Earth Day, held every year on April 22 since 1970, is marked around the world to bring attention to the importance of protecting our environment. This past Earth Day, we celebrated the people who engage with the environment every day.
The farming community knows the importance of protecting the land. For farmers, engaging with and learning from the environment is not a special event, it's an essential piece of their daily lives. They are continually adapting land-management practices thanks to innovation and research.
When technology and data are used to make informed agricultural decisions, producers see stronger plants, better yields and healthier soils. GROWN WITH PURPOSE™, Co-op’s farm-facing sustainability program, provides farmers with an opportunity to measure and evaluate their farm practices in order to assess many different aspects of their production practices—including environmental impact.
Danielle Frederickson, Sales Agronomist at Wetaskiwin Co-op in Alberta, has seen the benefits of Grown with Purpose for her farm customers.
"People who work in agriculture know that farmers are some of the best stewards of the land, and Grown with Purpose will help to share that message with people who may not have a direct connection to the farm," said Frederickson.
Frederickson pointed to prairie land management practices in the 1980s, when Western Canadian farms were experiencing soil erosion and losses because of wind and water. These effects on the soil they depended on urged producers to adopt no-till farming practices. By adapting their practice to seed into the stubble of their preceding crop, growers were able to help protect the soil from the elements, resulting in more sustainable production.
In the same way, Grown with Purpose uses farm data to evaluate current management practices. Co-op Grow Team members can help understand the specific details of each farm, and help build a blueprint for a thriving farm business – one that improves productivity today while promoting a healthy environment for tomorrow.
"The consumer has never been as environmentally-conscious as they are today. I think Grown with Purpose is a really great platform to be able to be part of the conversation and to really show the sustainable practices that are used on Western Canadian farms today," said Frederickson.
A comprehensive Grown with Purpose review will identify strategies such as crop rotations to promote soil health, nutrient management practices to meet environmental sustainability goals, and sprayer tank cleanout to reduce wasted product, among others.
Grown with Purpose was developed by the Co-op Grow Team to help our grower -customers demonstrate leadership in farm stewardship. By sharing their Grown with Purpose story, growers and Co-op can show that the crops we grow are nutritious, safe, and produced in ways that are mindful of air, soil and water quality. Together we can keep farming a viable, thriving business today and every Earth Day for generations to come.
"It's their livelihood. By being stewards of the land and improving it for future generations, both farmers and our environment thrive," said Frederickson.