Sustainability and organic almond production are sometimes confused, according to a recent survey of almond growers. But while they are occasionally interchanged, the terms organic and sustainable are not the same.

Certified organic production has very specific mandates about how almonds are grown related to soil health, nutrition and pest management.

The California Almond Sustainability Program (CASP) is a self-evaluation that looks at the entire almond production system to assess how growers can use their resources most efficiently within their system of production, considering profitability along with impacts on the environment, workers and neighbors. It is a measure of a grower’s thoughtfulness in their choice of production practices as they relate to these three criteria.

These considerations are part of every decision point a grower reaches and often come with trade-offs. A practice that might be more sustainable in terms of soil health, for instance, might have more environmental impacts on air quality. The California Almond Sustainability Program helps growers look at these practices and trade-offs in the context of their specific system and in relation to other growers. For more information on CASP, email sustainability@almondboard.com.