Combating Food Waste on the Farm
There are many opportunities to reduce food waste that are often taken for granted. Discarding produce that doesn’t meet market standards, processing leftovers, and unused plant material are all contributors to waste. It is our responsibility to manage waste from our farms and facilities in a sustainable manner. While it may be easy to throw all the waste out, we consciously choose more responsible alternatives.
Vegetable waste from our processing facilities is frequently set aside to be used as animal feed or compost (see photo to left). This practice utilizes tons of byproduct for a better purpose while reducing the burden on landfills.
Customers can also benefit from discounted products when produce is already ripe and ready to eat. Not only does this prevent over-ripening and discarding produce, but it helps out our local community.
Waste can occur as early on as the harvesting process, when the rest of the plant that still required many inputs and resources to grow, ends up unused. Some farmers throw away this plant waste (leaves, stems, and stalks). We, however, make a point to remove as much plant material from the vegetables as possible during harvest then leave it all in the fields (see photo to right). Not only does this prevent waste, but it also provides organic nutrients to keep the soil healthy—a key component for environmental sustainability.
Learning about where your food comes from is the first step toward making choices that are responsible for both people and the planet. Stay tuned for more blogs on the food waste movement and what we (growers, producers, and consumers) can do to make a difference!