These days we all hear expressions like ‘organic’, ‘sustainable’, and ‘salmon safe’ used more and more often, but what do they really mean?
In Oregon, as in other states, these terms all signify a level of certification one must earn in order to use them in affiliation with a vineyard, farm, or other endeavor. These terms carry a lot of weight because of the work involved in earning and keeping them, and should not be used frivolously.
Youngberg Hill farms organically and we are certified LIVE. This means that we are recognized to have fully organic and earth-friendly practices from harvest to market, including pest control, crop gathering, and grape processing.
When you see the insignia for Oregon Sustainable, you can trust that a bottle of wine marked as such was produced using responsible agricultural and wine-making practices. This is also a responsibility we take seriously at Youngberg Hill, because the earth stands to benefit or suffer from our choices.
Because we are in the Pacific Northwest, we have an additional responsibility to one of our greatest resources, wild salmon. Salmon Safe is another certification we hold at Youngberg Hill. We were certified Salmon Safe in 2005 after completing a long and rigorous examination to make sure that all farming activity that influences water, both above and below ground, did not cause harm to salmon or their environment.
Salmon are a valued natural resource of our area; therefore, we have an innate desire to preserve them and their natural habitats.
But in many ways, this certification is much bigger and broader than salmon. By following the practices and restrictions laid out in the Salmon Safe certification, we are protecting what is even a more valuable resource – WATER.
When we view holistically what actions we take to qualify for Salmon Safe certification, we are really acting in a way that protects everything that is associated with the natural resource of water. And when we protect that natural resource, we are protecting every life form that depends on water, including us.
We must provide and protect a natural and safe source of water for ourselves and all life forms.
Anything that pollutes our water resource puts all in jeopardy. This not only pertains to industrial processes, but also sod farms, rose beds, golf courses, vegetable gardens, lawn services and so on. All hazardous chemicals currently being sprayed on lawns, crops, Christmas trees, hazelnut orchards, and grass seed fields are not only killing our soils, but are also leaching into our natural water resource and poisoning it.
It is up to all of us to pay better attention, and homage, to mother nature.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~John Muir