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The Circular Economy: Foodies and Natural Living Advocates Join the Conversation

Recyclers are typically known for driving the circular economy: e.g. putting things back to use instead of to the landfill. At Harvest, we’ve noticed a trend in the media signaling that foodies and health conscious folks are increasingly shaping the conversation. Here are four reasons why this might be happening.

Targeting wasted food saves money and resources.

Folks in the restaurant industry know that, in the United States, 40% of the food we produce is going to waste (see Wasted! video, below). Targeting this dumpster-bound material by with the classic three R’s – reducing it (aligning supply with demand with data-driven programs such as LeanPath), reusing it (see this clever reuse of food waste in ice cream), or recycling it (composting) – saves costs and resources. Foodie and columnist Andy Clurfeld spurred her restauranteer readers to do just this in NJ Monthly’s article, “Waste Not: Pro Chef, Home Cook – Everyone Can Compost.

 

Good soil grows yummier food.

By recycling organics back to the earth, it improves the soil which enhances the crop’s flavor. Increasingly, restaurants have direct relationships with local sources of produce and protein. Those same farms that provide veggies can then possibly take in the veggie scraps for composting. Compost begets healthier soil, which yields stronger, tastier veggies. It’s a full circle of win win wins.

People care about safe and clean environments.

Speaking of circles, the apt phrase “What goes around comes around” comes into play when we’re talking about organic waste and healthy soil. Compost helps eliminate the bad, and helps boost the good. As Harvest recently contributed to a New England publication:

Did you know that in one teaspoon of living soil there are 100 million to 1 billion bacteria? These bacteria act like an enormous, microscopic, hungry army that metabolizes surrounding materials. Similar to if you surrounded yourself with a robust community of diverse individuals that supported your growth, compost is like a mini ecosystem party. The billions of microorganisms in each teaspoon of compost mentioned earlier in this article help regulate the soil, suppress disease, and discourage pests. It’s a small, wild world teeming with life, and compost helps the good guys keep playing all season long.

Read the full article, “Soil as a Gateway for Eliminating Toxins” in Natural Nutmeg.

Food waste is the epicenter of energy, nutrients, and innovation.

Recently, Edible Orlando columnist Marta Madigan took a tour of Harvest’s Energy Garden in Orlando, Florida. In the resulting article she describes the transformation of regional food scraps into clean energy and class AA granular fertilizer. With this facility, Central Florida is at the forefront of innovation.

Do you consider yourself a foodie or a health nut? What’s your interaction with food waste?

Harvest Named to Global Cleantech 100 for Sixth Year in a Row!

2015_GlobalCleantech100_eBadge_Top100_071415This week Harvest is abuzz at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco.  On Monday night, Harvest was named to the 2015 Cleantech 100; CEO Christian Kasper took the stage to accept the recognition. Then, on Tuesday afternoon he convenes with other leaders in the industry to discuss the circular economy and future opportunities. This is the sixth year in a row that Harvest Power has been recognized by the Cleantech Group for its contributions to the cleantech community.

We are honored. See the entire list of 100 companies.

Disney World’s biogas facility: a model for converting food waste into energy

guardianGuardian Sustainable Business, “Disney World’s biogas facility: a model for converting food waste into energy,” by Marc Gunther

 

The circular economy at Disney World may not be as pretty as Cinderella’s Castle, but this process for turning organic waste into energy, which is known as anaerobic digestion, could turn out to be the best way to extract value from food scraps and treated sewage that would otherwise wind up in a landfill.

 

“We’re able to turn all of the waste stream into productive products,” says Kathleen Ligocki, the chief executive of Harvest Power, a venture capital-funded clean-tech company that built the Florida facility. “This is our goal – pumpkins to power, waste to wealth.”