I've been slowly but surely introducing my family members to the plastic-free lifestyle. One thing I've had trouble turning my parents off of, though, are frozen fruit and vegetable packaging. My dad loves frozen blueberries with milk and my mom uses frozen fruits and vegetables for cooking frequently. I was beyond pleased when my mom said she had exciting news for me when I came home this week! She was shopping at Gelson's Market and she found frozen veggies, fruit, and rice all in biodegradable paper packaging rather than plastic! This is the first time we've ever seen anything like this in our local stores, and I practically jumped up and down at the fact my mom is being a careful shopper and that this company exists!
Stahlbush Island Farms is the name of this sustainable farming company and after doing some research, I have to say I am thoroughly impressed. First of all, this is a family farm started up in 1985 by Bill and Karla Chambers in Oregon. Their products include frozen vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes.
They are a SUSTAINABLE farm! Wondering how they accomplish this? Well, here's a play-by-play directly from their website:
"Soil Health: With each growing season, we use conservation tillage to reduce erosion. We also plant cover crops to return nitrogen to the soil and build organic matter. We even apply digestate from our biogas plant to our fields as it acts as an organic fertilizer and naturally increases microbial activity and builds overall soil health.
Water Conservation: We continue to improve our irrigation, using weather, soil moisture and evapotranspiration data to track water use and needs. We have implemented automation systems that allow us to access real-time data that automatically controls and schedules our irrigation based on the needs of each plant.
Wildlife Habitat and Biodiversity: We plant native species that attract pollinators like bumblebees and plant cover crops in the winter that keep the blue herons on the farm year-round. We have a thriving blue heron rookery or habitat on the farm.
Social Responsibility and Employee Well-Being: We have programs and benefits in place for our employees to ensure job satisfaction and fulfillment. We also have programs in place to improve our local community, for instance we donate one million servings to local food banks every year.
Innovation: We were the first farm ever to be certified sustainable by the Food Alliance. We have always been early adopters of new technology. Stahlbush was the first farm in Oregon to use GPS technology and the first to build a biogas plant that generates electricity using agricultural by-product in North America."
A huge part of being ocean minded is keeping the little things in mind. While shopping, looking for biodegradable packaging rather than plastic makes a bigger difference than many would think. Our ripple affect that we can make with our words and actions is incredible. Supporting our local farms and our sustainable farms along with looking out for better, less wasteful food options is the start to a less polluted world. Be a mindful shopper and check out stores that sell Stahlbush products by you!