How We Grow

2020 May/June How We Grow

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AROUND THE WORLD Sustainability Professionals Experience a Day in the Life of a Grower, Handler In February, the Almond Board of California (ABC) hosted more than 20 influential supply chain stakeholders representing food companies such as General Mills, the Campbell Soup Company, Coca Cola and Seeberger at its first-ever Almond Sustainability Tour. Led by ABC's Trade Stewardship and Sustainability teams, the tour aimed to provide key decision makers with a first-hand look at the California almond industry's responsible growing practices and the unique benefits and complexities of growing almonds in California. These learnings gave sustainability professionals a greater understanding of the challenges facing the industry in providing a high- quality product to consumers worldwide. "More consumers are seeking transparency in how the products they buy made their way through the supply chain. For food brands using California almonds in their products, this consumer trend means it is imperative to understand the industry's responsible, sustainable growing practices and how we are documenting them," said ABC's Associate Director of Trade Stewardship Harbinder Maan. CASP shines amongst sustainability professionals Attendees visited fourth-generation grower Eric Genzoli at his family's operation in Turlock. Genzoli, a graduate of ABC's Almond Leadership Program, shared his passion for environmental stewardship and explained how his desire to preserve the land for future generations motivated him to complete all nine modules in the California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP). Launched in 2009, CASP is a nine- part self-assessment that helps growers compare current practices against industry standards and identify areas of improvement across their operations. Through the CASP online portal – – growers can assess their practices, determine opportunities for further efficiencies and utilize free decision-making tools, all while meeting regulatory requirements. To gain an even greater understanding of CASP and how it relates to organizations' sustainability initiatives, the group visited Monte Vista Farming Co., a grower and processor in Denair. Monte Vista CEO Jonathan Hoff led the group on a tour of his facility while explaining CASP's vital role in sharing the industry's growing practices with businesses who need that information to satisfy consumer demand. Hoff, an ABC Board member, was one of the first handlers to participate in the CASP Supply Chain program, which officially moved from a pilot program to an industry-wide effort in 2020. Hoff explained how the program allows growers to share their data anonymously, in aggregate, with Monte Vista, who then can share it with their buyers. Representatives from the organizations SureHarvest, who ABC partnered with to develop and maintain CASP, and the SAI Platform, who benchmarked 1 CASP and translated the program to international sustainability standards, were also on hand to demonstrate how CASP data helps food companies meet their sustainability goals and answer questions from consumers who are demanding more information about how their food is grown. Tour highlights 2025 Goals, bee health The California almond industry's Almond Orchard 2025 Goals – which work together with CASP – were also on full display during the tour. These goals state that by 2025, the California almond industry commits to reduce the amount of water used to grow a pound of almonds by an additional 20%, increase the adoption of environmentally friendly pest management tools by 25%, reduce dust during harvest by 50% and achieve zero waste in the orchard. The goals build off decades of previous industry achievements and are a tangible example of the California almond community's commitment to continuous improvement. Second-generation almond grower Christine Gemperle is passionate about bee health and the use of cover crops to support pollinators during almond bloom. 1 For more information, visit 11

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