At Gaia Herbs, we're committed to cultivating health and well-being by stewarding the sustainable relationship between plants and people. We take many steps to grow this mission and create a positive impact. To showcase our growth and commitment, we've compiled a few highlights from our 2018 Sustainability Report. We hope this gives you a deeper perspective into who we are and how we use Business as a Force for Good.
Regenerative Farming Practices
Since purchasing the Gaia Farm 20 years ago, we have been dedicated to sustainable farming methods that improve soil health. In 2018, we formalized our Regenerative Farming Program, which confirmed that our soil management practices have yielded very high soil organic matter on the farm, which is the key to soil's ability to drawdown carbon from the atmosphere. By farming our land organically, we capture 1,225 tons of CO2 every year, which helps remove it from the air. We plant on average of 6.5 million plants a year, representing 25 species of medicinal herbs, and 125 species of fruits and vegetables. This biodiversity supports a strong and balanced ecosystem.
On the Gaia Farm, we grow many pollinator-friendly plants, ensuring the health of our 200 beehives and encouraging more pollinators to thrive. Monarch butterflies are extremely important pollinators and their future survival is threatened by habitat loss and the widespread use of herbicides and insecticides. In 2017, Gaia Herbs became a certified Monarch Waystation to provide necessary food and habitat for migrating monarch butterflies on our farm.
Many plants are grown in the understory of forests. Agroforestry, also called forest farming, is an essential component of a global solution to the growing demand for food and medicine, the need for sustainable land use, and the necessity to preserve forests worldwide. Gaia Herbs is part of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition to increase awareness of forest-grown medicinal plants and to act as stewards of the earth to ensure there is a viable future for the native plants of Appalachia.
Preserving Medicinal Plants
The increasing popularity of herbal medicine has intensified pressure on wild medicinal plant populations, putting many native species at risk. Gaia Herbs is proud to be a member of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network. The mission of the United Plant Savers is to preserve, conserve, and restore native medicinal plants of the USA and Canada and their native habitats to ensure an abundant and renewable supply for future generations to come.
Reversing Climate Change
Climate change is the biggest threat our planet faces, and bold steps are needed if we are going to successfully tackle this challenge. Gaia Herbs is part of the Climate Collaborative, a natural product industry organization that helps businesses join forces to reverse climate change. Through the assistance of the Climate Collaborative, we are continuing to refine our strategies to mitigate climate change through agriculture, energy efficiency, policy, renewable energy, forests, and packaging.
Preserving & Protecting Natural Resources
Since 2011, we have worked with Pratt Industries to obtain our shipping boxes, working in a closed-loop system that saves forests from deforestation, saves water, reduces landfill waste, and decreases CO2 emissions. Our cartons are made from 100% recycled paperboard sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests. We use TreeZero paper a no-tree, carbon-neutral source of paper as our standard copy paper companywide. We use only compostable dishes, utensils, and cups at Gaia company events, and ensure all compostable material is disposed of correctly. We also use biodiesel in our tractors on the Gaia Farm.
Conscious Choices to Keep Our Planet Healthy
These are just a few highlights from our 2018 Sustainability Report. We're proud of where we have come as a purpose-driven company, and we're excited for the journey ahead. Read the entire 2018 Sustainability Report for an even more in-depth look at our sustainability efforts.