Over the past two years, Bamboo Revolution and Bamboo Valley built a relationship with Andy Ringle of Avery Island, La., home of Tabasco® pepper sauce. His family holds a lease on one of the oldest timber bamboo groves in America. Planted in 1910 by former Tabasco president E. A. McIlhenny, in cooperation with the USDA, this grove represented, at the time, an initial step toward the establishment of a bamboo industry in this country. However, with McIlhenny's death in 1949 this potential remained largely unrealized, and many of the bamboo groves that McIlhenny planted on Avery Island were left unmanaged and fell into neglect.
In October 2009, 10 Bamboo Revolution employees and Dain Sansome of Bamboo Valley traveled to Louisiana to help restore the bamboo groves. In return, they received permission to transplant live plants to Bamboo Revolution's cooperative farm with Bamboo Valley, an established bamboo farm in Albany, Ore.
Bamboo can be harvested after just four to six years of growth, whereas comparable wood species take 30-60 years to reach harvestable maturity. The harvested material is manufactured into panels, veneer, flooring, countertops, and other building materials.
Developing a bamboo industry within the United States will reduce the distance the materials are transported, sequester carbon, and create jobs for industries and communities hit hard by the changing economy.