Kudos to Native Grounds Nursery and owners Mike Nehls and Keli Gunning! The wholesale nursery, based in Brownsville, Ore., has become the first nursery and greenhouse operation to earn a sustainability certification (PDF) — and the official seal that goes along with it, shown — from the Food Alliance.
Despite the name, the Food Alliance doesn’t just concern itself with food. The Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit designs sustainability standards for a variety of types of agricultural operations. The Food Alliance Sustainability Standard for Nurseries and Greenhouses is simply the newest one. Native Grounds became the first nursery to undergo an independent inspection to see if it met FA’s stringent certification requirements. These standards include water conservation, wildlife habitat preservation and biodiversity conservation. It passed with flying colors.
“When I got involved with the nursery industry, I thought it was a pretty green industry, but it heavily relies on chemicals and plastics,” co-owner Nehls said. “That was kind of a turnoff. I’ve always wanted to keep things clean around here. Our philosophy is about sustainability. When I heard about this sustainability certification for nurseries, it sounded like a good way to communicate our values to our customers.”
For more information on what Native Grounds Nursery did to earn the certification, see this article (PDF) from the August issue of Digger, or read the press release (PDF) from Food Alliance. There’s even more information on the nursery/greenhouse sustainability standard at the Food Alliance website.