Rocket Farms, the fourth largest greenhouse operation in the country, recently met the requirements to earn VeriFlora certification for agricultural sustainability.
VeriFlora certification requires growers to meet standards in environmental sustainability, including sustainable crop production, water conservation, energy efficiency, ecosystem protection and integrated waste management. The certification also addresses social sustainability, ensuring fair labor practices and a safe, equitable and healthy work environment.
VeriFlora certification is conducted by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a global third-party certifier of environmental, sustainability and agricultural product quality claims with no vested interest in the companies it evaluates. This independent certification process involves detailed on-site inspections, document audits, in-depth interviews and annual follow-up.
“The VeriFlora Certified Sustainably Grown label guarantees that flowers and potted plants have been produced with high quality standards in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” says John Dodson, managing director of food and agriculture at SCS. “Rocket Farms, like all VeriFlora certified growers, has shown a strong commitment to delivering superior products that retailers can feel good about carrying and consumers can feel good about purchasing.”
Adds Marc Clark, executive vice president at Rocket Farms: “Rocket Farms views sustainability as a process rather than as a single event. Every well-run company that takes corporate social responsibility seriously must at its core be committed to operating in a sustainable manner, and VeriFlora certification is an integral part of that. The certification process has helped us see all the things we were already doing right and then raise the bar for everything else.”
As part of its commitment to sustainability, Rocket Farms, which was one of four finalists for Greenhouse Grower’s 2010 Operation of the Year award, goes beyond just recycling, finding creative ways to reuse leftover materials such as rebuilding greenhouses and constructing rolling benches. It is also in the process of retrofitting all of its greenhouse space to bottom heat, conserving an estimated additional 10 to 20 percent of energy per year.
For more information on Rocket Farms, visit RocketFarms.com.