Why did Finnriver decide to become Salmon-Safe certified?
We were approached by the Salmon-Safe folks about certification and it resonated with our core values of care for the land and community. We had come from a background in environmental education and already felt a strong commitment to ensure that we were striving to reduce negative impacts and possibly repair the ecosystem we were dwelling and farming within. We were inspired early in our journey by the Aldo Leopold land ethic about preserving the beauty and integrity of “the biotic community” and by Wendell Berry’s teachings about how agriculture connects us to landscape and community. So, we kept asking ourselves what steps we could take to preserve and grow the beauty and integrity here.
It felt very significant to us that a salmon-bearing stream runs through our farm— Chimacum Creek. We got involved in upkeep of the restoration [started by the previous property owners and various partners], and we watched over the years as the re-meandering and reforestation of that section of the stream went from a weedy ditch to a lush (albeit narrow) habitat for wildlife and forested, shady haven for salmon.
We knew that there were historic tensions around the interaction of ag land and salmon habitat, and we wanted to try to role model a project that allowed both to recover and thrive.
How does the program align with the priorities and goals of Finnriver?
Our goal in farming is to increase the health of our soils, add biodiversity to the farm and protect the watershed. These goals align with Salmon-Safe and allow us to celebrate the aspiration for the co-existence of healthy streams and salmon with vibrant farms. We know this will always be a quest and not an achievement— that ecosystems are very complex and interconnected, and that human impacts are problematic, no matter how benevolent the intention. We want to keep learning and striving for a better model.
What does the Salmon-Safe label mean to your consumers?
The label provides a form of activism when purchasing cider and organic produce from our farm. It tells them that we are taking into account the larger watershed issues and impacts that go along with farming in proximity to salmon-bearing waterways. We hope that our customers continue to make the connections between their purchases and their impact on the ecosystems that sustain us!
What’s the most valuable aspect you see in the Salmon-Safe program?
It illuminates and holds us accountable to the intricacies and complexities of the relationship between farming and the ecological health of our surroundings.
Look for Finnriver products in your local stores and learn more about their work by visiting them for a tour and cider talk: