All Things Sustainable To Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd
April 22nd has been officially designated as Earth Day, and it's celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. It all began 48 years ago in 1969 when peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the earth and the concept of peace. McConnell subsequently created a proclamation for the day which was sanctioned by The United Nations. United States Senator Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator, were also significant contributors to the celebration's international legacy. Communities around the world observe Earth Week-an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
Limoneira celebrates sustainability this month, but Company employees ensure that this important concept remains top-of-mind as we operate our business throughout the year. Stewardship and sustainability are woven into Limoneira's Mission Statement. Initially Limoneira pioneers worked to reduce expensive agricultural inputs, which produced the beneficial by-product of enabling us to tread more lightly on the land. Over time, as sustainability became more inculcated into modern development, Limoneira has continued to grow in a sustainable fashion.
Each year, an increasing number of Limoneiras Grocery and Food Service Customers require that their suppliers demonstrate that they are operating in a sustainable manner. The Company has developed a Sustainability Matrix that organizes these practices into three categories: Resources, Nature and People. As we incorporate new practices into our business we add them to the Matrix.
For example, Limoneira has a new project is a partnership with Tesla to study the efficacy of these battery systems paired to manufacturing facilities. The goal is to reduce demand from the utilities during the day, which is the high cost period, and offset that use with less expensive night time energy that is stored in the battery.
A brief look at our matrix follows:
Water- Rigorous inspection of water supply to prevent waste/run-off and promote quality.
Limoneira water ponds are the first of their kind, ecological wastewater treatment for agriculture. Utilizing gravity, the untreated water flows through a series of ponds which contain plant material to filter out impurities. The project reduces the need for ground water pumping and has a much smaller carbon footprint.
This is the first system of its kind in the Country and provides a model for rural municipalities elsewhere.
Micro-emitters and drip tape uses for irrigation.
Soil- Organic Mulch project diverts green waste from landfills and saves water, fertilizer and herbicides.
Site selection, Species, Variety - Preventative strategies are used to reduce inputs and establish a sustainable production system. Pest-resistant crops are selected whenever possible which are tolerant of existing soil/site conditions.
Efficient Use of Inputs - Limoneira managers schedule production hours at non-peak energy times, plant more trees per acre, and utilize old trees, pruned limbs and dry leaves for mulching to reduce herbicide and water usage.
Integrated Pest Management- Limoneira maintains a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system to bring their sustainably-grown products to market and reduce the use of pesticides.
Work Force Housing- Limoneira provides vital benefits such as work force housing and funds for educational and community programs, and is one of the largest providers of farm worker housing in California.
Harvest - Crews are trained in proper harvesting procedures to limit fruit damage with shaded break areas provided. Limoneira has a history of making production easier and safer for employees, as safety is a top company priority.
Employees - As a seven time "Family Friendly Award" recipient from Ventura County, Limoneira offers competitive pay with the highest medical/health benefits in the industry, along with competitive 401(k) plans. Many employees have been at Limoneira for 30+ years.
Community Development- Limoneira believes sustainability includes supporting the organizations that make our communities healthy. The Company partners with scores of entities whose missions include educational enrichment, child development, job-creation, economic development, public safety and tourism.
Educational Tours Connect Kids to Agriculture-The Limoneira team believes that education is vital to the future success of agriculture. The company is a supporter of local FFA programs and offers agriculture educational tours to students on its lemon and avocado ranch in Santa Paula, Calif. The tours are an ongoing effort to provide unique, locally relevant Ag education to Ventura County students and helps connect them to outdoor farming in their own backyard.