Since 1980, we have been committed to protecting the environment through organic farming practices that protect our planet while improving quality of life for our growers. We have helped hundreds of small-scale, organic family farms and increased farmer incomes by 10x. Yet climate-related events have rapidly become the most significant threat to their stability and wellbeing.
In 2020, we introduced our ClimateLab™ program—a company-wide initiative focused on helping farmers adapt to existing climate impacts, as well as mitigating our own contributions to them. 60 farms within our del Cabo collective joined the program, and based on their needs, we’ve made some exciting progress in the following initiatives:
Climate Resilient Soils: Even with organic growing practices in place for decades, more than half of the farms participating in The ClimateLab™ believe their soil quality has degraded in the last 10 years. The ClimateLab™ team works with farmers to map their soil types and identify solutions to improve their ability to sequester carbon, retain nutrients and regenerate the land, such as green compost applications, ecosystem restoration with native species, crop rotation, and minimal tillage practices. Learn more about the impact of healthy soils here.
Climate Risk Alerts: Farmers need reliable forecasts for high temperatures, hurricanes, and flood warnings, as well as guidance on how to prepare for them. We established a communication channel that we call our “Early Warning System” where all farms are sent disaster risk alerts, as well as recommended practices to proactively protect their people, crops and infrastructure from extreme climate events.
Gender Inclusion and Equity: In 85% of our participating farms, women make up anywhere from 50% to 90% of the workforce. Our gender-focused initiatives are women-led and developed, and focus on empowerment and inclusion in strategic decision making, maternal and child health, as well as awareness of gender inequities that have historically left women disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Learn more here.
Plastic Waste Reduction: We care very much about reducing our single-use plastic impact as a company and as individuals. Our recent swap from plastic clamshells to a paper-based box for our tomatoes has already reduced the company’s plastic waste by more than half a million pounds this year. Beyond packaging, we’re looking at plastic alternatives for weed reduction on our farms, including paper row coverings (pictured below), and processes like “flaming” that organically rid rows of seedlings by exposing them to high heat.