The collaborative effort between farmers, scientists and environmentalists holds farmers to stringent production standards and minimizes pesticide use. The World Wildlife Fund has endorsed the label, and organizers hope to eventually involve 10 to 20 percent of U.S. growers.
To qualify, growers must use Biologically Integrated Pest Management Practices, which include such techniques as field rotation and scouting, and eliminate the use of twelve highly toxic pesticides. The farmers are allowed to use protective fungicide against late blight, the most serious disease for potatoes.
Potatoes certified by Protected Harvest cost more than conventional but less than organic potatoes. They are currently available at Whole Foods markets nationwide.
For more information, visit www.protectedharvest.org.