27.
Lang accepted the award from Asheville Greenworks board member Louise Baker (pictured), which recognized Appalachian Designs "for reclaiming urban wood and turning it into beautifully designed pieces."
We appreciate this wonderful recognition and its support of our committment to creating awareness in the southern Appalachians for the use of local forest products. As emphasized in our Root Cause initiative, if you understand the importance of buying locally grown food, spread that thinking to our forests, and your furnishings. Buying local keeps money in Western North Carolina and is the truest way to create and sustain jobs for an improved, more sustainable economy. In a region that is the birthplace of Forest Conservation in the United States, Root Cause seeks to continue WNC’s historic commitment to modern forestry.
View our full eNews on the award here.
In 2010, Appalachian Designs was one of three recipients of grants from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council's WNC Forest Products Cooperative Marketing Project. In this video, Lang explains how the grant funding has helped Appalachian Designs thrive as a local WNC business.
Appalachian Designs makes hand-crafted log furniture, rustic furniture and custom furniture using local forest products.
I was proud to be featured in this Sunday’s Asheville Citizen-Times Ideas section. Dale Neal wrote a great article on the local housing market, wisely pointing out that supporting local shelter through using locally grown, sustainable building materials and products is just as important as supporting the local food movement. Using local products related to the building industry has a positive ripple effect on businesses throughout your community.
Dale and I spoke about how the recent uptick in the housing market was affecting business. We also talked at length about trying to promote local business and how effective the local food movement has been. Appalachian Designs is eager to remain part of the local movement on the forest products, home furnishings and home building front. Check out the entire article here.
I'm glad to see that these bears in Chunns Cove enjoy lounging in our wood Adirondack chairs as much as people do, and as bear season is underway in the mountains there are sure to be more bears in search of comfortable chairs—and food.
All fun aside, bears are a serious issue for residents of Western North Carolina. To protect yourself and the bears this season I recommend that you bring in your bird feeders and pet food at night; never confront a bear, especially one with cubs; and perhaps most importantly, make sure you have comfortable seating available to them.
The bears won't be out for long, so for a limited time we're offering 10% off our Adirondack chairs, including locust Adirondacks (pictured right). Contact us to find out more today!
Root Cause has been busy trying to find ways to assist local woodland owners that are interested in sustainable forestry, land conservation and land management. I ran across these two items that might be of interest.
Locally, The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is hosting a workshop on Thursday, October 4, 2012 called “Conservation Options Workshop for Forest and Farmland Owners.” The free workshop will cover topics including land management and conservation options, and working forests and farms, including conservation easement agreements. For more information about this workshop, visit the event page on the SAHC website. Encouraging landowners to conserve, and utilize, their forested parcel is at the heart of Root Cause.
Nationally, check out Dovetail, an organization in Minnesota that provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including land consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. They have a great new resource, the Family Forest Owner Toolbox with resources to explore emerging markets for woodland owners. They developed this toolbox of resources to support landowners who want to enhance forest management and/or get involved with “emerging markets,” such as bioenergy, certified products, and green building. Whether you own woodlands for lifestyle or recreational reasons or for financial gain, tapping new opportunities may be a way for you to maintain your land the way you want and secure its future.
I’m interested in connecting with people and businesses in WNC who share interests in sustainable forestry, building green, land conservation and land management. Please let me know if that’s you!
I'm busy helping out with an exciting new initiative, the GroWNC Steering Committee, and I invite you to be a part:
GroWNC, Western North Carolina’s Livable Communities Initiative, is a 3-year project to develop local and regional strategies for economic prosperity, quality growth, and sustainable development. A consortium of local governments, non-profit organizations, and businesses will seek significant input from residents of the region, gather existing and historical data, and synthesize it to create a vision of the future. GroWNC will allow local governments, businesses, non-profits, citizens, and others to realize unprecedented regional coordination on jobs, energy, housing, transportation, resources, and other interconnected issues. Together we will draw on existing plans and strategies to develop a plan to foster economic prosperity through a regional vision that identifies implementable projects and actions.
GroWNC Community meetings will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in the following locations:
May 15, 2012 - Hendersonville - City Operations Center
May 16, 2012 - Haywood County - Haywood Community College
May 17, 2012 - Buncombe County - Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center
May 30, 2012 - Transylvania County - Transylvania County Public Library
These meetings will allow the GroWNC project team to bring ideas for our region's economic prosperity, quality growth, and sustainable development to the public, while providing a forum for feedback. Enjoy local food and music while taking a spin around our region and sharing your thoughts.
If you'd like to get involved, please visit GroWNC.com for more information, to sign up as a volunteer or to join as a GroWNC Consortium Member, you'll be glad you did.
Appalachian Designs is excited to announce our Spring Studio Sale!
The sale begins this Friday, March 9, 2012 and continues through Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 9 am - 2 pm, at the Appalachian Designs Studio: 12 Smith Farm Rd. Fairview, NC 28730. Everything is ready to go! Browse our selection of showroom samples and discontinued items including, bolts of rustic fabric, lamps, bedframes made from reclaimed wood, trunks, rustic rocking chairs, corner cupboards, bookshelves, tables, chairs, stools, carvings and more!
The Western North Carolina Report Card on Forest Sustainability is a collaboration between the US Forest Service's Southern Research Station (SRS) and the University of North Carolina at Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). The report focuses on 18 counties in Western North Carolina and covers 7,480 square miles or 4.8 million acres. It's a really interesting read and an exhaustive effort in showing how the health of our forests is being affected by both natural and man-made factors. This is a great reminder of the work that remains in keeping the natural resources in our area healthy and vibrant.
Lang recently recorded an interview with Ned Ryan Doyle of WNCW's Our Southern Community. Joined by friend and forester/consultant Richard Sanders, Lang speaks about the importance of sustainable forestry and about how our Root Cause initiative is helping to bolster the need for smaller diameter forest products while creating a market for local wood.
Click on the media player to hear the interview:
Appalachian Designs and Root Cause were recently subjects of a great article in The Asheville Citizen-Times. The story details our Root Cause initative and outlines the ways in which we are aiming to raise awareness for local forest products and to bolster the local forest products market, while hopefully creating an extra income source for forest producers along the way. A big thanks to Carol Motsinger and The Asheville Citizen-Times for the coverage. Check it out here!
Appalachian Designs and Root Cause recently got some great ink in Carolina Home + Garden’s online edition. Carolina Home + Garden is Western North Carolina’s premier home design and lifestyle magazine that showcases great style and design tips along with expert advice and local wisdom. Follow this link to check out the article!
It’s funny how things seem to come together if you let them. I’m usually the one that charges right by it, but this time it happened on its own. A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated our new location at 12 Smith Farms Road and the launching of Root Cause, an initiative to raise awareness to the use of local forest products. It’s also about sustainability and honoring the materials found in these mountains. And even still about supporting local businesses and the communities you choose to build or remodel a home in. I keep hearing, “When are the jobs coming back?” My question is, “What are the jobs going to be when they come back?” We will always look for opportunites for innovation and new paths for employment. But we should also be making the most of what we have right here…businesses and builders that utlilize local forest products.
It is not about chopping down trees either. It’s about working with land owners, both private and public, and helping them get the most from their land use plan. (You do have a land use plan right?) Why would you not want to inventory and cultivate every foot of your property or maintain your current forests by keeping out invasive species? You would also be playing a role in inventorying what species are here now and how they are being affected by our current environment. Lord help us if we have another blight that tries to wipe out another native species, but if we do this helps contain it or maybe even stop it in its tracks. Your trees and shrubs and plants have value, both monetarily and environmentally. And there is no value you can place on the beauty of our many forested mountains. Anyway, Root Cause continues to evolve with time. It is our hope to build something that can be used to create awareness and educate the public about what is available to them in the backyard.
I wanted to follow up on my entry where I mentioned meeting with fellow Fairviewians regarding the quality of local forest management. Our discussion focused on 25 to 100 acre parcels located in the greater Fairview area that either have working forest plans or those that would qualify to have one.
What is the best way to educate land owners about the importance of containing exotic, invasive species, maintaining healthy stands and getting the most value out of their trees? Not only is education necessary, but so is a viable infrastructure of foresters, graders, loggers and end-users for the materials. There is a growing need for a cooperative of business to help land owners manage their forestry plans, maintain the value of their forests, and to connect them with businesses that can use their trees (that’s where I come in).
Think of it like this: You are a land owner and have neglected the upkeep of your 40 acres and now you don’t know where to start. What should stay, what should go, how to harvest, etc. So you contact a list of foresters that can consult with you about the best use and how to implement it. If you need better roads/trails for access, they put you in touch with graders or trail builders. Need invasive species removed? Here’s how it’s done or who can help. What trees should stay and which should be removed to make room for the good ones? And who can help remove them in a cost effective manner without clear cutting or taking the trees that I want? And lastly, who will buy these materials at fair market value to help offset my management plan?
We think it can work, but it will take time and a commitment from many people.
I have not had a post in a while as my grant period was winding down and I've been all over the place. As the rush wears off, I can reflect more about where we go from here. Helping me with these thoughts have been two particular happenings: one a gathering of like-minded people, and the other a short course on kiln drying wood.
The gathering was with local foresters, sawyers, land owners and business people looking to promote good forest stewardship. We met under the roof of Rob White’s sawmill and business, Burnt Shirt Wood Products. The crux of the conversation was how we can better help local landowners manage the asset that is their forest land.
From keeping out invasive exotic species (think Bittersweet) to making room for the trees that add the most value to their property, we batted around ways to offset the many costs facing land owners in maintaining their land.
The short course on kiln drying was an eye-opener. Meant mostly for commercial kiln operators, this course discussed the properties of wood, how to dry woods properly, and how to add the most value to your materials. As we work towards building our sterilization kiln, this course provided invaluable and practical information. My time there also deepened my understanding of the state of the timber industry in this country. Most of our great hardwoods (and soft) are being cut, dried, shipped overseas, and then turned into value-added products. In other words, our forest value becomes part of another economy. It’s time to turn that tide and make local forest products part of the U.S. economic recovery.
Both opportunities completely reinforced the current direction for my business. These issues are all part of the root cause!
Why should everything that is harvested from forests in WNC have a value? No one disagrees that small diameter trees and shrubs have value and can be used for something, but used enough to create a market? Without a market, the time spent harvesting these materials can never be recovered and this is precisely why, once felled, they are usually left to rot. This has been accepted in many cases in hopes of leaving this energy, this matter, to be recovered by the forest. Often this is the right idea, but usually it depends on what the expectations are for the use of the forest. On the flip side, this energy is also there to be used in the case of a forest fire. This material is often removed before a prescribed burn can occur in an effort to keep temperatures in check.
Following the same principles of a regular, wood drying kiln, you need controlled heat, air flow and moisture control.
The kiln is an important piece of the puzzle. What are the downsides of using raw materials that have not been milled? You don’t know what is inside of them!
I quickly learned that writing an idea on paper was not so hard. Making it come to life… not so easy. I found the perfect location and began organizing my thoughts into action.