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By Edan P. Collins

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Com/ Success Stories Jim Day Nashville, Tennessee Jim Day built a hoop house to grow mushrooms year-round. Jim Day wanted to grow shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushrooms. This gourmet mushroom, originally from Japan, has become a mainstream mushroom in the United States over the past 30 years, and gets a good price in the marketplace. Starting in 2000, Jim inoculated a few logs, grew really nice mushrooms and established a marketing relationship with some restaurants in the Nashville, Tennessee area over the next year and a half.

OP currently has 12 member farms plus 11 additional participating growers located in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Over the past four years the group has developed about 10 acres of forest-cultivated goldenseal along with other medicinal plants such as ginseng, black cohosh, purple coneflower (Echinacea), and both elderberry flowers and fruit. OrganiPharm increases grower/owner profits by producing a line of certified organic herbal extracts (USDA National Organic Program). The quality and reliability of their products have been recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a new SBIR award to develop a series of goldenseal products to be used in NIH-funded clinical studies.

To participate in the federal conservation programs, you must have a conservation plan. Cost-share programs from USDA’s Farm Services Agency, NRCS, the Georgia Forestry Commission and others helped provide the funds to Profitable Farms and Woodlands 55 implement the farm renovation. Large riparian buffers were established and alternate water sources for livestock were constructed to help keep water clean and safe. Trees were planted to provide habitat for wildlife. Nutrient and pest management assistance is provided on an ongoing basis.

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