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Consalo Family Farms recognized for environmental stewardship

In recognition for its work to take voluntary and proactive measures to improve the environment and ensure a sustainable future, Consalo Family Farms received an Environmental Stewardship Program award from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The award, announced in mid-March, was based upon the company's facilities inspection earlier in 2016.

“Consalo Family Farms is committed to providing high-quality produce while maintaining sustainability on our farms, as well as food safety,” said Chelsea Consalo, director of food safety and brand management for the Vineland, NJ-based company. “We are committed to our customers, as well as our community, and hope to set the example of respecting the environment for all New Jersey farms.”ConsaloEnvironmentalAwardAnthony and Chelsea Consalo.

Consalo Family Farms was recognized for achievements in three areas: hazardous materials reduction, water use reduction and materials conservation.

“Materials conservation is our company’s reduction of total material usage, as well as disposal,” Consalo told The Produce News. “Consalo Family Farms uses top-seal packaging, which contains 35 percent less plastic than everyday packaging materials. This packaging is eco-friendly, produces less waste and works in the favor of our customers and us. In addition, we recycle all of our boxes at Consalo Family Farms and participate in a local recycling program.”

The business also takes part in an integrated pest management program with Rutgers University in order to reduce the amount of pest and weed treatments used on the farm. “This minimizes risks to the environment, as well as people,” Consalo noted.

“We participate in green building implementation through our use of energy-efficient, low carbon generating equipment,” she continued. “In addition, all of the lighting on the farm uses less energy and lasts longer.”

The company's advanced drip irrigation systems reduce water use by delivering the right amount of water to crops at specific intervals. “This eliminates the use of any excess water,” Consalo said. “Consalo Family Farms also uses meters on all high-flow processes, such as our wells, to track and reduce overall water usage.”

This approach has had a positive impact on the business. “Our dedication to a clean and safe environment helps ensure clean and safe farms for us, and many others in our area,” Consalo explained. “This allows for the production of high-quality crops for years to come. As an agricultural business, we need the best environment possible for our produce to grow. Participating in environmental stewardship has helped us become a part of this.”

Looking to the future, Consalo said the farm would continue its work to reduce packing materials while providing eco-friendly product to its customers year after year. “We want to continue to reduce water use, participate in integrated pest management, further implement the green building program and participate in materials conservation,” she said. “We also hope to participate in other categories of the New Jersey Environmental Stewardship program in the upcoming years so that we can continue to sustain our community. Some categories we are looking ahead at are the outreach program and the environmental purchasing policy, which we have already made steps to begin.”