Happy Earth Day
Nestled amongst California’s giant redwoods, in the foggy coastal town of Arcata, we are growing premium, fresh-cut flowers—sustainably.
We at Sun Valley are committed to positive stewardship of our local community and environment. By using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices we are able to create a world of color and grow beautiful blooms year-round.
In 2016, we took major steps to become the first American flower farm to become certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance™. With this certification, we showed our dedication to meeting rigorous environmental and social standards and toward making a positive impact in our community and within the floral industry.
Rainforest Alliance™ certification goes beyond crop management. For a flower to be truly eco-friendly each step in the flower’s journey, from field to doorstep, is monitored to ensure it meets the standards of certified sustainability. It’s not only flowers that benefit from the certification, team members are protected by fair wages, healthcare, and positive working conditions. Rainforest Alliance™ certification also ensures that the farm plays an active role in the community.
Walking around the farm, our commitment to sustainability is evident nearly everywhere. One of the first things visitors often notice is team members biking around the farm. By encouraging bicycles over vehicles to maneuver about the farm, we reduce fuel emissions while providing team members the joy of biking through greenhouses. The farm’s sustainability efforts are also evident in the decision to steam our soil rather than using pesticides and other chemicals to clean it between crop plantings. The soil itself is also a result of our composting efforts. Comprised of composted flowers and bulbs along with redwood and Douglas fir bark, our Humboldt Gold soil is not only good for the flowers it is good for the earth!
One of the most critical components to farming is water, another major focus of our sustainability efforts. Irrigation lines are carefully placed and monitored to ensure the correct amount of water is delivered to the bulbs. Should a leak arise, the team is alerted, and the problem is immediately addressed to prevent undue water waste. Water runoff from the greenhouses is collected and stored in a pond to be reused again, and again. In addition to repairing the occasional water leak, Sun Valley has a team dedicated to repairing and reusing as much as possible. From repairing crates to maintaining the farm infrastructure, our repair and maintenance department is a critical component of the farm’s ability to reduce and reuse as many materials as possible.
Less noticeable, but arguably more critical to the farm’s sustainability commitment is the internal task force that we implemented to regularly review and improve sustainability efforts. The team has been crucial in ensuring that the farm and team members remain committed to reducing waste and energy consumption through education, internal programs, and critical self-auditing to ensure we are continuously improving and innovating to maximize sustainability. In 2021, the team’s initiatives included minimizing waste by reducing packaging materials and packing more efficiently. For 2022, the team has challenged itself to reduce energy consumption— and is already making tremendous strides by reducing refrigeration and air conditioning usage, installing motion-sensing lights, and getting all team members involved and motivated to curb energy waste.
Sustainability at Sun Valley goes beyond environmental. Our farm is committed to social sustainability and providing safe, quality jobs for our team. With more than half of all leadership positions on the farm filled by women, many of whom are women of color, we are creating an equitable workplace that gives opportunities and empowerment to all. Social sustainability is engrained into the company culture by the farm’s guiding principles which include—treat team members with respect, instill opportunities for all and give thanks always.
By committing to sustainable growing and business practices, we hope we are showing the importance of giving thanks to the environment, to our community, to our team, and to the people who allow us to create a world of color with fresh-cut flowers.