"Bamboo is the most egalitarian crop around," says Adam Turtle, co-owner of Tennessee-based Earth Advocates Research Farm. Asian cultures have incorporated bamboo into their daily lives for millennia. "Most traditional bamboo working communities have a huge range of bamboo products, from the knife to cut a baby's umbilical cord, to the stretcher that carries him when he passes on," says Rebecca Reubens, coordinator of INBAR's Global Marketing Initiative.
Will bamboo become such an integral part of Western culture? "Bamboo is not a trend; it is here to stay," says Plyboo's Smith. "It's going to continue to affect every aspect of a wide range of people's lives."