This has become a very popular topic recently that we don’t talk about very much. We’ve been working diligently to reduce food waste at Fair Shares over the years through a number of concerted efforts. Right off the bat, we have significantly less waste than a regular grocery store because we have a good idea of how much produce our members will actually buy through their share commitments.
Secondly, we also have very precise temperature controls because of the zoned walk-in that was funded through our USDA grant (Can’t beat the Tomato Cave for keeping fragile veggies happy). This has allowed us to purchase more precisely because we have significantly less waste – especially with heirloom tomatoes. Before this year we had to toss a large quantity of heirlooms every summer because they would spoil before reaching the customer.
Thirdly, we have been actively composting for about 5 years now. The food that does go bad gets broken down and eventually ends up in our flower pots. This has removed thousands of tons of rotten food from the waste stream over the years, and significantly reduced the ecological impact of our farmers, our members, and our company.
Here’s an interesting read from the Smithsonian Magazine about how food waste relates to water waste: