Native Grounds Nursery Receives Award
Food Alliance has announced the certification of Native Grounds Nursery, Brownsville, Ore., for sustainable management practices. Native Grounds Nursery is the first nursery and greenhouse operation in North America to be certified to Food Alliance’s new sustainability standard for nursery and greenhouse operations.
To achieve certification Native Grounds Nursery underwent an independent on-site inspection to determine if the operation met the certification requirements that comprise the FA Sustainability Standard. According to the inspection results, Native Grounds Nursery scored exceptionally high in the areas of water conservation, wildlife habitat preservation, and biodiversity conservation.
Native Grounds Nursery owners Mike Nehls and Keli Gunning are deeply committed to sustainable management practices. To conserve water and preserve biodiversity they use micro sprinklers for irrigation and grow native plants, drought tolerant groundcovers and a selection of hummingbird attracting plants. More than 85 percent of their plants are native to the Pacific Northwest.
Nehls has dedicated about half of the property to wildlife habitat, including a large woodland buffer between the production areas and the nearby Calapooia River. Native Grounds Nursery also reduces carbon pollution by transporting plants to Portland nurseries using delivery truck that runs on waste vegetable-oil.
“The fact that this is the only sustainability standard for the North American ornamental plant producers was extremely important. The inclusion of Salmon-Safe certification criteria is also important for us Northwest producers,” says Nehls. “Garden centers like Portland Nursery will now sell our products with the Food Alliance Certified label. Landscapers, watershed restoration projects coordinators, and home gardeners can see the label and have confidence that plants from Native Grounds Nursery were grown in ways that benefit our local community and the environment.”
Expanding upon its well-established standards for sustainable agriculture, Food Alliance developed the Sustainability Standard for Nursery & Greenhouse Production by industry request with encouragement from the Oregon Association of Nurseries (www.oan.org). Producers in the Pacific Northwest may further differentiate their operations by concurrently verifying compliance with Salmon-Safe (www.salmonsafe.org).
According to Roberta Anderson, Business Development Director at Food Alliance, “This is not just another sustainability standard. Nursery and greenhouse producers may use these resources to evaluate management practices, measure social and environmental performance, and drive innovation. They may also choose to distinguish their operation and products through voluntary third-party certification.”