BOSTON, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. today announced its commitment to advance sustainable agriculture practices across the entirety of its farmland by 2020.
The farmer-owned cooperative has committed to sustainably farming all of its cranberries, making Ocean Spray Cranberries the first fruit cooperative in North America to verify 100% of its crop as sustainably grown.
Ocean Spray has a long history of connecting farms to families for a better life. The cooperative is owned by 700 family farmers, many of whom have been growing cranberries for more than five generations. In its next phase, Ocean Spray will work to verify Ocean Spray's fruit as sustainably farmed by benchmarking it to the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA), a comprehensive tool for sustainable farming that was developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI Platform).
"It is important to have companies like Ocean Spray that create sustainable agricultural systems and lead as an example to other companies," said Nick Betts, Director, Americas, SAI Platform.
SAI Platform defines sustainable agriculture as the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment and the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees, and local communities, as well as safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.
"At Ocean Spray, we don't believe that impact is a part of our business, we believe that impact is our business," said Christina Ferzli, Head of Global Corporate Affairs at Ocean Spray. "We are proud of our family farmers who sustainably grow our superfruit, and we are committed to creating regenerative, healthy food with transparency for our consumers."
Cranberries are one of only three fruits native to North America that are cultivated in the United States. As a result, Ocean Spray cranberry farmers recreate growing conditions that mimic nature. Ocean Spray's farmers use thoughtful, long-term sustainable growing practices to support not only the health of cranberry farms, but also the well-being of surrounding wetlands, upland forests, and neighboring communities. In some cases, Ocean Spray farmers are actively restoring habitats for native plant and wildlife, including many wetland species like frogs, turtles and cranes. This has positive implications for pest management and pollinator populations. For example, for every acre of cranberry bog, Ocean Spray farmers preserve an average of 5.5 acres of supporting undeveloped lands.
"Our farm in Tomah, Wisconsin was first commercially harvested in 1891, and my Grandfather started here in 1939," remarked Ed Grygleski. "We have always approached farming with a nature-first attitude and are thrilled to be working with Ocean Spray on setting these goals to realize all of the hard work many farmers have been putting into maintaining sustainable practices for generations."
As Ocean Spray looks toward the future, the cooperative strives to create lasting positive impact for people and the environment from farms to families.
"As farmer-owners of Ocean Spray Cranberries, we are always looking for ways to help the business by creating a point of differentiation. We saw an ethical as well as business need to pursue a sustainable agriculture model," said Craige Scott, both a farmer and the Chair of the Growers' Committee at Ocean Spray. "Our goal of certifiable sustainability started more than eight years ago when we sought to highlight the responsible nature of our farming practices, our commitment to community and our obligation to our employees. I am proud to say that after many years of hard work and dedication to purpose, we are ready to take this final step to assure consumers they are buying healthy products grown by families the right way."
About Ocean Spray: Founded in 1930, Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the United States, Canada and Chile who have helped preserve the family farming way of life for generations. The Cooperative's cranberries are currently featured in more than a thousand great-tasting, good-for-you products in over 100 countries worldwide. Leading by purpose, Ocean Spray is committed to the health of people and planet. For more information visit: www.oceanspray.com.
SOURCE Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.