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Ocean Spray committed to sustainable farming

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. announced its commitment to advance sustainable agriculture practices across the entirety of its farmland by 2020.

The farmer-owned cooperative has committed to sustainably farming all of its cranberries, making Ocean Spray Cranberries the first fruit cooperative in North America to verify 100 percent of its crop as sustainably grown.

Ocean Spray has a long history of connecting farms to families for a better life. The cooperative is owned by 700 family farmers, many of who have been growing cranberries for more than five generations.

In its next phase, Ocean Spray will work to verify Ocean Spray's fruit as sustainably farmed by benchmarking it to the Farm Sustainability Assessment, a comprehensive tool for sustainable farming that was developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform.

"It is important to have companies like Ocean Spray that create sustainable agricultural systems and lead as an example to other companies," said Nick Betts, director-Americas for the SAI Platform.

SAI Platform defines sustainable agriculture as the efficient production of safe, high-quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment and the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees, and local communities, as well as safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.

"At Ocean Spray, we don't believe that impact is a part of our business, we believe that impact is our business," said Christina Ferzli, head of global corporate affairs at Ocean Spray. "We are proud of our family farmers who sustainably grow our superfruit, and we are committed to creating regenerative, healthy food with transparency for our consumers."

Cranberries are one of only three fruits native to North America that are cultivated in the United States. As a result, Ocean Spray cranberry farmers recreate growing conditions that mimic nature. Ocean Spray's farmers use thoughtful, long-term sustainable growing practices to support not only the health of cranberry farms, but also the well-being of surrounding wetlands, upland forests, and neighboring communities.

In some cases, Ocean Spray farmers are actively restoring habitats for native plant and wildlife, including many wetland species like frogs, turtles and cranes. This has positive implications for pest management and pollinator populations. For example, for every acre of cranberry bog, Ocean Spray farmers preserve an average of 5.5 acres of supporting undeveloped lands.

"Our farm in Tomah, Wisconsin, was first commercially harvested in 1891, and my grandfather started here in 1939," remarked Ed Grygleski. "We have always approached farming with a nature-first attitude and are thrilled to be working with Ocean Spray on setting these goals to realize all of the hard work many farmers have been putting into maintaining sustainable practices for generations."

As Ocean Spray looks toward the future, the cooperative strives to create lasting positive impact for people and the environment from farms to families.