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Norway, IA (September 10, 2010) — Walking through the rows of lavender and thyme that are approaching harvest, a great sense of anticipation is apparent on the faces of Leony and her husband Bertrand. The reward for all their hard work is at hand. This lavender and thyme and other herbs being grown on their farm in Argentina are now part of Frontier Natural Products Co-op’s Well Earth® sustainable botanical sourcing program.
Located in the foothills of the rugged Sierra de la Ventana Mountains in central Argentina, Leony and Bertrand's farm is an organic oasis where herbs and spices are raised with loving care. The area's Mediterranean-like climate is ideal for growing aromatic and culinary herbs. The farm covers a diverse landscape of fertile bottomlands and hilly, sometimes steep, rocky foothills.
Fondly remembering a neighbor’s lavender plants that she enjoyed as a child, Leony made this fragrant plant her first crop in 1988 when she starting farming herbs. She has added many more herbs over the years, and today her 100 hectares of organic aromatic herbs include seven supplied to Frontier – lemon verbena, lavender, thyme, sage, winter savory, hyssop and tarragon.
Committed to sustainable and organic practices, Leony and Bertrand strive to improve quality and yields by trying new techniques, new varieties and new crops. Ongoing experiments combining dense planting in beds with mulching are proving to be effective in maintaining soil moisture without resorting to irrigation of crops.
Because the nearest village is several hours away, the 15 full-time farm workers, many of them second- or third-generation workers, stay in the farm’s housing complex during the workweek. They have a generous food allowance and even their own cook to prepare meals for them.
Working directly with Leony and Bertrand in Argentina allows Frontier to expand the number of top quality organic herbs that are grown in a sustainable and socially responsible manner to consumers. Frontier has been an industry leader in sustainability since its founding 34 years ago. As a co-op owned by the businesses that buy from it, Frontier exemplifies the values of its member/owners – quality products, reliable information, a family-friendly workplace, and environmentally and socially responsible business practices – the values at the core of what is now widely recognized as sustainability.
“Working with Leony and Bertrand has been an exciting development in our Well Earth sustainable and ethical sourcing program," says Kathy Larson, Frontier's Vice President of Sustainability. "By offering them information we’ve accumulated on organic agricultural practices, we hope to help Leony and Bertrand further optimize the sustainability of their farming operations."
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Note to Editors: Photographic images of the Argentinean botanicals or other specific Well Earth projects are available upon request.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op™
Founded in 1976 and based in Norway, Iowa, Frontier Natural Products Co-op(TM) offers a full line of natural and organic products under the Frontier, Simply Organic®, Aura Cacia® and Aura Cacia Organics® brands. Products include culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors; bulk herbs and spices; and natural and organic aromatherapy products. Frontier's goal is to provide consumers with the highest-quality organic and natural products while supporting and promoting social and environmental responsibility. For more information, visit Frontier's website at www.frontiercoop.com.