Good news for Everglades restoration: America’s only sugarcane-based sugar company is going regenerative organic

On September 22, 2022, Florida Crystals—the only brand of organic sugars made from sugarcane grown in the United States—announce that its three organic sugars are now Regenerative Organic Certified.

The certification guarantees the company grows its organic sugarcane following the principles of regenerative agriculture to meet among the highest standards for restoring soil health and sequestering carbon.

It also includes other key aspects of regenerative agriculture—such as restoring watersheds and local biodiversity (especially native pollinators)—as originally documented in The Restoration Economy.

Florida Crystals’ commitment to regenerative farming led the company to seek certification of its organic farms, which have become the first Regenerative Organic Certified farmland in Florida as well as the first ROC sugarcane farm in the U.S.

This is major progress, considering that the parent company was, for decades, reportedly one of Florida‘s most scofflaw environmental polluters, robbing the fragile Everglades ecosystem of essential clean water flows.

The rigorous certification, which is growing in popularity among consumers, is a step up from the USDA organic certification. By setting high standards for agriculture around the world, ROC requires farms to go above and beyond in practices that restore healthy soil, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and fairness for farmers and employees.

Becoming Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) is a testament to our unwavering commitment to farming in harmony with nature,” said Paula Summers, Vice President of Marketing. “We follow some of the most sustainable practices in the world, because we believe that farming in harmony with nature has the power to make our ecosystems and communities better. We couldn’t be prouder to be the first domestic sugar brand to receive this distinction.

The company’s philosophy is to manage its organic farms under the principles of regenerative agriculture – farming practices that mimic nature – to rebuild soil and achieve carbon neutrality. Florida Crystals’ main pillars are:

  • Minimize soil disturbance and keep soil covered. By rotating sugarcane with rice, vegetables and cover crops, Florida Crystals ensures nutrients are replenished in the soil naturally;
  • Increasing biodiversity. Florida Crystals created habitat for more than 1,250 native barn owls, who help protect sugarcane grown without the use of synthetic pesticides; and
  • Upcycling byproducts by maximizing every inch of sugarcane. The company uses sugarcane fiber to generate the clean energy that powers its mills and packaging facilities, while mill mud and other byproducts are composted to make organic fertilizer.

Florida Crystals ensures their farming practices work in harmony with their region’s precious natural environment and neighboring communities,” says Regenerative Organic Alliance Executive Director, Elizabeth Whitlow.

We are thrilled to see that their Regenerative Organic Certified farming methods produce high-quality sugar while building soil, benefiting wildlife, and shaping a better water future for Florida,” she added.

Florida Crystals sells raw cane sugars that are USDA-certified organic, as well as Non-GMO Project verified, vegan, kosher and now Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC).

Images courtesy of Florida Crystals.

Learn more about Regenerative Organic certification.

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