Choosing Responsibly Sourced Ingredients
Consumers and brands alike are increasingly mindful of the environmental impacts the products and ingredients they favor have over the long term. While the definition of sustainability can be open to a myriad of measures and interpretations, ingredient suppliers can and ARE making definitive choices to ensure their ingredients are produced in the most responsible fashion possible.
At Natural Plant Products (NPP), our member farms grow and produce botanical crops used in personal care. The crops are grown in many cases on multi-generational farms, by families that are acutely aware and mindful of the long-term effects of sustained crop production. We work, through our VP and staff agronomist to convey best practices to our farmer-owners. Practices like no-till farming, and employing bee- and soil-friendly farming methods both help support long-term crop production while also minimizing long-term environmental impacts.
Bee Health and Meadowfoam
So, let’s *dig* a bit deeper into a critical factor in our crop production (and yield), bee health. Our Meadowfoam crop blooms by mid-May, providing early forage for over 40 native wild bees and other pollinator species in the Willamette Valley in Western Oregon. Bees are critical to maximizing meadowfoam seed yields so we want to do everything we can to support this symbiotic relationship with these pollinators!
A Win-Win for Bees and NPP
Since Meadowfoam is capable of producing 120 million blooms/acre, it’s a super-efficient and dense early food source for hungry bees and other pollinators. In fact, one acre of Meadowfoam can produce enough pollen/nectar for more than 100,000 honey bees! In addition to these native foragers, our farms also have long-term relationships with apiary partners.
Supporting Bee Health on our Farms
There are some tangible steps we are/have taken to promote bee health throughout our organization. These include:
- Our agronomist works with our growers to optimize how they identify pollination service providers exercising best practices.
- He attends meetings of the Orgon State Beekeepers Association to build relationships and vet potential service providers.
- We have taken part in bee pollination research studies with Oregon State University’s Agriculture Department.
- We have conducted bee clinics with our growers to maximize pollination potential (and health) on our member farms.
Bee-health is just one factor contributing to our determination to invest in “What Matters” in supporting an ingredient supply chain that consumers and brands can feel good about. To learn more about NPP’s dedication to responsible production of our “farm-to-face” botanicals, visit our “What Matters” page on our website. You might also enjoy watching our video about Bees and Meadowfoam.