Sustainable Harvest Project (Laura Jane Musser Foundation, 2008-2009)
This stakeholder driven project aimed to reduce un-permitted harvesting of special forest products (SFPs) in the Forks, WA area and increase the overall health of the environment and the workers. In a one-year effort, the Sustainable Harvest project brought together harvesters, public and private landowners, and local city and tribal government representatives. The project simultaneously built the capacity of these stakeholders to work across cultural and linguistic differences to solve this and future conflicts, and demonstrated the value of a participatory and collaborative approach to special forest product management. SFPs such as salal (and other wildly occurring floral greens), moss, mushrooms, and medicinal plants are highly significant in their cultural, economic and ecological importance on the Olympic Peninsula. It is estimated there are 4,000 western WA immigrants from Southeast Asia, México and Central America who rely on SFP harvest as their primary livelihood. While a core group of stakeholders was brought together, the project was unable to complete its planned training due to Homeland Security activities. As an alternative, 40 Spanish-language DVDs were produced and distributed with the assistance of a group of core harvesters and community members.