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Sustainable Agriculture Award Winners Conserve with Zeal

2009 April 23

About the author: Timonie Hood has worked on EPA Region 9’s Resource Conservation Team for 10 years and is Co-Chair of EPA’s Green Building Workgroup.

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Feasting is something I really enjoy, and it’s so much better when the food is produced locally and sustainably! EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region recently recognized these amazing environmental and agricultural community leaders:

Innovative Family Farm Watershed Protection

The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District’s Voluntary Incentive Based Program on Agricultural Land in coastal Sonoma County is a small grass roots special district, and it is a special district indeed!

image of wetlandsBy working closely with small coastal family farms in the Estero Americano and Salmon Creek Watersheds they protected watersheds through direct on-farm conservation support.

Here are just a few of the things they did –

  • Worked closely with the agricultural community so a whopping 80% of landowners in both watersheds participated in reducing nutrient and sediment loadings,
  • Prevented 50,000 cubic years of sediment from entering streams through 25 restoration projects on 12 family farms,
  • Upgraded critical roads on 60% of all properties in the Salmon Creek Watershed, and
  • Conducted extensive soil, manure and water quality sampling.

This model watershed protection partnership has kept family farms both environmentally and economically sustainable, and I can’t wait to sample the harvest!

Another winner was recognized for developing super-sustainable fruit.

Zeal Brand Sustainable Fruit

Zeal brand was first introduced in the retail market in 2008 to promote sustainable farming practices. All Zeal fruit is certified by Protected Harvest to ensure that Zeal fruit is grown in compliance with the most environmentally and socially sound standards for soil, water, pesticides, and labor.

The Zeal brand is also pushes sustainability through the entire supply chain. All the brand’s packaging and marketing materials are designed to be low impact and sustainably produced. In addition, Zeal advertising materials are printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

I understand the company’s message is dear to every person involved — from field to fork. The production crews are proud to have a direct influence on the protection of the local environment and Zeal consumers are happy to buy fruit that supports growers making a difference.

For those of your with toddlers, I bet you’re thinking of that great tune, “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy.” My fork is ready – is yours?

These groups have done amazing sustainable agriculture work in California. Please share your ideas and tips on sustainable agriculture.

To learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Environmental award winners, visit

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Brittany permalink
    April 28, 2009

    Hi I am the project manager for the Gold Ridge RCD and I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate the warm and fun write up. We all felt so honored to be recognized amongst so many amazing groups and individuals. Thank you for including us in this most memorable day-Brittany.

  2. Laurie permalink
    April 28, 2009

    It’s so nice to read about projects like this in the states. Here in Europe there are a lot of similar programs, although the challenges are often different due to the greater overall population density. The city of Munich, for example, sponsors organic farming in the area its water comes from and has great water quality (non chlorinated!). And there are many markets and great opportunities to buy local produce, although the selection does get a bit cabbage-y in the wintertime… But buying locally (organic) does mean fresher, often cheaper produce and you know what you’re getting.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. websitebuilder permalink
    April 14, 2010

    Congratulations! Groups that promote healthy living deserve all the recognition they deserve. I hope to see more similar groups especially here in our community. I have a toddler and yes, how I’d love to give him everything organic.

    Amy Cameron

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