Today a new ten year strategic plan for Vermont's wood furniture (and other wood products) industry was unveiled by the Vermont Wood Products Marketing Council. The 2020 Vision For The Vermont Wood Products Industry provides a roadmap for our $1.8 Billion wood products industry in VT to capitalize on the state's reputation as the Fine Furniture Capital of America.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we hope to be a major player in the industry's growth. We believe that American home owners are increasingly looking for sustainabilty, quality and authenticity in their home furnishings. That puts Vermont in an excellent marketing position as our furniture makers have consistently focused on those attributes for 200 years, producing a superior, high quality product at affordable prices.
Conversely, the vast majority of American furniture has been outsourced to Asia for the past 30-40 years in favor of cheap production. However as customers grow ever more weary of low-quality, imported furniture that's a health risk to their families, Vermont's tradition of quality workmanship and natural, sustainable materials will be important in rejuvenating the American furniture industry. And our woodworking community's ethic of collaboration rather than competition will be instrumental in leading the path forward.
We extend our thanks to the Vermont Wood Manufacturer's Association for making this report possible and look forward to working with our friends throughout the industry to get it implemented.
At Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture we've been working with the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership to develop an Action Plan to create a rural renaissance in Vermont that focuses economic development efforts on our working landscape. Right now we have a tremendous opportunity to build our working lands economy (farming, forestry, and value-added processing like furniture making) into a cornerstone of job creation and rural revitalization.
Many of the pieces needed for a Renaissance of our farm and forest economies are already in place. More and more people in our regional market are looking for sustainably produced products, such as our Vermont Made Furniture. But the Vermont Working Landscape Partnership needs our support in bringing some remaining pieces together.
The Vermont Working Landscape Action Plan defines what those pieces are and how we can pull all of those opportunities, policies, and new plans into one unified, efficient and effective effort. If you live in Vermont or vacation here, you are a stakeholder in this plan. We know that without taking action the landscape of Vermont will evolve rapidly and probably not in a way we would want.
Stakeholders, please take a minute to read the plan and offer your support. Thanks!
Vermont is struggling to maintain its rural character. You probably see this if you live in Vermont or vacation here. Fifty years ago, 50% our state's land was in farms. Today that number is only 20%– our farmland has dropped by almost 60% since 1960!
While agricultural lands are disappearing we are also seeing a decline in our forest products business. Conversly, the amount of developed land in our state is growing rapidly (it increased 42% between 1982 and 2003).
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we're committed to helping steward our state's rural, agricultural and forested character. Like so many other sustainable Vermont businesses, our future depends on it. We applaud the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) and their efforts to maintain Vermont's natural beauty and rural character. We've joined their Vermont Working Landscape Partnership and are asking you to sign up too. It only takes a minute to sign on to the partnership and there's no obligation or fee. Add your voice and help shape the campaign for Vermont's Working Landscape!