project leader
Kathleen K
adjacent to Kentuck Park
(adjacent to Kentuck Park)
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The site has been cleared!

the project

Black Belt Bamboost is a community-based project designed to raise awareness about bamboo.  The diversity of this plant, and its associated applications, are providing a vast array of engagement opportunities to showcase, educate and connect people with bamboo.

Why bamboo?  Because it could be a catalyst for a new type of agricultural development in Alabama, specifically the Black Belt Region of the state, where opportunities are few, and many of the counties consistently rank as some of the poorest in our nation.  

We aim to bring bamboo to our community in the form of a public bamboo park, a demonstration bamboo farming site, and an experimental bamboo build center. Through our efforts, we will showcase how bamboo can change the lives of many, not just a few, improve our environment, and become an economic and creative benefit in our community, state, and nation as a whole.

At the Bamboo Park, individuals will have the opportunity to learn about and explore all of the varied and wonderful aspects of bamboo through a diverse array of artistic, cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities throughout the year.

The bamboo park will be a 43,560 square feet ( 1 acre ) educational green space, featuring 15 different species of bamboo, a pavilion, water feature, and space for public art installations. The plans have been made and we are ready to go. Preparing our Bamboo Park is a big step towards achieving our ultimate goals of educating people about the many uses of bamboo and how it can be used to reinvigorate jobs and the economy in Alabama's Black Belt Region.

the steps

Within this initial project phase there are three sequential stages: land prep; planting of the 15 bamboo species; and installation of the bamboo pavilion.  This needs to be completed by the end of summer 2012 so we are ready for public interaction in time for the Kentuck Arts Festival (on adjacent property) in October.

  1. The final clearing of scrub trees, brush and vines on the 1 acre (43,560 square feet) public bamboo park site is hoped to be completed during July 2012.
  2. Tilling and soil preparation will take place during last two weeks of July 2012, weather permitting, and then organic soil enhancer and mulch spreading will take place.
  3. "Under Construction" signage will be placed in the park to aid in educating the community about our plans.
  4. Using the park's layout design, color-coordinated bamboo stakes will be placed throughout the park to designate the 15 different species placement.

why we're doing it

Until recently, the possibility of farming bamboo in the United States as an agroforestry crop was not possible because there has never been an economical supply of juvenile plants to establish large groves of bamboo. However, advances in tissue culture research, specifically with the largest temperate bamboo species Moso, now makes a sustainable bamboo industry possible in the Black Belt region of Alabama, one of the few places in the United States where this timber bamboo species will grow to a mature size. Moso is used to make food, fiber, paper, plywood, furniture, flooring, and a variety of architectural structural materials.  The United States imports most bamboo and bamboo-related products from China.

The Black Belt region of Alabama was once sought after for its rich soils; however, since 1915, when the boll weevil devastated the cotton crops, the region never recovered and has remained economically depressed, with extremely high unemployment rates, poor social services, and a dire socioeconomic situation.

The five acres of land for this project is centrally located and highly visible, situated at one of the major gateways into the Black Belt region, and within a few miles of three institutions of higher education:  The University of Alabama; Stillman College, and Shelton State Community College.  In addition, it is adjacent to Kentuck Park, where the nationally recognized Kentuck Festival is held each year, and at the end of the Northport Levee Walking/Biking Trail. 

The site location for the Black Belt Bamboost project will help to bring public attention to the possibilities of developing a bamboo industry in Alabama, raise awareness of bamboo as a catalyst for agricultural development in the state, and showcase the full value cycle of bamboo and the possibilities for creating downstream industries. This project also presents an opportunity to explore an alternative energy source in order to affect the transformation of people and communities within the Black Belt region of the state. 

Check out for more info!


  • Final site preparation tilling and soil assessment = $480.00 (labor = $60.00 hour, equipment provided by local company)
  • Organic soil enhancer + labor for spreading = $600.00 (soil amendment consists primarly of chicken manure from local sources, includes labor + material)
  • Mulch (from trees destroyed during storms or site clearing) =$600.00
  • Paint + brushes for bamboo species markers = $275.00 (Home Depot or other hardware store)
  • "Under Construction" signage for the park = $545.00 (local sign shop)

    Project total = $2,500.00
    Third party credit card processing (3%) = $75
    ioby materials and labor = $35

    Total to raise = $2,610


The site has been cleared!


Step 1 Completed - The final clearing of scrub trees, brush and vines on the 1 acre (43,560 square feet) public bamboo park site was completed recently.


We are humbled by the overwhelming and extraordinary support of Liberty Recycling, and the phenomenal work of Cottondale Excavating, LLC (6101 University Boulevard E Cottondale, AL 35453-1678 - map ).  



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Merle K.
  • Brandon W.
  • Jamie C.
  • L.C. E.
  • Marcy K.