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Sustainable Water Use at Peace Tree Farm

Peace Tree Farm is located in the Delaware River watershed, less than a half mile from Lake Nockamixon. Since the company’s inception, we have been very conscious of the risk of runoff from our farm winding up in the waterways we cherish. Agricultural runoff is a major and often overlooked environmental hazard. Agricultural runoff contains high levels of nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorous, that cause algal blooms and aquatic ecosystem die-offs, and in many situations they also contain pesticides and other agricultural chemicals that have a myriad of poorly understood effects.

While we are blessed with abundant clean well-water in our area, we have specifically designed our farm’s irrigation systems to use as little water as possible, and, more importantly, to lose as little as possible to runoff. This is of course in addition to our eco-friendly growing practices that reduce or eliminate excess nutrients and chemicals in what little runoff does inevitably leave the farm.

All of our greenhouses are equipped with ebb and flood benches that allow us to collect and recycle irrigation water that is not directly taken up by plants.

This system has many benefits beyond water use efficiency, and is also an essential cultural control practice that we employ to prevent foliar diseases without the use of fungicides.

Our use of ebb and flood irrigation reduces our water usage and loss by 80-90% compared to using overhead irrigation.

To sustainably recycle our irrigation water, it must be filtered and treated to prevent waterborne plant diseases. We use a multi-stage physical media filtration system and then treat both our outgoing and returning irrigation water with low levels of hydrogen peroxide. We use a state-of-the-art system for generating hydrogen peroxide on-site, and it is the first system of its kind in North America. Hydrogen Peroxide generation requires only water and electricity (provided by our solar panels) as inputs, and creates only water and oxygen as byproducts.