In Vermont the seasons are still tied to production of wood furniture. Winter provides the best opportunity for careful logging because frozen ground is less susceptible to damage. And Spring begins a new cycle for forest stewardship planning– a process that ensures availability of wood for future generations. At Vermont Woods Studios that process is led by Lynn Levine (our professional forester) who helps manage the 100 acre woodland that Stonehurst sits upon. A woodland we’re using to help people understand where their furniture comes from: trees that are sustainably harvested.
What is Sustainable, Eco Friendly Furniture?
I just googled “sustainable eco friendly furniture” and came up with everything from IKEA (who was recently suspended from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC for illegally clear cutting 600 year old trees in Russia) to Pottery Barn (well known for greenwashing campaigns like their eco chic collection). At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve written a lot about sustainable furniture and how it’s defined. Because we sell mainly wooden furniture we focus on responsible sourcing, green certification of wood, advantages of local and American made furniture, and the importance of recycled and handmade furniture. For examples of a wider variety of eco friendly furniture, check out the latest green furniture articles on Inhabitat.
Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?
“Every dollar you spend or don’t spend is a vote you cast for the world you want.” – L.N. Smith
A couple other reasons that come to mind include:
better health for your family (no exposure to the flammables, lead and toxic coatings that are often present in furniture)
less investment in furniture over the long run (sustainable furniture is built to last a lifetime so no replacements are necessary) and
support for local communities that produce sustainable furniture
Have some reasons of your own? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.
Sustainability is more than just a green product– to be truly sustainable, a company must ensure that their workers receive fair compensation for their considerable talent and are paid a living wage, in a safe and healthy work environment. This is something we’re passionate about at Vermont Woods Studios.
Scattered across rural Vermont are workshops large and small where the tradition of crafting fine, solid wood furniture continues to be handed down from one generation to the next. These craftsmen are passionate about what they do, and continue to create heirloom quality designs knowing that they will be lasting treasures in someones home. They are passionate for creating a safe and healthy product for both the customer and the environment.
Many furniture companies have grown exponentially over the years, but we continue to strive to provide only the best hardwood furniture these gifted independent furniture makers from across Vermont have to offer. We want to continue to share their craft with the world, and bring our customers the best sustainable furniture options possible. Without solid relationships with our Vermont furniture makers, our mission wouldn’t be possible.
Our furniture makers workshops range in size from a single artisan to a couple dozen craftsmen to the larger companies (Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture) that employ about 75-100 craftspeople each. Some sustainable furniture makers craft ultra luxury artisan custom furniture and each of their pieces is unique, made in a small studio, usually by a single artisan, with the occasional help of an apprentice or a family member. Other craftspeople produce more classic handcrafted wood furniture designs which they make routinely at affordable prices.
We are proud, and very fortunate to be able to work with such a talented and passionate group of people.
Hard wood furniture lovers, beware! At this very moment, armies of invasive bugs and diseases are on the prowl, hunting down your favorite maple, oak, cherry, walnut and other backyard trees to turn them into food and bedding for their young. Check out this article by Faith Campbell in the Nature Conservancy blog, “How to Save Countless Trees in 10 Minutes or Less“.
Asian Longhorn Beetle
Faith talks about the dreaded Asian Longhorn Beetle ALB, one of many non-native insects and diseases that have been brought to America accidentally by way of imported plants or in crates and pallets. Vermont’s iconic maples, along with elms, ash, and oaks are a favorite home to these large, shiny, black and white beetles from Asia.
The entire Northern hardwood forest is at risk and if we can’t get people like you to help fight back, 48 million acres in the United States plus the majority of Canada’s hardwood forests could be destroyed. Also at risk are shade trees along city streets and in backyards all across the country. The ALB could kill up to two thirds of urban trees if it becomes established!
3 Things You Can Do to Save Our Hardwoods
There are many ways you can help keep invasive killer bugs and diseases from destroying our hardwoods. Here are some suggestions from VermontInvasives.org
Buy Local Firewood– Tree killing insects and diseases can lurk in firewood. Don’t move invasives to new areas on firewood
By working together can we fight the killer bugs that threaten our forests, our food supplies, our waters and the thousands of jobs dependent on them. You can help stop the spread and protect the natural resources you love.
July 29th is Global Tiger Day. Did you know there is a direct connection between tiger conservation and the furniture and flooring you buy for your home? Companies like IKEA, Home Depot and WalMart sell wooden furniture and flooring that are often obtained through illegal logging in protected tiger habitats. Much of the global timber trade is now managed by organized crime. Sources, including George Mason University and The Washington Post are reporting that the global timber trade is the new heroin industry for organized crime. Tiger habitats are being rapidly and systematically destroyed in Russia, China, Malaysia and elsewhere to provide the cheap, imported wooden furniture and flooring that’s sold in America’s big box stores.
As a result, some scientists predict that the last remaining 3200 wild tigers (down from 100,000 just a century ago) will be entirely extinct in 5 years.
Tigers are running out of space and time with only 7% of their habitat remaining but your decisions about buying furniture flooring and even paper, coffee and other forest products can help save them. It’s not too late! Please like our Tiger conservation initiative on Facebook and share this post with your friends. Thanks!
Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from? Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question. And the answer is: if you didn’t purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.
One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second
I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries. Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second? It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it? I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year. But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.
You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest
Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest. If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help. I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it. Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share? Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.