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Project Update

Making SISC metrics better

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops participants have been working hard to advance the metric discussions launched earlier this year.  This fall, the project hosted an additional 9 webinars on the topics of Energy and GHG Emissions (farm), Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Pesticides (farm), Pesticides (non-farm), Waste, and Water (non-farm).  In addition, metric facilitators for Human Resources and Water Use (Farm) have been interviewing experts and stakeholders to sharpen proposals to bring back to their respective workgroups early next year.  In total, 36 metric-specific webinars have been hosted by the Stewardship Index since the effort began in February.

Metrics move to a pilot phase

Metric facilitators expect that most of the metrics proposed this year will be ready for trial in pilot projects.  A Pilots Committee, comprised of Coordinating Council members, is working now to develop the tools we’ll need to test metrics under real world conditions.  This group is now developing goals, protocols, guidance documents, and a data sharing policy for approval by the Coordinating Council.  To date, nearly 50 companies have expressed interest in joining a pilot, including growers, trade associations, processors, retailers and food service providers.   The pilots are expected to get underway early in 2010.  Please contact Dan Schurman at Ag Innovations Network if you are interested in helping to pilot Stewardship Index metrics (see contact information below).

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops continues to gain members and attention

The project now has 330 listed Metrics Review Committee participants and is being watched by an additional 45 subscribers.  The Stewardship Index has been prominently featured at leading industry conferences and frequently appears in trade publications and the blogosphere.  Recent publications include Capital Press, The Packer, and the Produce Marketing Association.

Coordinating Council to meet in January

The Coordinating Council plans to meet in person in January to resolve any outstanding questions or disagreements about specific metric proposals, approve plans for launching metric pilots, and continue discussions about how the Stewardship Index should be used in the future.

As always, your input is welcome and we hope you will join the Metrics Review Committee to help develop stewardship metrics.  Feel free to also contact Dan Schurman at Ag Innovations Network with any additional questions, suggestions or concerns at or 707-823-6111.