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Building the Nomadic: Ethical Wood

by Daimen Hardie on July 1, 2014

If you dream it, we will build it.  That’s what we told the world when CFI launched an international cabin design competition earlier this year.  With a design now in hand, the CFI team is all set to keep that promise and bring the vision of the winning Whaelghinbran Nomadic Cabin into reality. 

Easier said than done though, as anyone with building experience can tell you.  The first obstacle we’ve encountered is sourcing local, sustainably harvested wood.  Who knew this would be so difficult in a part of the world with such a wealth of forested land?  Unfortunately, the lumber that is most widely available from mainstream retailers provides no assurance that it supports healthy forests and communities in the Maritimes.  In fact, it’s almost entirely sourced from large-scale clearcutting operations and is sometimes shipped in from outside of Atlantic Canada!

After searching far and wide though, we finally found a family-owned sawmill in Nova Scotia to supply building lumber certified under the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC ®) – an accreditation administered by the Rainforest Alliance that is widely regarded as the most robust sustainable forest management standard in the world.  All going well, we’ll be picking up Maritime grown FSC lumber for the Nomadic Cabin next week!

If you want to make sure that your building material purchases support healthy forests and communities, we urge you to put in the extra effort to find local Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber.  You can think of it like buying local, certified organic food.  The more people who ask for certification at mainstream retailers, the more readily available it will become and the more good practices will spread.

Alternatively, consider buying directly from a local non-certified mill.  We went that route to get a head start on the project while seeking out an FSC supplier. I picked up rough sawn 2” x 10” for the sills and joists of the Nomadic Cabin at the family-owned Goguen Lumber mill in nearby Cocagne, NB.  This way at least we know that our purchase is supporting a local business, and that the wealth is staying in the local community.  It’s dollar voting, and our communities and forests can use all the votes we can spare.

Stay tuned for more updates on our building process - we plan to share everything! 

Building the Nomadic Cabin sills with locally sourced lumber

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