Could farming bamboo be the next big thing? The idea of growing bamboo for profit in the United States has been in play for nearly a century. The first test plots of giant bamboo were successfully grown in Alabama in 1944. But with a ready supply coming from Asia, there has been no incentive to fully explore a domestic source of bamboo—until now according to bamboo advocates.
Now the race for truly renewable resources and solutions for climate change is on. Unsustainable practices and overharvesting in Asia means that creating a domestic supply of bamboo in the United States has the potential for major practical, economic and environmental benefits.
The US has prime growing conditions, pioneering propagation techniques, and innovative companies ready to create the necessary manufacturing and infrastructure links. So where does that leave us? Bamboo advocates suggest that all that remains is the political commitment and front-end investment. From there, willing farmers can begin to turn this vision into a reality.
If this topic interests you as a farmer, I suggest you check out the following:
1. Watch this video to learn a great deal about growing Bamboo. http://www.marthastewart.com/article/clip-of-the-day-dreamers-into-doers-winner-jackie-heinricher. (Jackie Heinricher was recently selected as a winner of Martha Stewart's Dreamers into Doers program. You can see Jackie's appearance on the Martha Stewart show)
2. Additional Information can be found at http://www.bamboonow.us/. (Booshoots is involved in the creation of a new coalition aligned around supporting the growth of bamboo and a bamboo industry here in the United States. It's in the early stages of formation. Some early partners/supporters beyond Booshoot include the Delta Economic Development Center, Teragren, Rose Carbon and Naturally Bamboo.)