Tuesday, December 23, 2008

American Farmland Trust Points Out How Christmas Trees Help The Environment

Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm

I received an interesting little item in my mailbox this a.m. from American Farmland Trust and thought I'd share it.

They indicate that there are 21,904 Christmas tree farms throughout the country. And they point out that Christmas tree farms can help sequester carbon dioxide, prevent erosion, protect water and provide habitat for wildlife; for every tree cut down, two to three seedlings are planted.

They also point out that some tree farms are taking extra steps by adopting integrated pest management or organic practices to reduce pesticide use and by planting buffers to prevent runoff.

They point to an article in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/garden/04garden.html?_r=1&ref=garden about these growers which asks a great question, How many of us give the same kind of thought to locally grown, pesticide-free, fresh, healthy trees that support area farmers?

The article talks about the different farms that use sustainable practices like planting buffer zones near wetlands and streams and keeping records of pests, diseases and pesticide application.

And, they talk about the tree farms that have become certified organic by the Department of Agriculture. Or those that are Certified Naturally Grown trees, which meets the same basic requirements: it was raised without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, using sustainable methods like composting and erosion control.

Certified Naturally Grown, http://www.naturallygrown.org/farm-list.html a national organization with 500 members from 47 states, was founded in 2002 (the same year as the Agriculture Department’s organic certification program) by small farmers looking for an alternative that didn't require a licensing fee and complicated record keeping.

It's great to hear that there are sustainable options that allow people to still celebrate with a fresh tree. To find one near you, check out Local Harvest, localharvest.org it lists sources for Christmas trees and wreaths, both organic and conventionally grown.


MaryRuth said...

Wow! Thanks for making me feel less guilty about having a Christmas tree. Of course I had them when I was a kid, but as an adult, I never had one until I met Dale. He has kids, so it was important to do all the Christmas things for them. But we do recycle the tree, so it is going to the ol' Torrance compost heap, right?

LA Farm Girl said...

We had one when my hubby's kids were younger and I must say, I miss the wonderful smell of the trees. We even would do the Christmas Tree Train in Santa Paula, a great experience.

And yep, you are helping the compost for sure!