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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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food waste

Vermont’s Intervale Center’s Food Rescue Provides Fresh Produce for Methadone Clinic Patients

January 7, 2016 |
Gleaning baskets ready to be picked up by recipients. Photo credit Abby-Portman

Gleaning baskets ready to be picked up by recipients.
Photo credit Abby-Portman

The Intervale Center of Vermont, founded in 1988, has a long history of addressing food issues in the Burlington community. So when the University of Vermont Medical Center reached out to the Intervale Center to create a pilot program to provide farm fresh food acquired through food waste recovery to patients in its methadone clinic, the partnership was a natural one.

Treating those overcoming addiction requires a holistic approach, much like remediating food systems, says Travis Marcotte, Executive Director of the Intervale Center. As former users tackle the road to recovery, they might not have the resources to access healthy food. The clinic wanted to change this. Because many patients do better in treatment when provided with healthier food choices, the Intervale Center began delivering a weekly batch of fresh produce to the clinic’s waiting room, along with recipes and suggestions on how to prepare the vegetables. Read More

18 Ways to Eat Sustainably in 2016

December 28, 2015 |
Windowsill herb garden. Credit: Davina Inman

Windowsill herb garden. Credit: Davina Inman

Getting ready to put together those New Years’ resolutions? If eating more sustainably is among them, here’s a quick guide to get you started

1. Can, freeze and dehydrate all year.

Put up foods like berries and summery fruits and veggies throughout the year instead of buying them out of season. This way you can still cook with local foods even in the dead of winter. Save money by patronizing you-pick farms for berries and vegetables in the summer; apples, pears and pumpkins in the fall. Read More

‘School Slop’: A New Kind of Animal Feed Links School Waste with a Local Farm in Northern Michigan

December 21, 2015 |
Chickens on Lord & Lady Farm. Courtesy of Laura Cavendish, co-owner of Lord & Lady Farm

Chickens on Lord & Lady Farm. Courtesy of Laura Cavendish, co-owner of Lord & Lady Farm

At a Northport, Michigan farm. livestock are getting a different feast every day. One day it might be salad remnants and pizza crusts, another may see leftover soup.

That’s because a nearby public school has instituted a new system in which all food waste is given to the chickens and pigs at Lord and Lady Farm. Food items that once headed to a landfill are now re-entering the food chain in the form of animal feed. Or as farmer Laura Cavendish calls it, “school food slop.” Read More

Seattle Company Unveils Commercial Food Waste-to-Energy System

November 30, 2015 |
HORSE system. Photo courtesy of Impact-Bioenergy.

HORSE system. Photo courtesy of Impact Bioenergy.

A newly minted portable food waste digester hopes to revolutionize small-to-medium scale kitchen operations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The system, called HORSE (High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electrical output), looks to fill demand for small, affordable food waste digester technology. Designed by Seattle-based company Impact Bioenergy  for use in campuses, restaurants and municipalities, the system uses biomimicry to process food waste into natural gas that can be stored for 24 hours.

The HORSE system can produce hot water, heat and electricity, and comes equipped with three kinds of odor control in the form of a biofilter, charcoal filter and an atomizing misting system. It also contains extra controls for fire pits and barbecues. According to Jan Allen, President of Impact Bioenergy, great effort was taken to make HORSE compatible with an urban environment. The unit boasts exterior lighting and a pleasing facade. Read More

Food Retailers, Agriculture Industry, and Charitable Organizations Support First National Goal to Reduce Food Waste by 50 Percent by 2030

September 22, 2015 |

post_usdalogoNEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2015 — Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the United States’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. As part of the effort, the federal government will lead a new partnership with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation’s natural resources. The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices, including sustainable production and consumption. Read More

Food Waste to Energy: Louisville, Kentucky Food Hub Plans Onsite Power Plant

February 4, 2015 |
Image courtesy of

Seed Capital Kentucky

A food hub is in the works for the west side of Louisville, Kentucky, but it’s no ordinary food hub. Organizers also envision an onsite power plant, consisting of an anaerobic digester that would turn waste into methane gas.

The West Louisville Food Hub is a project of Seed Capital Kentucky,  a nonprofit focused on bolstering the regional food and agricultural economy in the state. The project is still in the fundraising phase. Targeted completion date is early 2016, says project director Caroline Heine. The planned anaerobic digester will be built by Nature’s Methane, a Star Distributed Energy company. Read More

From Farm to Fork and Back Again: New California Law Seeks to Close Food Waste Loop

January 19, 2015 |
California State Capitol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

California State Capitol. Source: Wikimedia Commons

California’s regulations governing organic food waste became more stringent on September 28, 2014, as Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1826 into law.  The law requires commercial generators of food waste to have it composted or transformed to energy via anaerobic digestion.

One of the main impetuses for AB 1826, according to San Francisco Department of the Environment commercial zero waste senior coordinator Jack Macy, is keeping organic waste out of landfills. Read More

Waste Not, Want Not: 7 Innovative Organizations Turning Excess into Aid

December 7, 2014 |
Student volunteers with Campus Kitchens Project deliver food to the needy. (photo courtesy of Linda Kurtz/Campus Kitchens Project)

Student volunteers with Campus Kitchens Project deliver food to the needy. (photo courtesy of Linda Kurtz/Campus Kitchens Project)

Virtually every major city has a food pantry to help the needy, but some food aid organizations are raising the sustainability bar by putting excess food and food waste to good use.

Many offer culinary training programs and others use algorithms to match excess food with those who need it, but the common denominator of the following organizations is that they turn food waste into food aid for those who desperately need it. Read More