[permaculture] [SANET-MG] Healthy Grown ecolabel--what do we know about it?

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Mon Jun 30 13:58:38 EDT 2008



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Healthy Grown ecolabel--what do we know about it?
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 09:50:02 -0400
From: Debra Eschmeyer <deschmeyer at OXY.EDU>
Reply-To: deschmeyer at oxy.edu
Organization: Center for Food & Justice--Urban & Environmental Policy Institute
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU

Hello,

Any deeper incite into the development and implementation plan for the
"Healthy Grown" ecolabel?

Thanks,
Deb

Sustainable agriculture certification would assess health of entire
ecosystem

by Sustainable Food News
June 26, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Thursday it is funding the
development of a new eco-label called "Healthy Grown," which "goes beyond
the organic concept" to reflect new land management practices for the entire
farm ecosystem, including non-crop lands.

The certification standard will expand land management practices into a
broader ecosystem perspective and increase the presence of beneficial insect
species, alternative pest control practices and environment biodiversity,
the USDA said.

It will also help reduce the application of chemicals that are harmful to
the environment and costly to producers.

The Natural Community standard protocol for certification includes
identification of non-crop land near crop fields and the selection of
management activities, such as prescribed burning and invasive weed removal,
to increase biodiversity on these lands. The program also requires farm
monitoring to validate increased environmental services.

Farmers who produce Healthy Grown foods participate in demonstrations,
presentations and discussions at field day events to encourage others to
adopt these management techniques, according to the USDA.

In addition, the project educates consumers of the link between food grown
with healthy land management practices and ecosystem services.

"The eco-label lets consumers know that producers grow foods following
specific environmental standards and practices to ensure ecosystem health,"
the USDA said in an article on its Web site.

With funding from USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and
Extension Service (CSREES), a team of scientists, growers and
environmentalists in Wisconsin led by Dr. Paul Zedler of the University of
Wisconsin, is collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund and the Wisconsin
Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, to study the biodiversity and
ecological benefit of non-crop lands in agricultural landscapes.

A request for comment from Zedler - as well as a graphic of the new
eco-label - was not immediately returned.

The investigators expanded on an existing integrated pest management model
to understand insect population density and diversity changes among
different habitats.

By controlling for beneficial insects, investigators feel it may be possible
to reduce the application of chemical insecticides. The group is also using
bird populations as indicators of ecological function and ecosystem health.


Debra Eschmeyer

National Farm to School Network

Center for Food & Justice

Urban and Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College



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