I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Farmer Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award than Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol, California. That’s why I was so excited when I found out he would be receiving the award in 2010!
The NACD-NAPPC Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award is given every year to a farmer or rancher who has contributed significantly to pollinator species protection and conservation on working and wild lands. This award is part of an international effort to promote public awareness of and action about pollinators—bees, birds, bats, butterflies, beetles and many other animals that enable more than three-fourths of the world’s plants to reproduce. Paul was nominated by the North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council.
Paul and his family uphold or exceed all of the standards of organic farming and are incorporating soil best management practices. They have also planted almost 2,000 native perennials that bloom sequentially throughout the year, providing food for many species of native bees as well as the honey bees kept on the farm. These plants were placed along creeks and rivers to form expanded riparian corridors, adjacent to seasonal ponds and along the borders and interiors of crop fields.
About half of the plants were purchased with funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program provided by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and obtained by the Goldridge Resource Conservation District in Sonoma County. (The other half of the plants were grown on the farm from seeds, cuttings and root suckers.)
The over 100 varieties of fruits, berries, vegetables, herbs and flowers grown on Singing Frogs Farm are provided to Bay Area residents through community supported agriculture (CSA), a kind of farm subscription program.
In fact, because they so strongly believe in the farm’s work, members of the Singing Frogs Farm CSA contributed the money needed to send Paul to the conservation award ceremony at USDA in Washington, D.C. in October last week.
Singing Frogs Farm and farms like it are important not just for the food and habitat they provide, but also because they educate people. Paul and his family also host tours and open houses every week, helping to spread the word about the role that pollinators play in agriculture and the actions we all can take to protect and support them.
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