The way Kent Rathwell, CEO and Founder of Sun Country Organics and past Clean16 Honouree sees it, the key to making sustainability practices the norm is to implement them in a practical manner. People need to see and experience working sustainability before they’ll embrace it.
“Only then will we as a species and a planet have a chance for long term prosperity,” is how Kent puts that into words. His 100% green powered factory located in Langham, Saskatchewan, is just one of the ways he puts it into action: Sun Country Farms’ wild-bird food production facility is 100% wind-powered.
Sun Country Organics Ltd. has also created a virtual zero emission wild-bird food value chain. The crops are grown processed, manufactured, packaged and the end product is delivered to retailers and to the consumer’s home with no (to low) emissions and when the company was approached about marketing an organic fertilizer, which was turning waste into certified organic fertilizer, Kent quickly signed on.
There were a few improvements to be made to the product before sales could begin. These included expanding the fertilizer to be entirely carbon neutral, further increasing the nutrients it provided to plants, reducing its aroma and increasing its water retention capabilities. Cost saving elements for farmers, municipalities, businesses, homeowners lawns and gardens were added, but the way he say Kent saw it the fertilizer industry was ripe for disruption and project was entirely aligned with Sun Country’s values.
The result is an organic fertilizer which can be used in certified organic farming operations and by homeowners on their own properties. The product is safe, easy and convenient to use and substantially less expensive than traditional fertilizer options. Best applied before and after a rain, the fertilizer will not easily wash away, can be applied all year long, and builds up the soil depth and soil ecosystem. It is child, pet, bird, bee, worm, fish, and wildlife friendly.
Packaging and POP material were developed to market the new product and Sun Country are now providing their main fertilizer product to retailers, homeowners, companies, farms, and municipalities across Canada (and soon to the world).
Sun Country Organics Organic Fertilizer, Plant Food and Soil Builder is manufactured in a simple carbon neutral process. The biomass (currently manure) is cooked (using captured waste heat) to temperatures which eliminate contaminants such as e coli, salmonella, hormones, pharmaceuticals, hormones, antibiotics and weed seeds while keeping vital organic matter and micro-nutrients) which build up the soil’s ecosystem.
All of this means that organic food can now be produced more economically, socially and environmentally sustainably, using less land, less water and producing fewer emissions.
More specifics of the product cannot yet be disclosed due to intellectual property issues but, Kent adds it’s already being very well received, “The best is seeing skeptics become our best advocates, whether farmers, gardeners, experts or consumers, they are all part of our team and success in reaching this point!”
All of which goes to show sustainable, organic farming isn’t just for the birds.