Cascadian Farm, a certified organic food brand founded in 1972, has announced that it will be working with the Xerces Society to plant 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat at the brand's supplier farms by the end of 2020. Cascadian Farm has been working with The Xerces Society, a leader in pollinator conservation, for several years to protect pollinators and their habitat. This expanded partnership represents a first-of-its kind effort to conserve pollinators, bringing together an organic brand, farmers and scientists to work on this shared goal.
Pollinators — chiefly bees — are necessary for the reproduction of nearly 85 percent of the world's flowering plants. Yet, since 2006, regions around the world have been reporting an average annual loss of 30 percent of worker honey bee populations.
The U.S. Interagency Presidential Pollinator Health Task Force identifies and lays out strategies for the multiple stressors on pollinator health: habitat loss, poor nutrition due to reduced food diversity, viral and parasitic diseases, and pesticide exposure.
"Cascadian Farm has chosen to focus on pollinator habitat as a solution, given our brand's connection to nature," said Stephanie Moffat, associate marketing manager for Cascadian Farm. "As a pioneer in the organic food industry, we are excited to use our scale to aid in this important cause."
The Xerces Society's Eric Lee-MÓder, pollinator program co-director, adds, "Cascadian Farm represents one of the most respected, credible and leading-edge brands in the organic and natural foods sector. Beyond simply embracing this concept and working to truly make pollinator conservation a central part of the brand's mission, this partnership sets a high bar for the rest of the food industry. We believe this is a huge and critical step for ensuring a secure future for pollinators."
Cascadian Farm has worked to protect pollinators over the past several years. Efforts such as an on-package "bee-friendlier" donation code and Buzz Crunch cereal have led to contributions of more than $200,000 over the past two years to the Xerces Society and University of Minnesota Bee Lab. Additionally, Cascadian's home farm in Skagit Valley, Washington, demonstrates the brand's commitment by using pollinator-friendly organic farming practices. For example, the farm uses a diverse crop production system with different crops blooming at different times. Also, the farm has leveraged Xerces' pollinator habitat evaluation tool, which led to planting a flowering summer blooming cover crop and planning for a fall-blooming native wildflower meadow.