Dr. Tom Hammett

Dr. Tom Hammett, Professor in the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, is currently serving as Co-PI on a new grant with Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN).  The title of the project is “Sharing Successes in Forest Farming Across Central Appalachia.”  Funding was received from the National Agroforestry Center of the U.S. Forest Service and runs from May 2020 to August 2021. The purpose of this project is to assist and encourage farmers and landowners in Central Appalachia in expanding into forest farming.  Dr. Hammett’s role will be to develop case studies of successful marketing campaigns and utilization of the region’s forest products, especially non-timber forest products.

Project participants will also be developing new educational materials designed to encouarge famers. These materials will come in different formats in order to reach all of the diverse groups in the region. The extension papers, videos, testimonial videos, and case studies developed will be made available on the website of the National Agroforestry Center. The team will also work on ways to attract young farmers to the biodiverse, temperate areas of Appalachia.

Resources for service providers will also be created. These will be tools for extension agents and non-profit organizations that can be used to assist landowners in making decisions about the sustainable management of their forests, income generation and sustainable livelihoods. Some case studies will focus on mid-size farms in highly rural, agricultural communities while others will focus on the successful, forest-based enterprises of small landowners. Special emphasis will be placed on seeking ways to help build nature-based enterprises and economic development in former coal mining areas across the region.

Others collaborating with Dr. Hammett in the project are Project Director Chris Burney (Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University), Dr. Mary Hufford (LIKEN Associate Director and Folklore, Ohio State University), Dr. Betsy Taylor (LiKEN Executive Director), and Dr. James Thompson (Plant and Soil Sciences, West Virginia University), Ruby Daniels (LiKEN Community Engagement Coordinator), and Wilma and Terry Steele of Sprouting Farms (retired school teacher and retired coal miner, respectively). The Yew Mountain Center and Future Generations University are also playing key roles in outreach and in gathering feedback from diverse stakeholders and networks.