United by the goals of preserving natural resources and maintaining economically viable farming systems, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), and the University of Wisconsin teamed up in 1996 to help educate growers about using more biologically based pest management systems. Since then, the goals of the collaboration have expanded beyond the adoption of integrated pest management systems to develop plans to protect a variety of habitats and species on private lands, as well as improve the quality of the soil, water and air, with an eye on regional and national conservation priorities. An independent certifier, Protected Harvest, regulates the strict Bio-IPM standards (a ecological systems-oriented version of IMP) of the Healthy Grown label and certifies potato producers in
Wisconsin to use it. About a dozen producers have joined in the effort to date.
The collaboration has added new partners, Defenders of Wildlife and the International Crane Foundation with the goal of achieving better marketing opportunities for the WPVGA’s Healthy Grown Label, and to increase effective native ecosystem restoration on and around farms producing the Healthy Grown Label. These new partners will help achieve restoration of native grassland prairies, oak savanna, and wetland habitats for listed and at-risk species, including bird-life, pollinators, amphibians, and the control of invasive species, and will help promote the Healthy Grown eco-label which symbolizes these important efforts.