Pollinators are the unsung heroes of agriculture – and, indeed, of our whole ecosystem. While tomatoes don’t need pollinators (they can self-pollinate), they grow more and bigger fruit when native pollinators pollinate them. On top of that, we know how important pollinator habitats are to more than just tomatoes. Such habitats can also improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and provide spaces for native plants, game animals and songbirds. We think the environmental responsibility that’s always been part of our philosophy means we’re responsible for more than just ourselves.
That’s why we have an on-going partnership with the Xerces Society, the largest and oldest pollinator conservation organization in the world, and University of California Davis and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to create pollinator habitats to help increase pollinator populations. In the first season of the project we planted a mile of hedgerows to created new habitats for pollinators as a test for the endeavor. After just one year, there were three times as many pollinators in the fields by the habitat than at our control location. And after three years, we had six times as many pollinators!
Of course, one hedgerow is just the start. We’re working on spreading our pollinator initiatives across all of our Muir Glen Organic farms by 2021. And we’re sharing what we learn with other farmers, educators and researches at annual fields days on the farm, and through publications, so that our knowledge can help create more habitat programs. With enough partners passionate about pollinators, there’s no telling what we can achieve.