American Bamboo Society 2023 Conference
November 2-3-4-5, 2023
A great time was had by all!
Sponsored by the Louisiana Gulf Coast Chapter
Everest Holmes, Director of Operations at National Bamboo LLC.
With a background in business management and operations, I hold a BA in Outdoor Leadership from Warren Wilson College. It was during my time at the college in 2010 that I first started managing and studying timber bamboo, igniting my passion for improving soil health and agricultural productivity.
In addition, I am a Certified Soil Food Web Consultant and Lab Tech. I have undergone a rigorous educational program that has granted me the license to provide microscopy assessment services independently under the Soil Food Web methodology. This program is led by an internationally renowned group of microbiologists who advocate for a standardized biological approach to soil health.
My experience and desire to help the environment and people have led me to collaborate with farmers and landowners to enhance soil health and increase agricultural productivity, with a particular focus on bamboo. At National Bamboo LLC, I am responsible for managing the manufacturing and logistics operations of our business, overseeing production, supply chain management, and the consulting service. I actively engage in day-to-day operations, working closely with our team members to ensure the efficient and effective functioning of the company.
Presentation 1 Title: Harnessing Nature’s Allies: Microbial Insights for Optimizing Bamboo Farming
Description: A showcase of research findings based on a comprehensive data set gathered throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 2023. The data includes analysis of fungal to bacterial biomass ratios and population levels of organisms such as amoeba, flagellates, and nematodes. To engage the audience, I will begin the presentation by showcasing a prerecorded video where I explore and identify these organisms using a 400X microscope and camera. This will provide valuable insights into the soil composition and health of a mature and vibrant bamboo grove. During the presentation, I will describe the methodology, tools, and software used in the microscopy process, as well as introduce the Soil Food Web School and its role in the Save Soil movement, emphasizing its relevance to bamboo farming. I will share and discuss the research findings and their implications for optimizing bamboo farming methods, thereby promoting sustainable agricultural practices and environmental conservation.
Presentation 2 Title: The Bamboo Industry in the USA: A Regenerative Future
Description: The state and trajectory of the bamboo industry in the United States through the lens of National Bamboo LLC, the largest timber bamboo nursery supply chain in the country. Discover why bamboo is rapidly becoming a preferred solution for addressing environmental challenges and providing a sustainable future in various industries.
- Introduction to National Bamboo LLC: Learn about our company’s role as a leading supplier of timber bamboo and our commitment to promoting responsible and ecologically sound bamboo production.
- Market Analysis and Trends: Gain insights into the current state of the bamboo industry in the USA, including influential factors, market trends, and growing consumer demand for bamboo products in construction, furniture making, landscaping, horticulture, and soil health.
- Future Outlook and Path Forward: Discover the potential for the bamboo industry’s growth and development in the USA, along with strategies for overcoming challenges and fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders.
Together, let’s explore the market dynamics, environmental benefits, and pathways to further its growth.
Bamboo Construction Workshop, led by Vinc Math, International Bamboo Consultant
The actual project that will be built on Sunday at the Rip Van Winkle Gardens at Jefferson Island, is a bamboo gazebo. The structure will not have a roof but will be used for vines and other plants to grow on. We will be experimenting with different ways to preserve the bamboo.
The workshop is designed for both beginners and seasoned builders, and anyone interested in
sustainable building materials and traditional craftsmanship. Participants will leave the workshop
with a better understanding of the unique properties of bamboo as a construction material, as
well as the skills and knowledge to incorporate bamboo into their own building projects.
There is no additional fee to participate in the workshop – the workshop is included in the conference registration fee.
The 2023 ABS National Conference will be held in and around New Iberia, deep in the Cajun country of southwest Louisiana. Much of our time will be spent on nearby Avery Island, where E.A. McIlhenny pioneered the introduction of more than 60 species of bamboo, at that time unknown in the United States; and at Jefferson Island, where Mike Richard has introduced dozens of tropical Bambusas.
Rooms with special rates have been reserved in the newly renovated Hampton Inn and Suites (400 Spanish Town Boulevard, New Iberia, LA 70560). Call the hotel directly to make your special-rate reservations ($90 +tax for one king and $93 +tax for two queens) at 337-321-6700 and ask for the American Bamboo rate. The Hampton Inn provides a hot breakfast; most meals will be provided during the three day Conference.
Conference highlights (included in registration fee):
(Before the Conference the ABS board will meet 2 November, 9-5)
2 November: Please arrive by 6PM as we’ll have a Cajun Welcoming Reception (be prepared to introduce yourself)
3 November: Hampton Inn, New Iberia. Talks, panel discussions, lunch, ABS general meeting, vendor displays, silent and live auctions & Cajun cocktail and dinner. Presentations by Everest Holmes, Vinc Math, Bamboo in the Urban Garden & Understanding Rhizomes by Ian Connor, James Clever & Michele Tkach. Additional topics addressed are The Miracles of Bamboo Charcoal, Bamboo Cooperatives, Bamboo for Wood, Fiber & Food and the full agenda and panel discussions are being finalized.
4 November: bus to nearby Avery Island, home of bamboo pioneer E.A. McIlhenny’s flamboyant Jungle Gardens, a bird refuge as well as site of unique tropical plants; the historic Moso grove he planted more than a century ago; as well as his Tabasco sauce factory (extra charge for tour), surrounded by bamboo as well (see Andy Ringle’s excellent paper on E.A. McIlhenny’s work with bamboo . Talks from world experts Garrie Laundry on the botany of Avery Island and Shane Bernard on it’s history. Workshops include prepping for bamboo construction (building on Sunday), bamboo art, yoga in the grove. A traditional cochon du lait (roast pig) next to the Moso Grove will be shared later in the day!
5 November: bus to nearby Jefferson Island and it’s special collection of exotic bamboo. Workshop on bamboo construction, art, and more. Talk by the eminent Mike Richard, owner and curator of Rip Van Winkle Gardens.
Airport access to New Iberia
The Conference site is serviced by two airports (both with car rentals):
Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT ) – is 30 minutes north of the Hampton Inn; Ubers are around $45)
New Orleans International Airport (MSY) – is two hours drive east of the Hampton Inn.
Most meals are provided with the conference fee. A few eating/drinking places are walkable from the Hampton Inn; additional establishments are within 2 miles.
Silent and Live Auction Friday 3 Nov
Auctions – please bring all manner of bamboo products to this most important yearly ABS fund-raiser! Auction items may be brought as early as Thursday afternoon, and will remain in the lecture hall through the auction the following evening.