Harmonious Homestead and Ewe doesn’t sell salmon, but that doesn’t preclude them from earning Salmon Safe status from the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
The new eco-certification is designed to recognize B.C. agricultural operations that adopt practices that protect salmon and their habitat. Products from Salmon Safe certified producers can use the logo on their labels and in advertising. Foods that carry the logo have been produced without the use of chemicals and organic pest control agents that harm marine environments.
Located along the Salmon River, a salmon-bearing watercourse that is important for spawning and rearing of juvenile fish, Harmonious Homestead ensures its operations do not harm the sensitive ecosystem, which has been under rehabilitation for many years.
“We are one of the first 22 farms in B.C. to receive this certification,” says owner Rob Fensom, who notes his farm is certified organic, but that is not a requirement for this designation.
“It’s a different set of standards. For example, a certified organic farm could use a natural insecticide product that is high in copper. This would be OK for organic status, but as copper run-off into salmon bearing streams can have harmful effects on fish, it would not allow that farm to be Salmon Safe.”
In addition to how they manage their crops, farms must also maintain strict buffer zones between their crops or livestock and salmon-bearing watercourses. To qualify, farms must be visited by an environmental specialist and answer a detailed questionnaire about their farm practices to ensure the standards are being met.
“I’m hoping something like this might encourage farmers to take more care,” says Fensom. “I’d like to see more step up to the plate. My goal is to see these Salmon Safe signs all up and down the Salmon River.”