Rural wood products of no commercial value to the forest industry could soon be marketed and sold in B.C. urban centres.
Community Futures Stuart Nechako is launching a new initiative called Mongrel Wood collaborative which will generate side revenue for community members.
“Most of the untenured areas in the province, the ones the logging companies didn’t want, are probably our richest supply of these kinds of products, so to their industry, this is ‘mongrel’,”said general manager Graham Stanley.
“Nobody wants it, and this is what we’re dealing with. If we pull this off we’re actually building something out of nothing.”
The initiative aims to market and distribute organic materials such as pine cones, willow and other scrub tree pieces that can be used to hand-make rustic designed products such as twig furniture, garden accents, furniture and Christmas or other seasonal craft items.
Stanley believes the initiative would support local families and hopes to take it even further by getting a rustic design-producing company off the ground in the Stuart Nechako region.
We have a new initiative that we are working on to generate a lot of side revenue for local people. Some may look at…
“This province needs the cash flow from its own purchases,” he said, noting a rustic-designed table made from wood imported from India was being sold in Vancouver for $1,000.
“We can’t keep sending hundreds of millions of dollars offshore.”
Stanley said it was a year ago a program was started to introduce the idea of taking community concepts and making them into marketable products. From there a resulting organization called Ideas To Market (ITM) was developed to promote, create and operate the plan.
ITM, according to Stanley, sets down the foundation to collaborate on bringing products to market by researching current consumer market prices and determining which products could be produced and distributed for urban communities, including Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.
“Part of my research and my discussions in developing gaps is I realized that rustic design was not being properly serviced and the consumers did not have access to rustic and other botanical forest products such as crafts that would be marketable and appealing to the consumer base in the urban areas,” he said.
“So the first step on developing an industry on supplying rustic design products would be to have a reliable and consistent supply of the raw materials, and Mongrel Wood collaborative is set up to fill that need.”
Harvesting and collection would be completed by independent contractors supplying Mongrel Wood with inventory in the distribution channel kept to a minimum.
Once that need is filled, Stanley said the next step would be for individuals, organizations and businesses to explore making rustic designed products.
“If this takes off, don’t be a bit surprised if there are 34 Community Futures doing ITM,” Stanley said, adding he is working in partnership with Community Futures Fraser Fort George.