Valley View Farms’ Pollinator Protection Policy
At Valley View Farms, we love gardening. We understand the importance of pollinators like butterflies, bees and other insects to our beautiful flowers and food crops. Bees are involved in providing roughly every third bite we take from our plate. To that end, we encourage the planting of plants that draw pollinators. For years, we have provided a handout for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. We are hosting seminars about growing pollinator friendly plants and we hope to provide a handout to encourage more bees in the garden.
Why? Bees have been threatened by loss of habitat, climate change, invasive parasites, and problems with pesticide use, including improper use of insecticides. One class of insecticides, called neonicotinoids, (“neonics”) has been under scientific scrutiny since the 1980’s to determine if and how they harm pollinators when used according to label instructions. These insecticides have been used by growers of ornamental plants because they are efficient killers of target insects and they are relatively safe for humans and pets. Over 200 studies have been conducted on neonicotinoids and a partial ban placed on them in Europe in 2012. As studies continue, we have decided to pull the items that contain neonicotinoids from our shelves.
- We will not apply neonicotinoid insecticides at our retail location on plants in pots or in the ground
- We have discontinued sales of pesticides containing neonics to our customers awaiting further studies
- Our sales associates will recommend other low-toxic but effective methods for insects that are feeding on plants
- Our own grower will continue to use Integrated Pest Management practices for growing annuals and vegetables, avoiding the use of neonicotinoids on plants grown in our own farm greenhouses.
- We will communicate with growers providing us with their plants. No neonics are currently used by our growers for any vegetable or herbs. Some of our growers are not using any insecticides containing neonicotinoids at all. We ask that all of our growers be transparent in their use of all pesticides.
- We will continue to work with Maryland’s Extension Service and others in the agricultural community to provide safe solutions in the garden
We also pledge to help our customers with the proper use of pesticides for problems they may encounter with gardening. This includes not just insect control but weed and disease management as well.
- We will continue to have a diagnostic center in our garden shop to aid in the identification of pests and recommend the best solution. Please bring us samples when possible, of the actual insect or damaged plant specimen. We have a microscope and other diagnostic tools at our disposal as well as trained personnel to aid with questions.
- ALWAYS follow label directions---It is the law for any pesticide application.
- Apply pesticides during evening hours when beneficial insects are less likely to be harmed.
In addition to the policies listed above, we will be giving away four thousand packets of sunflower seed to school-aged children. This initiative, called The Great Sunflower Project is an educational program designed specifically to join the hunt for bees. To learn more, visit www.greatsunflower.org.