Environmental Certification of Christmas
The intent of the certification process for the Coalition for
Environmentally Conscious Growers is to ensure that growers
are utilizing sustainable farming practices in the production
of Christmas trees.
Growers will be evaluated by an independent third party auditor,
The Freer Consulting Co. of Seattle, WA using the program
elements outlined in this document.
The Coalition of Environmentally Conscious Growers certification
is valid for three years. All participants are subject to annual
site evaluations that include a performance overview focusing
on any significant alterations in management practices that
could affect the continued validity of certification. Satisfactory
progress in meeting any deficiencies in program elements or
requirements is confirmed during the annual evaluation. See
- Riparian/Wetland Management - The focus of this element
is on the measures taken and management practices employed
to protect areas adjoining streams and waterways. The prevention
of adverse impacts is accomplished through the design and
management of the riparian zone buffers, vegetative cover,
and by minimizing stream channel disturbances.
- Soil and Water Conservation - The goal must be to minimize
soil losses through conservation tillage and other erosion
control practices. Responsible farmland management does
not rely exclusively on buffer zones. Some soil loss is
unavoidable, creating the need for sediment traps and diversions
to control run-off water flows through and off the farm.
- Nutrient Management - Proper nutrition is critical in
producing a healthy, viable crop. Care needs to be taken
to use the proper fertilizers and amendments to provide
for the needs of the trees while not applying in excess
so that it ends up in waterways.
- Site Selection - Careful consideration of the growing
site is important for a successful Christmas tree crop.
Soil type, organic content, slope, drainage, climate, and
altitude are some of the key factors in considering a new
- Pest Management - Misuse of chemicals can lead to waterway
and soil contamination making it important for growers to
carefully look at how they manage pests. Implementation
of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program is a critical
step in environmental protection. While such a program does
not exclude the use of chemicals, it includes careful pest
monitoring and identification, determining acceptable pest
thresholds, and treatment with the least toxic products.
- Worker Health and Hygiene - A key part to raising quality
Christmas trees is a healthy, productive staff. Employee
safety and well-being is always a priority.
- Biodiversity - Sustainable farming also includes practices
that support and enhance biodiversity throughout the farm.
Soil micro fauna, such as bacteria and fungi, break down
soil organic matter and help maintain soil quality while
recycling nutrients. Many insects are beneficial and prey
on agricultural pests. Increasing biodiversity on the farm
not only benefits wildlife but also the farm itself.
- Consumer Education - Most of the general population does
not understand farming practices, especially that of Christmas
trees and how they are good for the environment. The public
needs to be informed of sustainable practices that promote
the best care of the land, water, air, and nature, in general,
and understand that renewable, recyclable crops are the
key to the future.
Click here to see the full Certification Criteria CECG