On October 21st the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (Alliance), Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., a fruit grower owned cooperative (Knouse), and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) hosted an event at Knouse Foods campus in Adams County, PA to plant trees and celebrate the 16 total acres of habitat that the company is creating this fall.

“Conservation and business sense can go hand in hand; they both boil down to preparing for a sustainable future, as clearly demonstrated by our partners at Knouse Foods.” said Ryan Davis, the Alliance’s Pennsylvania Forests Projects Manager. “The meadows and forests at Knouse Foods will replace unused lawn cover while saving money and improving local pollinator populations, a significant asset for an apple cooperative”

Students from the Apple City chapter of Future Farmers of America carry pots that once held young trees. The FFA chapter joined forces with employees from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Knouse Foods, Pennsylvania DCNR, and Adam’s County Conservation District to plant over 700 trees.

Representatives from all participating organizations along with local volunteers joined forces to plant over 700 trees on Knouse’s grounds. The trees are part of multiple riparian forest buffers, which are tree plantings along unforested streams that are critical for water quality. In addition to the 3.25 acres of trees planted on October 21st, the Alliance will soon convert 13 acres of lawn to native meadow habitat.

“This streamside forest buffer and meadows project sets an example for large landowners and customers that sustainable practices are good for business, our environment, and our communities,” Dunn said. “By involving students and volunteers, Knouse Foods is getting people engaged and empowered to work on solutions for water quality and resiliency.”

True to their commitment to environmental responsibility, Knouse decided to partner with the Alliance to implement these conservation improvements on their properties. The practices will save the company money by reducing mowing while also improving the campus for pollinators and reducing stormwater runoff. 

A freshly planted forest of roughly 425 young trees covers a field near Knouse Foods headquarters in Peach Glen, PA

“It can be challenging to balance business with nature, but these programs are a perfect fit.” Said Knouse Foods Manager of Environmental Affairs Charlie Bennett. “As a fruit grower owned cooperative operating food production plants, our focus needs to be upon making quality fruit products every day and not on mowing. We need bees to pollinate apple blossoms and protecting our streams helps everyone downstream.”

The work completed by the partners is only the beginning of a fruitful partnership for conservation; additional forest plantings will be planned in the future.

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