Salmon Safe Soapbox
Photo by Barry Kovish

The Wide World of Eco Labels

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Sierra MagazineNovember/December 2002
Every time you go shopping, it seems like there’s a new eco-label promoting anything from pesticide-free produce to salmon-friendly wine. Includes a quick roundup of some more labels you might see...

Read the article Sierra Magazine.

Food for Thought: Beyond Organic

Farming with salmon, coyotes, and wolves

by Daniel Imhoff

In recent years, the organic farming movement has mushroomed into a $4 billion-a-year industry. Large organic growers now produce multi-thousand-acre monocrops of cotton, rice, and vegetables, and the industry expects its 20 percent annual growth rate to continue for at least ten more years.

This has attracted the attention of agribusiness, which tried last year to weaken the definition of organic to include food that has been bioengineered, irradiated, or grown with sewage sludge. Now a countereffort by small growers argues for a definition that goes beyond eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

"Conserving habitat for endangered species and using water responsibly are concerns that aren't yet addressed by organic certification," says Warren Weber, whose Star Route Farm is one of California's oldest organic enterprises. These goals are explicit, however, in the Salmon Safe program of the Oregon-based Pacific Rivers Council. "Agricultural runoff is a critical polluter of salmon habitat in the Northwest," says program director Dan Kent. "We knew that changing farming practices could drastically reduce that." In the program's first year, 40 Northwest farms totaling 10,000 acres have been certified.

Salmon Safe farmers reduce runoff into spawning grounds mainly by planting cover crops like clover, beans, and rye between seasons and in fallow fields, as well as by establishing buffer strips along creeks, streams, and river banks. (Flowering cover crops also attract insects that help keep pests in check.) While most organic-certification programs recommend cover-cropping, they don't require it. On the other hand, not all Salmon Safe farms are organic; many are vineyards that use some chemicals. "We really struggled with whether a farmer had to be perfect or not," says Kent. "But no matter what we did, there was still going to be agriculture in salmon watersheds. So we tried to include a wide variety of farms in the program." Salmon Safe's goal is not to supersede organic certification, but to highlight the connection between food production and wildlife preservation.

That link was first made in 1990 by Earth Island Institute's successful Dolphin Safe Tuna certification. Earth Island subsequently launched a Turtle Safe Shrimp program, which requires shrimpers to release endangered turtles and other nontarget species unharmed.

In Montana and Idaho, the Growers' Wool Cooperative has started a Predator Friendly Wool certification program that seeks coexistence with native predators rather than their elimination. Participating ranchers protect their sheep from coyotes, mountain lions, wolves, and bears using nonlethal methods such as enclosed pastures or guard animals like llamas, dogs, and burros. The Predator Friendly Wool eco-label brings a premium to ranchers selling wool or value-added products like blankets and sheepskins.

"The coyote and wolf are part of what makes this region so special," says Becky Weed, a Predator Friendly cofounder who keeps 180 ewes on 160 acres. "If I have to kill all the native species to ranch, then I ought to quit. There are better ways to ranch, and ranching is a hell of a lot better than subdivisions."

A similar effort in Arizona and New Mexico teams cattle ranchers with Defenders of Wildlife to introduce Wolf Country Beef. Participants allow the recolonization of the nearly extinct Mexican wolf on their private lands; any losses due to predation are reimbursed by Defenders. Thus far, more than 70,000 acres of ranch land is covered by the program.

We can all cheer the success of the organic revolution, but simply eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides is not the last word in farming; it's just the beginning.


Daniel Imhoff writes frequently about agriculture and environmental design.

You can find information on Turtle Safe Shrimp from www.earthisland.org, (800) 859-SAVE. For Predator Friendly Wool products, call (406) 374-9858; for Salmon Safe, (503) 294-0786; for Wolf Country Beef, (520) 578-9334.

(C) 2000 Sierra Club. Reproduction of this article is not permitted without permission. Contact sierra.magazine@sierraclub.org for more information.

Share |

  Good post.; Thanks for

  Good post.; Thanks for sharing with us. Will come to read again. Hermes Birkin

It's actually a great and

It's actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing. murah dan aman

Good post.; Thanks for

Good post.; Thanks for sharing with us. Will come to read again.
jasa pembuat web, jasa pembuatan website

Nanny München

small growers argues for a definition that goes beyond eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Nanny München

Yes, this is true. I also

Yes, this is true. I also noticed that in the grocery store. For me, organic food is very good to ouyr body. We should be encouraged to purchase organic foods. - Steven Delarge

I also noticed that in the

I also noticed that in the grocery store. For me, organic food is very good to ouyr body. We should be encouraged to purchase organic foods.

writing a personal statement for ucas

The Predator Friendly Wool

The Predator Friendly Wool eco-label brings a premium to ranchers selling wool or value-added products like blankets and sheepskins.

geometry service

Water recycling system at

Water recycling system at Euler Hall. The system gathers rainfall from the rooftops of Euler and the King Arthur housing building, directs it through "channels" into planters bearing native species, itil-practiceexam.com | ccna-practicetest.com

Green Seal develops a set of

Green Seal develops a set of standards for a particular product category. Once the standard is established, any company can see how its own product measures up. If it meets or exceeds the criteria of the standard, it's eligible for the seal. gre-practicetest.com | act practice test

Disney Wide World of games

Disney Wide World of games offers us a peep of what sports is enveloping by modern facilities & the line of the land. Everything about it says "for the love of sports instruction. Riding boots

It is an interesting article.

It is an interesting article. I really like what you said. griechenland yachtcharter

 

 

bazi singapore

This has attracted the attention of agribusiness, which tried last year to weaken the definition of organic to include food that has been bioengineered, irradiated, or grown with sewage sludge. Now a countereffort by small growers argues for a definition that goes beyond eliminating chemical fertilizers and pesticides. bazi singapore

mobile game news

mobilegamesnews.net

Great stuff around !

....mmm.....

Sure it is correct ? Cartomanzia

...mmmm

Good post.; Thanks for sharing with us. Will come to read again.
cartomantiditalia.it

Great stuff around!

Great stuff around! Cartomanzia per l'amore

nice post!