Kudzu Culture Updates and Events

Greetings, Ambassadors of Kudzu Culture!

The air is crisp and the waters are cool here in Western North Carolina! We’ve had a fun and busy summer full of collaborations and cooperative research and education. Here are a few updates and upcoming events.

In appreciation,
Lauren “LB” Bacchus
Co-Founder | Executive Director

Vine-to-Cloth Camp 2022

We were joined in August by a fabulous group of curious campers for Kudzu Vine-to-Cloth Camp in Marshall, NC. Together with Fiberhouse Collective and our Invasive Plant Fiber Study Group cohort we wove healing kuzu-fu (kudzu cloth) from hand-harvested and processed kudzu vine bast fiber. Special thanks to Nica of Fiberhouse Collective for cohosting, and to all of the generous contributions of camp participants. We are collaborating with the abundance! Stay tuned for explorations into industrially spun kudzu yarn and blending with other abundant plant fibers.

Community Through Kudzu with RiverLink

We had a wonderful time last week with RiverLink at Azalea Park in Asheville, NC. This is a site where kudzu is being eradicated, while we are simultaneously educating the public about how humans are important predators of kudzu! There are many ways we can responsibly collaborate with kudzu through harvest, use, and consumption. In this workshop we learned about uses for vines, roots, leaves, and blossoms. Pictured is kudzu blossom Vine-Aid, made with kudzu blossom simple syrup.

Now is the time to harvest kudzu blossoms! It’s important to harvest kudzu blossoms to prevent spread, because the blossoms become seed pods.

Upcoming Events

Join Us for Kudzu Crafts, Demos, and Product Debuts!

What: The Mountain Makers, Mushrooms, and Music Festival
When: Saturday, September 3, 2022, 11am – 6pm
Where: Downtown Sylva, North Carolina

What: Art on the Island
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022, 10am – 5pm
Where: Blannahassett Island, Marshall, North Carolina

What: Kudzu Farmer + Harvester Training and Kudzu Products Fair
When: Thursday, December 1, 2022
Where: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Mills River, North Carolina

Call for Volunteers and Donations

Kudzu Culture was founded from an over decade-long research and education initiative between Justin Holt, Zev Friedman, Lauren “LB” Bacchus, and many coconspirators and collaborators. LB currently serves as the Executive Director and sole employee, as our Board of Directors works on developing a cooperative model. If you would like to further support our work, please consider volunteering or making a tax-deductible donation. Volunteers can be local to Western NC for in-person events, or can volunteer virtually by working on research, grant writing, data management, and/or educational material development.

Other donations needed: sturdy work truck, enclosed trailer, UTV, all-terrain hand carts, digging tools, cutting tools, gloves, food-grade buckets/vessels, tarps, warehouse space in Buncombe County or Madison County, North Carolina

Donations are tax-deductible. Please email LB at kudzuculture@gmail.com or call 828-280-7874 with inquiries and to coordinate donations.

Kudzu Culture and RiverLink Team Up for Kudzu Education

Kudzu Culture and RiverLink invite the public to another installment of Community Through Kudzu, this time at Azalea Park along the Swannanoa River in Asheville, North Carolina. Swing by August 27, 9:30am – noon, to learn about the history of kudzu as fiber, food, and medicine. Activities include hands-on root crown identification, kudzu friendship bracelet making, and tasting kudzu root iced tea!

Kudzu Culture is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to kudzu research and education. Learn more at kudzuculture.net or email kudzuculture@gmail.com

Vine-to-Cloth Kudzu Camp August 5 – 8, 2022

Kudzu Culture and Fiberhouse Collective are hosting an intensive kudzu cloth making workshop, Vine-to-Cloth Kudzu Camp, August 5 – 8, 2022, in Marshall, NC.

LB from Kudzu Culture, Nica from Fiberhouse Collective, and collaborators will facilitate teaching the various stages of kuzu-fu (kudzu cloth) production.Β  Together we will weave kuzu-fu that will be used to create prototype garments.Β Camping is available onsite, and vacation rental options are nearby.

Building on the legacy of kudzu fiber knowledge from Asia, Kudzu Culture cofounders and current board members Justin Holt and Zev Friedman started hosting Kudzu Vine Camp in 2016. Since then we have continued learning and teaching traditional processing while experimenting with novel methods. Below are some pictures from Kudzu Vine Camps of previous years, along with woven samples by local weaving instructor Melanie Wilder and other artists.

Please email LB at kudzuculture@gmail.com with questions. Space is limited, but we will try to accommodate those interested. To apply for Vine-to-Cloth Kudzu Camp, August 5 – 8, please fill out this form:

https://forms.gle/AeaQkaSuFKUD8vu99

Community Through Kudzu: April 2-3

Join us this weekend for our next installment of Community Through Kudzu:
An Educational Greenway Maintenance Initiative

Saturday April 2 + Sunday April 3
1 – 4pm daily

Worksite is located along Reed Creek Greenway, at the intersection of Cauble and Broadway Streets

Join Kudzu Culture, Montford Neighborhood Association, Urban Forest Alliance, City of Asheville Parks and Recreation, and Smart Feller Tree Works in this collaborative and educational maintenance initiative.

Be an ecological ally in our community!

ROOT CROWN ID and REMOVAL
KUDZU SHOW+TELL
HANDS-ON DEMONSTRATIONS
KUDZU TEA+SNACKS

Please bring: gloves, hand pruners, mattocks, shovels

Contact: kudzuculture@gmail.com

#kudzu #kuzu #kudzuculture #communitythroughkudzu #eatingthevinethatatethesouth #climatechange #anthropocene #invasivespecies #understandinginvasivespecies

Updates from Kudzu Culture: Fresh and Dried Root Available for Order

Hello Friends of Kudzu Culture,

We are thrilled to share that we are officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit! Collectively we have been working on kudzu research, experimentation, and education for over a decade here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We look forward to continuing this work for years to come, while vitalizing creative economies that utilize abundant species.

One aspect of our current work is that we are measuring effectiveness/viability of harvesting and processing fresh kudzu root from clean mountainside sites into shredded, dehydrated matter that can be used in various culinary and herbal applications. Wintertime is when the vines and leaves are dormant, and the roots are most vibrant. We are in the midst of our Winter 2022 harvest; fresh and dried root is available for purchase, and will be shipped in late March. Funds from selling fresh and dried root help sustain our work.

Fresh and dried kudzu root is available for purchase on our Etsy Page. If you are an herbalist or community practitioner, and would like a discount or donation, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/DLNH4QBhi8NHSb3i8

“Hello, this is Kudzu Culture, may we take your order?”
– LB (Cofounder | Director)

Community Through Kudzu: An Educational Greenway Maintenance Initiative

Join Kudzu Culture, Montford Neighborhood Association, Urban Forest Alliance, and City of Asheville Parks and Recreation in this collaborative and educational maintenance initiative. We will hear the story of kudzu, identify and remove root crowns, and taste kudzu treats and tea.

Become an ecological steward in your community!

Bring (if you have, but not necessary):

  • Work gloves
  • Hand-digging tools
  • Mattocks
  • Tarps
  • Buckets

*** Please wear warm clothes/shoes, and bring a mask for indoor portion of workshop and maintain social distance in outdoor spaces. ***

This workshop is free to the public and no registration is required.

Email LB at kudzuculture@gmail.com with any questions

VINE to CLOTH Research Camp

August 21-22, 2021 in Marshall, North Carolina

Kudzu Culture + Fiberhouse Collective are partnering for an experimental, collaborative gathering of artists, foresters, farmers and makers. We will learn the traditional methods of kudzu vine fiber processing and develop new methods together.

August 21-22, 10am – 4pm daily; join us on both days, or one, with the option to camp overnight at the site in Marshall, NC.

Please fill out this form https://forms.gle/MoWYmEb58eoST3Nq6 or email kudzuculture@gmail.com to register.

Suggested donation $50; no one turned away!

Kudzu root and Covid-19

Last week, on the same day the World Health Organization declared the spread of Covid-19 a global pandemic, the Kudzu Culture team was unpacking our cars and trucks among scurrying groundhogs and blooming daffodils at our 9th annual Kudzu Root Camp.

Dissonant as it felt to be digging roots on a quiet hillside while the whole human world was plunging into crisis, it turns out we’re in just the right place for this moment: very recent research being carried out in China, as well as recommendations from a prominent Western herbal researcher, are pointing to none other than kudzu root as a key ingredient in herbal preparations for treating Covid-19.

Below are links to some of this recently emerging information on kudzu and Covid-19 and related research (Some of the links are to non-English sources – if you’re using Chrome, you should be prompted with an option to translate. If not, you can try to right-click the page and look for the ‘translate’ option). We’ll update this post with more links as we come across them.

 

Kudzu Root Camp 2020

Kudzu Culture’s 9th annual Kudzu Root Camp will be focused on process R&D and cooperative business development. We intend to scale up our processing and increase our capacity by bringing other harvesters and workers into the group. Our aim is to train workers in harvesting and processing and to develop a business which will purchase raw kudzu materials from these workers and possibly employ them in processing and marketing products.

***We are seeking participants who are interested in collaborating with Kudzu Culture in this way. We are still in the early stages of developing the business and are not making any promises about how it will grow. If you decide to participate in Kudzu Camp, you will receive in-depth education and training in kudzu harvesting, processing and use. In exchange, we request that you agree to explore collaboration with us as we move forward. ***

We believe it’s possible in the near future to provide living-wage, seasonal work for several, perhaps dozens, of kudzu harvesters and processors. We have been working on customer discovery, product development, processing improvements, and all the other aspects of business development necessary for this to materialize. This year, one of our goals is to begin training the work force that will be at the heart of a thriving, regenerative kudzu economy in the Southeast region. Our vision is that this work will give communities the keys to unlock kudzu as the significant, abundant resource it is (for food, medicine, fiber, and much more), while bringing kudzu into ecological balance (control via harvest, opportunities for reforestation), and providing opportunities for income.

If that excites you and you’re interested in playing along, please fill out this form. We’ll follow up with you soon via email about the next steps.

If you have been a participant in past Kudzu Root Camps and are interested in collaborating, please drop us a line.

If you have questions about the form and process, please email us at KudzuCulture@gmail.com