A new study from Cenicafe, a Colombian research institute, has found that sustainable farming enhances local waterways.

It’s not surprising that sustainable farming goes hand-in-hand with healthy waterways, and a new study has discovered reasons why.

waterwaysThe researchers compared the quality of water on Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms with non-certified farms, and found that sustainable farming practices helps enhance the health of local waterways. In turn, this benefits the local communities and wildlife that rely on these waterways as their primary hydration source.

“The quality of water on farms was measured by looking at key indicators of stream health, such as the presence of sensitive aquatic invertebrates, erosion, streamside vegetation, and the oxygen and pH levels of the water,” explained David Hughell, research and geospatial analyst at the Rainforest Alliance. “Results of the study found that certified farms had substantially healthier waterways than non-certified farms, enhanced by a greater abundance of vegetation along the stream banks.”

To earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, farmers must meet a comprehensive set of social, environmental and economic standards. These include criteria for water conservation and quality. Certified farms treat wastewater, conserve streamside habitat and restrict the use of harmful agrochemicals that can leach into local waterways, which all promote healthier streams.

“Before we achieved Rainforest Alliance certification, the quality of water on our farm was very poor and it smelled terrible. We would empty our garbage and sewage directly into the steam and we sprayed toxic chemicals on our crops that would run-off into the water,” explained Norbey Lasso Rocha of La Esmeralda, a Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farm in Colombia. “Now water conditions are much improved. We treat wastewater and no longer dump our garbage into the stream.”

If you want to help support these farmers who are making a conscious effort to protect local waterways, seek out coffee, tea, chocolate, and other foods that have the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. To find a list of products featuring the green frog seal, visit Shop the Frog.

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