BARAKA GARDENS' ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTMENTS
- Reduce carbon footprint by using renewable energy for heating.
- Chemical pesticides phased out in 2012 in favour of biological control ("good bugs")
- Songbird protection though complete elimination of spraying anywhere on property
- Landfill use reduction: Unsold stock in nurseries is typically discarded into landfills. Baraka empties each pot, no matter how small, into a compost and sterilizes the pot for reuse.
- We accept customers' pots for re-use. This is not a money-saving endeavor as the time to sort and sterilize the pots is significant. Pots are made with non-renewable resources so should be reused.
- "Recycle Discounts" are available for customers to encourage re-use of hanging baskets and patio containers.
- Water conservation: Snow-melt and rain is collected in massive barrels through-out the property for use in greenhouse.
WHY WE NO LONGER CARRY LADYBUGS
In 2012 we set a goal of eliminating the use of pesticides and became new customers of BioBest, a company that specializes in "beneficials" otherwise known as "good bugs." In that short time, we have become leaders in Alberta in the promotion and use of "integrated pest management" which means relying primarily on biologicals over chemicals.
Baraka Gardens has held a good reputation for pest-free plants and, from our perspective, it has improved even further through the science of beneficials and our on-going consultation with BioBest.
Our "good bug" program involves insects that are microscopic or nearly microscopic.
For our customers' own gardens, we also brought in ladybugs, a familiar insect that we all know enjoy eating pests such as aphids. They have been quite a good seller but we will no longer carry them.
Until a couple years ago, we were unaware that these ladybugs are not bred in captivity (unlike the insects that are part of our program) but rather are harvested from the wild. After much research and consideration we decided that the ecological impact of this activity is in question and so we don't want to participate in it until more is known. There is a very real possibility of unintended consequences for the natural habitat they've been taken from (southern United States) as well as an unknown impact on the area they are being introduced to. There is a possibility of parasites or diseases being carried by ladybugs from elsewhere.
A better idea is simply to try and attract native beneficials such as ladybugs to your garden.
The first step is to eliminate the use of pesticides in your garden. The second is to make your garden attractive to good bugs. That would include growing the same plants that attract bees and butterflies.
It's more than plants.
Part of the enjoyment of Baraka Gardens is the country atmosphere that includes crowing roosters and exotic egg-laying hens.
And we are a kid-friendly greenhouse! We have toys and crafts in the greenhouse to occupy the little ones and a swing set/slide outside. To our staff, the kids are as important as their parents. We are happy to answer their questions and we even allow them to pick blooms (with guidlines.) Children never complain about a visit to this greenhouse!