Even Organic Production of Strawberries Not Sustainable

Data Shows Even Organic Production Uses Resources

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Is growing strawberries organically sustainable? That’s something that Surendra Dara is trying to find out. Dara is a UC Cooperative Extension Advisor in Entomology and Biologicals. He is based in San Luis Obispo County as well as Santa Barbara County. Dara met with California Ag Today recently and let us in on his research and some of his findings.

“I have not come across a mainstream grower that has told me that organic is sustainable,” Dara said.

After pulling in data and understanding the inputs, Dara is asking if there is anybody out there that has a different opinion.

“When we are talking about sustainability, we are looking only in terms of non-chemical being the sustainable, ecological practice,” he said.

There are such things as organic pesticides that harm natural enemies.

“Some of the organic ones can be as bad as some of the chemicals,” Dara said.

Data is showing that growing strawberries organically has not been sustainable economically. In terms of the carbon footprint and the bigger picture, “even organic production is not sustainable with the resources because certainly some resources are being used up,” Dara said.

July 17th Sustainable Organic Production Seminar in Chico!

A seminar for growers and crop consultants focusing on the sustainable organic production of field crops, vegetables and orchards will be held on Thursday, July 17, 2014, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. The seminar is presented by NorCal Chapter California Association of Pest Control Advisers, California Association of Pest Control Advisers and Organic Fertilizer Association of California. The seminar is being underwritten by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, which is also hosting the event:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, The Big Room, 1075 20th Street, Chico, CA.

Subjects include:

  • Regulations
  • Almond production
  • Soil health
  • Rice weed control
  • Soil amendments
  • Micronutrient use

The program includes a grower panel discussing:

  • fertility and pest management
  • organic production challenges
  • exhibits by firms providing products acceptable for certified organic production.

CEUs are offered for:

  • Certified Crop Advisers (6 hours)
  • Licensed Pest Control Advisers 6 hours)

For more information, contact Steven Beckley, (916) 539-4107, sbeckley@aol.com.