To attain the Fungicide Free achievement, farms must have not used any fungicides in their property for 12 months.
Fungicides are described as chemicals that are used to kill fungi typically by disrupting their energy production or respiration. Fungi are extremely important to the whole ecosystem because they decompose dead plants and animals which makes their stored nutrients available for plants to absorb and continue the nutrient cycle. They also have symbiotic relations with plants to help them absorb nutrients from the soil in exchange for some of the plant’s sugars. Currently there are estimates of fungi species which range from 1 million to 12 million, most of which are undiscovered. Scientists think it will take centuries to millennium before all fungal species on earth are discovered.
By using fungicides, we indiscriminately kill fungi which we know have so many positive effects to our ecosystems natural function. Fungicides are typically used as a preventative measure to protect the crop against any fungal disease, but they do not improve the crop yields. Farmers can eliminate their use of fungicides by planting disease-resistant varieties and practice integrated disease management. It is extremely difficult for farmers to balance their lands ecology with the need to produce large amounts of food.
By labelling farms produce with Fungicide Free, customers can support these farmers and help stop the loss of fungi species before we do irreversible damage to our planet’s fungi population and diversity.