Farmers Sign onto Eco-Label, Reduce Pesticide Use
A new food label called Protected Harvest greatly reduces farmers' use of pesticides on their crops according to Environmental News Service. A conglomeration of growers, scientists and environmental groups created and now manage Protected Harvest. World Wildlife Fund is supporting their work by allowing the WWF logo placed on packages of Healthy Grown Potatoes from Wisconsin, the first crop certified as Protected Harvest. This is the first time World Wildlife supported an eco-label.
Protected Harvest certification concentrates on two areas: production and toxicity. In production, farmers must employ BioIPM, which promotes environmentally sound pest management. For example, a grower would rotate a field away from other fields in order to minimize pests. Soil and water quality are both a priority.
To reduce toxicity levels, growers, crop consultants, university researchers, and environmental advocates created limits that the farmers cannot exceed. In addition, the use of 12 highly toxic pesticides is eliminated. These include Aldicarb and Paraquat.
Currently, the Wisconsin potatoes are the only crop labeled Protected Harvest. However, research is under way to create standards for wine grapes, tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn. In the future, Protected Harvest would also like to incorporate standards for biodiversity in and around farmland.
To read more about Protected Harvest, see their website at www.protectedharvest.org.