Jacobs Farm del Cabo Advances ClimateLab™ Initiative; Aaron Brookes Discusses
PESCADERO, CA - The fight against climate change continues as Jacobs Farm del Cabo furthers its mission of supporting the longevity of the planet and the vitality of fresh produce farmers. In a recent announcement, the supplier discussed how it is progressing its ClimateLab™ program to meet its increasingly important goals.
“Climate change is here today, will be with us tomorrow, and how we farm now will color what lies ahead,” says Aaron Brookes, Director of Sales and Marketing. “With that in mind, we are focused on helping farmers adapt to existing climate impacts, mitigate our contributions to them, and replicate and accelerate the practices that preserve farm productivity and strengthen food system resilience.”
Jacobs Farm del Cabo is launching its first-ever cohort of ClimateLab participants, made up of 60 farms. They represent up to 1,400 workers and 3,750 acres (1,520 hectares) of land across five climate zones in the Baja California peninsula, each with unique challenges. According to a press release, through this program, participating farms contribute to their own plans of climate action that meet their individual needs.
The work of the ClimateLab team and farmers is focused in the following areas:
- Climate Resilient Soils: More than half of the farms participating in The ClimateLab believe their soil quality has degraded in the last 10 years. Through mapping soil types with the participation of each farmer, the ClimateLab team is identifying specific, proven solutions to improve their farmers’ ability to sequester carbon, retain nutrients, and regenerate the land, such as green compost applications, ecosystem restoration with native species, crop rotation, and minimal tillage practices
- Climate Risk Alerts: Reliable forecasts for impending high temperatures, hurricanes, and flood warnings, as well as guidance on disaster reduction measures, are high on the priority list for participating farms. The ClimateLab team established a WhatsApp communication channel that serves as an early warning system where all farms are sent disaster risk alerts, as well as recommended practices to proactively protect their people, crops, and infrastructure from extreme climate events
- Gender Inclusion and Equity: In 85 percent of participating farms, women make up anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of the workforce. Jacobs Farm’s gender-focused initiatives are women-led and -developed and focus on empowerment and inclusion in strategic decision making, maternal and child health, as well as awareness of gender inequities that have historically left women disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and how to evolve practices
- Plastic Waste Reduction: The recent swap from plastic clamshells to Jacobs Farm del Cabo’s new paperboard pack has already reduced the company’s plastic waste by more than half a million pounds this year. Beyond packaging, plastic alternatives for weed reduction are being used and tested, including paper mulch on herb rows, as well as flaming and steaming processes that organically rid rows of seedlings by exposing them to high heat
The press release went on to note that climate-related events have rapidly become the most significant threat to Jacobs Farm helping hundreds of small-scale, organic family farms and increasing farmer incomes. The initial focus of the ClimateLab program has been in northern Baja, and the ultimate goal is to see successful practices implemented across all Mexico and California operations. The company will establish key areas of focus and a 2022 work plan for Northern California farms by early next year.
“In many ways, this is business as usual,” Brookes continues. “For over three decades, we have been supporting farmers with sound organic farming practices, food safety resources, capital for establishing crops, boots on the ground, and experienced agronomists. The magnitude and velocity of climate events has now renewed our call to action.”
As the produce industry continues its fight against climate change, ANUK will be here to deliver the latest news.