Jeffrey Pente, Senior Director, Culinary Development and Systems, Sodexo-
“I have been impressed at Food Alliance’s practical knowledge of agriculture and the food industry, and their pragmatic approach to developing markets for certified products. We are keenly interested in offering more Food Alliance certified products.”
Food Alliance operates the most comprehensive third-party certification program in North America for sustainably produced food. Food Alliance's Stewardship Council and Board of Directors use the following guiding principles to inform and direct their governance. These guiding principles provide a detailed definition of how Food Alliance defines environmental and social responsibility in agricultural production. When considered altogether they describe an ideal, comprehensive approach to agricultural production.
In order to become Food Alliance certified™, farmers and ranchers commit to improving their operations with respect to the guiding principles. Improvement efforts are evaluated over time by Food Alliance site inspectors. Each of the guiding principles has either a fixed standard or at minimum an individual evaluation item dedicated to it.
Food Alliance Guiding Principles
Provide safe and fair working conditions
Create a work environment with open communication about workplace safety and job satisfaction, with incentives and opportunities for development of employee skills; consider quality of life issues for farm workers and their communities.
Provide healthy and humane treatment of animals
Raise livestock with the greatest respect for their needs and comfort; provide livestock with access to sunlight, room to graze, and an environment where they can socialize and express normal animal behaviors; handle livestock with great care to minimize fear and stress.
Raise livestock without added hormones and antibiotics
Raise animals the natural way, without using hormones or antibiotics to stimulate growth; use antibiotics only to treat a sick animal to return it to health, not as a substitute for healthy living conditions.
Raise crops without genetically modified organisms (GMO's)
Raise crops or livestock products that are not derived from transgenic or genetically modified organisms; respect the public's concerns over potential ecological impacts or effects on human health.
Reduce pesticides usage and toxicity
Practice integrated pest management (IPM) using a wide range of natural pest control methods such as beneficial insects, careful weather monitoring and scouting. Use the least toxic pesticides only when natural methods don't work. Practice pest control that minimizes negative impacts to human health and environment.
Protect water resources
Preserve clean drinking water and fish habitat by providing buffer zones along streams; practice tillage methods that conserve soil's ability to absorb rainfall; manage animal wastes to prevent ground and surface water contamination.
Protect and enhance soil resources
Protect soils by maximizing plant cover, rotating crops, and using cover crops to enrich soil and increase productivity; use management-intensive grazing; use tillage methods that protect soil quality and promote soil conservation.
Provide wildlife habitat
Encourage vegetative cover, food, and water resources necessary for habitat; establish biological corridors; manage mowing and grazing cycles to have the least impact on wildlife: restore or protect wetland prairie and woodland habitats.
Set specific goals to reach new levels of sustainability; report progress toward goals annually.
Please visit the Food Alliance website for more information regarding these and many other partnership and volunteer opportunities available in your area.