News from the Wild Side - August 2015

illustration8.24.15.jpgWhile summer’s bounty and our farmers are churning out an abundance of food for us humans and non-humans (think insect pollinators and beneficial birds), we are keeping our eye on research and policies that benefit conservation-minded farmers and the wider landscape.

 

 

The FDA produce rules are due out this fall, and the good news is that the input from WFA and partners about conservation issues will likely be addressed. The great news is that a recently released paper describes yet another reason to promote the co-management of food safety and conservation, something we’ve been saying all along. 

And as our planet warms, California’s cap-and-trade program gets closer to supporting agricultural practices with climate benefits. We are continuing to encourage those policies to support holistic farm practices that support a natural food web.

Your support of WFA is keeping the momentum going. The birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife have evolved with us and their presence is an integral part of our ecosystem. To keep up our success we must continue to see better, closer and farther than we have before. 

Thank you for keeping your eyes open and focused along with WFA. Enjoy the news from the wild side.

Keeping it wild, 

Jo Ann Baumgartner, Executive Director

Conservation Practices and Food Safety Go Together

On August 10, the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, released the findings from their study “Comanaging fresh produce for nature conservation and food safety.”  The study, revealed that the elimination of natural vegetation surrounding farm fields failed to reduce the presence of foodborne illness-causing pathogens in fresh produce grown in those fields and that the absence of natural vegetation did not contribute to pathogen reduction. It also indicated that cleared land actually resulted in increased pathogen prevalence over time. Something WFA has been promoting all along.

With the rollout of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final food safety rules for produce farms and food processing facilities in the coming months under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), this study is quite timely. This research confirms what Wild Farm Alliance, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and our other partners have long been advocating: that productive farms can co-manage for conservation and food safety -- minimizing the risks of foodborne illness while conserving and building resilient ecosystems.


Cap and Trade Program to Promote Conservation on the Farm

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If all goes well, California’s Cap-and-Trade Program will funnel $20 million into the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Healthy Soils Initiative (HSI) in the next year. This is an exciting policy, not just for California farmers but also as a model for other states.
Wild Farm Alliance offered some early recommendations to the CDFA (Click here to read our HSI letter) to meet the objectives of the program while reaping multiple conservation benefits. Supporting and enhancing soil in itself is awesome, but benefits won’t be realized if the soil erodes away or if more nitrogen leaves the farm than carbon stored.
In our letter to the CFDA, we also recommend that the distribution of incentive and demonstration funds takes into consideration the full cost of conservation, the realities of farming in California, conservation compliance, and includes nonprofits in the list of potential farm conservation HSI partners that can help make this initiative a success.

Keeping our Plates Full

plate8.24.15.pngBiodiversity is the foundation for our survival and is critical on the farm. Without biodiversity, farms would not succeed and our plates would be empty. We cannot wait another day to tackle the issue of biodiversity loss, too much is at stake. 

Farms hold the solutions to our biodiversity crisis; they comprise almost 60% of the continental U.S. Our work is helping to reverse biodiversity loss and rewild our farms.

But we can’t do this without your help.

Please take a moment right now to make a donation to Wild Farm Alliance. As you know, the only way to make change is to grow louder and stronger with more voices - like yours! Thank you for your support. Together we make a difference! 

 



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