News From the Wild Side-May 2016

Last month, the Wild Farm Alliance team headed to Lubbock for the Texas Pollinator PowWow Conference. It was three-days filled with incredible presentations and a field trip to a privately-owned native shortgrass prairie and playa lake with experts on bees, plants, birds, and butterflies. 

IMG_4840.jpegThis prairie is also a primary breeding ground for the snowy plover, and we were lucky to see one out on the water!

The focus of the conference was to bring together experts on pollinators and pollinator conservation and to learn from each other.

That is exactly what we did.

We got to share a sneak peak of our latest publication, The Biodiversity Continuum Chart, and learn from others on the lifecycle, importance, and solutions to protecting our pollinators.

The level of expertise, from citizen scientists to leading researchers, was impressive. Even though our pollinators are still facing serious declines, there was a sense of hope that was contagious. Everyone at the conference showed such commitment and dedication to work together to implement solutions. It was inspiring to say the least. 

Check out some of the pictures from our trip on our new Instagram account.

Since we have been back from Texas, our work hasn't stopped. Read all about what we have been up to below, including our latest publication just released last week.

Your support makes all of this work possible - thank you!

Thank you so much for your partnership. We have much more work to do and we are so thankful for your continued support to accomplish our goals.

For the wild, 



JBsignature2_(1).jpg                Shelly_Electronic_Signature.jpg

Jo Ann Baumgartner            Shelly Connor
Executive Director               Assistant Director


New Resource Available: The Biodiversity Continuum Chart

We are thrilled to share the newest publication from Wild Farm Alliance, The Biodiversity Continuum Chart. This publication is a companion document to the Biodiversity Guide we are publishing next month.

The chart lays out a progression of activities for farmers, that increasingly support biodiversity and the benefits it provides to the farm.

Each farm has a unique set of circumstances and will begin at different places in the continuum, depending on its need and capacity for supporting nature. Whether the need is for building better soil health and clean water, ensuring more complete pollination and effective pest control, or enhancing habitat for wildlife, the farm can start with small steps or take big strides to integrate biodiversity.

Download it today, and please help us spread the word about this great new resource.

A big thanks to the sponsors and funder that made this chart possible: Clif Bar Family Foundation, Columbia Foundation, Frontier Natural Products Endowment Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, Gaia Fund, Horne Family Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, True North Foundation, and UNFI Foundation. It was also funded by AweSum Organics, Café Mam, Coke Farm, Earl’s Organic Produce, Gopher’s Limited, Heath and Lejune, Liberty Prairie Foundation, Organically Grown Company, Phil Foster Ranches and Veritable Vegetable.

Exciting Research: Birds Help Farms, Especially Those Farms that Help Birds

Birds reduced insect pests in conventional alfalfa by over 33%, according to a new study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.

Habitat is key: the reduction of pests occurs where crops are near habitat.

The study found that the fields with bordering trees had a lower number of pest weevils near those field borders, indicating that birds are very important pest control operators. When farms provide habitat near food sources (in this case pest insects), they benefit more than those farms without habitat on the edges.

Read more and download the research article. 

plate-infographic.jpegSupporting Wild Farm Alliance

Making a donation to Wild Farm Alliance has never been more important than now. 

The food and farming movement is growing, but there is a gaping hole—in our eagerness to provide food for ourselves, we have left too little for the wild.

Our work is expanding the understanding of biodiversity conservation to agriculture and to ourselves - without biodiversity our plates would be empty. 

Together, we will work to spread the message that no matter who you are and what role you play in the food system, the solution is on our plate, and that your choices matter. 

Please make a donation today and help to address biodiversity loss with solutions in the fields and on the dinner table.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

Update on Organic Biodiversity Guidance WorkNeptune3slider.jpg

Now that the National Organic Program's Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance is official, we have been busy working hard to ensure all certified organic farmers and their certifiers understand how this new Guidance affects them. 

When a farmer decides to certify some or all of their farm, one of the first things they do, along with their certifier is to fill out an Organic System Plan (OSP). The OSP describes the farmer's plan to follow the Organic Standards, everything from conserving water to handling the product safely to market. Since there is not one standard OSP that all certifiers use, we have spent a lot of time reviewing each of the OSP's and identifying how they might better address biodiversity in the new Guidance. 

This is just the first step in following through on this new and important Guidance of the organic regulation. Certifiers and farmers are looking for language on how to best address this and Wild Farm Alliance is working alongside of them to make sure they have the information they need.

Stay tuned for more information on how we are providing outreach to certifiers and farmers on the Guidance in the coming months, everything from the release of our revised Biodiversity Guide to webinars and trainings. 

Read more about our past work on the Guidance.

Winter_Green_Farmers.jpgShowcasing Wild Farms: Winter Green Farm, Oregon

We recently added a new wild farmer profile to our website and are excited to tell you about these innovative farmers. Tucked away in the Willamette Valley in Oregon is Winter Green Farm. I had the pleasure of visiting the farm back in September and learning about some of their systems. 

To always keep something living on the land is a guiding principle for the farm. With organic and Salmon Safe certifications, as well as a full complement of biodynamic practices, there is a whole farm philosophy and spirituality aspect that influences their decisions. Close to 30 percent of the farm’s 170 acres is in riparian habitat and forest, and the rest is in crop and grazing land.

Read more about Winter Green Farm!

Support Healthy Soils Initiative - Call Your Reps!HSI_Photo.jpg

Support sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change 

Good news! Governor Jerry Brown is staying the course and is again calling for $20 million for the new Healthy Soils Initiative.

The California State Legislature is taking up the Governor’s proposal. If you live in California, now is the time to call your state representatives to support sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change. Phone calls are much more impactful than email and it takes only 45 seconds to leave a message.

The message is simple: “I’m calling to support funding for the Healthy Soils Initiative in the state budget. The program will provide crucial resources for farmers and ranchers to address climate change and improve our environment overall.” 

Click here to learn more and take action!

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