University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Northeast > Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems > Goods from the Woods: Enhancing Stewardship and Livelihoods

Goods from the Woods: Enhancing Stewardship and Livelihoods

Project files


The event was designed to:
  • Create an annual signature event of regional significance to attract visitors to the area.
  • Improve the economic viability of non-traditional wood product businesses.
  • Increase the utilization of our forest resources through improved harvest coordination.
  • Promote sustainable harvesting practices.


U of M Partners

Northeast Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership
University of Minnesota Extension Service
University of Minnesota College of Natural Resources
University of Minnesota Tourism Center
Community Partners

local businesses, organizations, retailers, resource managers and educators. In addition, the event
involved the High School community, local Kiwanis Club and an array of individuals


#1 Over 22 educational workshops were offered on Saturday, Sept 27 in areas of
Growing Your Business, Your ‘Back 40’ and Sustainable Harvest. The workshops
were conducted by nearly 50 presenters with local and national expertise representing
organizations: USDA, U of M Extension Service, Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Inc.,
Minn. Depart of Natural Resources and so forth. The workshop participants learnt about
ways of utilizing forest resources in a sustainable way to manufacture their products
and services, as well as identifying opportunities for market positioning. Business
North called GFTW a community event offering “an appreciation for the region’s ‘non-
traditional forest economy,’” through reasoned examination of the highest and best use
of the region’s forest resources. Not only were the workshops geared up to entrepreneurs,
loggers, foresters, Native American harvesters and clay workers, but to the general public
as well. Of whom many individuals are interested in gaining supplemental income for
their families.

Increase the utilization of our forest resources through improved harvest
coordination; and
Promote sustainable harvesting practices.

#2 On Saturday night Reif Center hosted Forest Dreams: A Night of Native Art.
The presentation of Kathy McCovey’s Native Karuk basketry from California, and
performances by Mission Lake Drum and Dance Troupe and Anishinaabe Elder -
Kathleen Headbird’s hand-drumming allowed cultural connections between the tribes and
sharing of their cultures with the general public.

#3 On Sept 28 IRA Civic Center hosted an ‘Up North’ specialty forest products
marketplace that attracted over 2000 people, who came to admire and buy from 120
exhibitors from around the state. This event was aimed at promoting the forest products
industry and forging a relationship between industrial loggers and small, self-employed
gatherers and harvesters. Through exposing both groups to each other the event
encouraged looking for more opportunities to improve local livelihoods by developing a
wider range of forest products and markets for non-traditional goods.


Over 150 participants signed up for Saturday workshops. 100 % of them were of the
opinion that they would recommend workshops attended to others. Approx. 90 % of all
survey respondents rated the content and usability of information presented as very or/

The Saturday night performance attracted the audience of 200 people, whereas the
marketplace welcomed over 2000 visitors on Sunday Sept, 28 along with 120 non- and
commercial exhibitors.

The project has established itself as a new annual signature event and will continue into
next year



Leveraged resources

  • © 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy