|Treenuts.ca Nutculture Business Models|
Treenuts.ca Nutculture Business Models
by Hank Jones, Sunday, November 2, 2008
Canada Nulture Association (CNA) promotes tree nut growing and crop use in Canada, as well internationally, provincially and locally. It encourages the development of awards of excellence, learning workshops and buisness models.
An example of an award program is the Nutculture Excellence Award. The Alec and Kathleen Jones Foundation (AKJF) has established an annual prize of about $500 aimed to encourage college students to advance nutculture in Canada. CNA promotes the prize, shortlists the entries each year and awards the prize to the Foundations selected winner at its AGM.
An example of the learning workshops is the Nutculture Workshops. CNA promotes nutculture workshops. In cooperation with ECSONG, Cobjon Nutculture Services in recent years has conducted a daylong winter nutculture workshop annually in the Ottawa area that draws its participants from across the whole region. Personal experiences of past growing seasons and plans for the coming seasons are presented by participants in a conference/trade show setting, complete with a variety of exhibits and other activities as well. A national workshop for Canada would be timely.
In order to advance commercial tree nut production across Canada, here are Nutculture Business Models. CNA recognizes five tree nut core business models that have been emerged in the past three decades which it calls the Cormier, the Campbell, the Thomas and the Jones models. CNA promotes and will seek support for these models in the coming years.
- The newest and most innovative of the tree nut business models is the Jones nutculture business model (named for Henry Jones, aka Hank, of Cobjon Nutculture Services, who developed the model) which creates the concept of urban tree nut agroforestry, recognizing that many mature nut trees, already bearing well, are growing in many cities and towns of Canada. Their tree nut crops can be gathered, processed and their valued-added products sold everywhere, even to markets worldwide. In Ottawa as an example, most of the nut trees are private, though some 10% are public. An agreement has been signed with Ottawa to gather the tree nut crops of selected city trees. This agreement could serve as a model for recruiting other municipalities into urban tree nut agroforestry. Eventually tree nut earnings could make urban agroforestry tax-revenue neutral. The annual crop potential for urban agroforestry is in the scores of thousands of hectoliters, worth millions of dollars.
- The Campbell nutculture business model (named for Doug Campbell a longtime promoter of nutculture in North Amerca) is the nut orchard of selected cultivars in a farm setting serving established markets. It stand distinct from the Jones model as the grower starts from scratch and can expect to take a decade or so to come into production.
- The Thomas nutculture business model (named for Neil Thomas, of Lostwithiel Farm, Ontario, a black walnut producer) stands apart from the Campbell model in that its nut orchard is populated by the heavily culled progeny of superior nut trees found regionally, operating in a farm setting and serving established tree nut markets. Though time to production is still measured in years, the probability of success is much higher and the effort to get there much lower than the Campbell model.
- The Cormier nutculture business model (named for Ted Cormier and Isabelle Legacy-Cormier of the now defunct Seed Source of Oxford Mills, Ontario) scoured the region to discover the best specimens of each tree nut species already growing naturally, including in urban agroforests, and to collect seed for sale to tree nut nurseries, growers and others.
- The Jones CSA nutculture business model (named for Henry Jones, aka Hank, of Cobjon Nutculture Services, who originated this model) adapts the hugely successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business model for family farming to include tree nut production. The term CSA is adjusted slightly to become 'Community Supported Agroforestry' (aka forest farm) in order to recognize the substantial place nut trees will have on these farms. Intercropping perennial nut trees overhead (eg Juglans, Quercus, Carya, etc.), mid-level nut shrubs (eg Corylus, Q. ilicifolia, etc.) with annual/biennial/perennial ground crops (forbs, vines, canes) underneath will create '3D' farming, simultaneously reducing the 'footprint' while increasing production. Keeping the principles of high diversity, eco-organic, mycorrhizal (symbiogenic) farming on these small farms (typically 2 to 20 hectares) assures their fit into many urban areas. They look and feel like 'super-sized' urban food gardens. The food goes directly from grower to eaters within a 'green' 100 km, often by delivered weekly food boxes or sold farmgate and farmers markets.
CNA recognizes that these models interact well. The tree nuts of the Cormier model can feed seed to seedling nurseries serving the municipalities of the Jones model as well as practicianers of the Thomas model, which in turn can offer its found superior cultivars as grafted stock to proponents of the Campbell model. All can offer Canada tree nut products and services to the world.
Canada Nutculture Association, Ottawa, Canada: "Progress through Research & Development"