There is significant trade in “organic” wild products, including products for direct consumption, such as berries, mushrooms and a wide variety of herbs. There is also a growing interest in organic wild products by the body care medicinal herb sectors. Statistics for this type of production are vague, and parallel to the “organic” market, other concepts such as the Non-Timber Forest Product scheme of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and other company-specific schemes have been developed.
This conference will focus on the harvesting of wild vegetable products from forest, “natural” lands, pastures and uncultivated land in the agriculture landscape. It will concentrate on current production that enters the organic market stream, but will also extend to other concepts, such as Fair Trade, sustainable forest management certification and Good Manufacturing Practices.
“Wild harvested production” as a concept is very broad, and also encompasses commodities used for fibrous or industrial production. It could even include some types of animals (e.g. snails). Wild products may also come from the sea (shellfish) or from lakes (wild rice). The term “wild” is not fully appropriate, as many so-called wild products are collected in areas such as pastures, commons and marginal or uncultivated agricultural land. Additionally, the concept of “wild” implies a lack of management, although in reality almost all land is managed, and the collection of “wild” products themselves should be subject to sustainable management. Nevertheless, for lack of better alternatives, the word “wild harvested production is used here. It is also a term used in the IFOAM Basic Standards. Other systems use other terms to describe similar production, e.g. natural/biodiversity products, Non Timber Forest Products, Non Wood Forest Products or minor forest products. Some products that are “wild” can also be cultivated. This conference will not focus on such cultivation; however one session will address it.