Food Waste, The Farm Bill and Precision Farming: Exploring AgTech Trends Pt.3

Mustard Green seedlings ready to plant at Eden Green.

The Shocking Amount of Produce Wasted in the Journey from Fields to Stores

Every year, an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. That's roughly 1.3 billion tons of food, worth an estimated $1 trillion. And of that wasted food, a significant portion is produce.

There are many reasons why produce is wasted. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Imperfect produce: Produce that is not perfectly shaped or sized is often rejected by grocery stores. This can lead to as much as 25% of produce being wasted.

  • Damage during harvest: Produce can be damaged during harvest, either by being dropped or by being exposed to harsh weather conditions. This can lead to as much as 10% of produce being wasted.

  • Spoilage during transportation: Produce can spoil during transportation, either due to heat or due to improper handling. This can lead to as much as 5% of produce being wasted.

  • Damage during storage: Produce can be damaged during storage, either due to pests or due to improper temperature control. This can lead to as much as 10% of produce being wasted.

  • Unsold produce: Produce that is not sold by grocery stores is often discarded. This can lead to as much as 20% of produce being wasted.

The amount of produce wasted in the journey from fields to stores is a significant problem. It has a number of negative consequences, including:

  • Environmental impact: Food waste contributes to climate change, water pollution, and land degradation.

  • Economic impact: Food waste costs the global economy an estimated $1 trillion each year.

  • Social impact: Food waste contributes to hunger and malnutrition.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce food waste. At Eden Green, we are taking significant steps to make sure that we reduce the amount of food waste in our product. One of the most substantial ways is in how we reduce the shipping miles. The lettuce from Eden Green, goes from harvest to store in 36-48hrs. As each greenhouse services a 300 mile radius(with most stores being within 50 miles), there are no long journeys and therefor, minimal(if any) loss in produce. Another benefit to drastically reducing the shipping miles is an uptick in shelf life. Since it hasn’t spent over a week on a truck, our produce has a shelf life of 3 weeks in your refrigerator.

Join us in taking steps to reduce food waste. Together we can help to address these challenges and create a more sustainable and equitable food system.

Here are 4 articles we found that outline some of the other technological advancements within the agricultural space. 

Daily Meal The Food That Americans Waste The Most Really Isn't A Shock

From the Article:

“Unfortunately, lettuce waste doesn't start at the retail level, either. Most supermarkets require a duration of around 11 days before the marked sell-buy date in order to stock it on their shelves. Farms and distribution centers across America have been forced to throw away perfectly fresh lettuce due to time restrictions surrounding expiration dates.

If you wish your lettuce lasted longer than one week, simply buy whole heads and take extra steps to keep them fresh. Whole heads of lettuce may last up to three weeks when properly stored in your refrigerator.”

CNN | Six innovations that can help feed the world

From the Article:

“Around the world, food is grown on land of all sizes and all types, but that diversity means farmers often fail to take into account landscape complexity and soil variability, according to Chandra A. Madramootoo, a professor of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada.

He says that one solution is precision farming, an approach that “enables the selection of crops, and chemical and water applications within spatially similar land and soil zones.”

This can be done through digital mapping, using technologies such as drones and sensors to distinguish the type and characteristics of soil. Geospatial modeling (using statistical models of soil characteristics and topography) can be used to group together areas of landscape that have similar properties.

Together, this can help “sequester more carbon in agricultural ecosystems, conserve water and reduce chemical contamination in complex farming landscapes,” says Madramootoo.”

Reuters | Western states reach 'historic' deal to help save Colorado River

From the Article:

“The Colorado River Compact has long been problematic as it was agreed following an usually wet period, misleading signatories into believing more water was available to them.

The river has been further strained by rapid population growth and, in this century, a historic drought that - until this year's rains - threatened to drain reservoir levels below the intake valves that deliver water downstream and cut off hydroelectric production.

Entsminger said officials now acknowledge there will be less Colorado River water available in the 21st century than there was in the 20th.”

CivilEats | Climate Change Is Walloping US Farms. Can This Farm Bill Create Real Solutions?

From the Article:

““Over the past 12 years, it does feel like the seasons are getting less predictable,” said Emma Jagoz in early March at the Farmers for Climate Action: Rally for Resilience in D.C., where she held a hand-drawn sign decorated with beets and tomatoes.

As an organic grower focused on building healthy, carbon-holding soil, Jagoz’s climate activism may seem predictable. But the already-devastating impacts of more frequent extreme weather on farms, combined with calls for agriculture to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, have now pushed farmers and farm groups across the political spectrum into the climate change conversation.

On a few key issues, such as paying more farmers to use climate-friendly conservation practices, farm groups that don’t always agree—including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the National Farmers’ Union, and the American Farm Bureau Federation, a leading member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance—are now in accordance.”


Environmental Impact of Traditional Agriculture & Farming 


Profitability in Vertical Farming: Challenges and Solutions