Cattail Hollow Farm receives its River-Friendly Farm certification sign to let customers know it adheres to best practices to protect our waters. From left: Christine Dunbar, Paulins Kill Watershed coordinator, Tim Dunne, RFF Certifier, Lafayette Township Mayor Kevin O’Leary, Cattail Hollow Farm owners, Meg Myers and Kim Skov.

River Friendly Farm Certification promotes environmentally friendly farming by recognizing farmers for their commitment to stewardship of their land and surrounding water resources. North Jersey Resource Conservation & Development (NJRC&D) is partnering with the Foodshed Alliance to identify, inspect, and certify farms that use best practices in protecting water resources. The latest farm to be certified by the Foodshed Alliance is Cattail Hollow Farm of Lafayette, NJ.

The voluntary program inspects five areas of criteria on applicant farms: Soil Health Management: preventing erosion while building soil quality, Nutrient Management: using crop nutrients as efficiently as possible, Pest Management: preventing the spread of pests and reducing pesticide use, Stream Corridor Protection: riparian buffers and livestock stream exclusions, and Irrigation Water Management: irrigating on a schedule based on soil moisture monitoring.

Once farms apply, a conservation specialist from NJRC&D visits each farm to assess these criteria. Farms that do not meet requirements are given guidance, and sometimes directed to funding, to help remedy the issue and get them certified. Certification fees for farms in Paulins Kill Watershed are covered by a grant; there may be nominal fees for certification outside of the watershed.

The 11-acre Cattail Hollow Farm, which currently offers pasture-raised eggs, no-spray vegetables and herbs, and local honey, is developing a self-sustaining farm that supports the local community, ecosystem, and biodiversity. The River Friendly Farm Certification was an easy choice for them, as a representation of their commitment to their land.

Interested in learning more about the River Friendly Farm Certification? For general information, visit www.RiverFriendlyFarm.org. To apply visit www.PaulinskillWatershed.org/RFF,  and contact ChrisDunbar@FoodshedAlliance.org with any questions!

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