Holly Chittum is Project Scientist for the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). She provides scientific, technical, and administrative support for projects, programs, and initiatives at AHPA and the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals. Her efforts are directed toward furthering scientific projects and providing support to meet the needs of AHPA and its members on scientific and technical issues, especially with regard to botanical raw materials production and sourcing, and sustainable supply chains.
Chittum is also a Ph.D. student at Penn State University where her research focuses on global supply chain dynamics and sustainability of herbs and herbal raw materials. Before joining AHPA, Holly served as Non-timber Forest Products Extension Project Associate at Virginia Tech University from 2015-2018. In this role, she engaged in research and outreach on forest medicinal plants, forest farming, and sustainable forest botanical supply chains. She is a founding partner and previous Project Co-Director for the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC), a large network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that collectively work to increase awareness of forest medicinal plants and forest farming production systems through education and relationship building. Holly also served as adjunct faculty member in the Herbal Medicine and Integrative Health Sciences departments at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) from 2013-2018, teaching courses in field botany, ethnobotany, materia medica, phytochemistry and pharmacology, and herbal products industry immersion courses.
Holly holds a Master of Science in Herbal Medicine from MUIH, were she researched the production and economics of American ginseng from it’s native habitat in the Appalachian region of the Eastern U.S. to Beijing and to the Changbai Mountain region of the Jilin province in China. She connected with stakeholders across the supply chain, from production to marketplace, identifying factors affecting sustainability, marketability, and buyer preference in the U.S. and in China. Chittum received the MUIH President’s award for her work with ginseng at the 2013 MUIH Research Symposium. As a graduate student, Holly worked as an assistant curator at the Jim and Peggy Duke Green Farmacy Garden and completed an internship in Plant Science at Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center.
Chittum has also engaged in a multitude of freelance and community outreach activities, from collaborating on integrative healthcare systematic review research at Samueli Institute, to presenting on many aspects of forest botanicals at conferences and workshops for organizations such as the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, the Chesapeake Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and the International Herb Association. She has participated in multiple stakeholder panels and conducted U.S. herbal industry tours, and lead field botany excursions for local, regional, and national NGOs and governmental agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, USAID, and the Clear Water Conservancy. She has also provided forest landowner consultation and site evaluation for forest botanical production and marketing across the Appalachian region.