After decades in the trenches fighting against the types of land uses that we don't like, we felt it was time to start hightlighting thoses that we do. Thus, the emergence of of S.A.V.E.™ – a brand that connects farmers to consumers with a conscience – those interested not only in the origins of their products but also in knowing that supporting the environment is as easy as buying a bag of birdseed, a birdhouse, and a birdfeeder.
Established in 2008, the S.A.V.E.™ brand, which stands for Support Agricultural Viability and the Environment, promotes the production of agricultural products that are economically and ecologically sustainable. The projects are funded through a Conservation Incentive Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.
Thanks to a historic partnership, a direct farm-to-market link has been established that offers locally grown and manafactured products through New Jersey Audubon nature centers and other participating retailers. Look for the Jersey Grown logo on products when you make your purchases to help support your local farming community.
Fighting Climate Change While Preserving Farming and Wildlife
Reducing carbon emissions through reducing trucking needs is the easy part of reducing the carbon footprint of S.A.V.E.™ birdseed. We have gone beyond that to collaborate with partners on carbon sequestration research centered on our birdseed crop. With support from the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, we are working with the Carbon Char Group, LLC and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to experiment with the use of a carbon-based soil amendment (biochar) to sequester carbon in the soil.
The beneficial microorganisms that enrich and enhance soil productivity are degraded and destroyed by modern agricultural practices. Ultimately, this leads to reductions in crop performance, nutrition, and productivity that must be offset with increased fertilizer use. Although experiments with biochar are occurring elsewhere, those being conducted on the S.A.V.E.™ sunflower crop will differ notably because they combine charcoal with beneficial soil microorganisms. Thus, use of this type of soil amendment can improve crop productivity by enhancing the soil's organic layer while helping growers reduce costs.
Even more exciting is biochar's potential to take atmospheric carbon and virtually lock it into the soil for decades if not centuries. Charcoal, the primary component of biochar, provides a way to concentrate nearly pure carbon in a package that decomposes very slowly. The use of biochar could become a valuable weapon against one of the greatest environmental challenges that we have ever faced, an increasing atmospheric carbon level and its catastrophic consequence — global warming.
Click here for a list of participating retailers.
Click here for a list of participating farmers.