A just-launched strategic alliance of major food industry leaders is joining forces to repurpose food waste with the goal of better protecting our planet.

Yesterday, Vanguard Renewables — a renewable energy company — announced that Starbucks, Unilever and Dairy Farmers of America will join them in attempting to achieve aggressive decarbonization and climate targets.

This brand new Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (FPSA) aims to significantly decrease food waste and repurpose what can’t be eliminated into renewable energy. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 30-40 percent of the food supply ends up being discarded.

While eliminating food waste in the first place should be a top priority, according to the FPSA, another problem nationwide is that unavoidable food waste is usually sent to landfills or incinerators; instead, this should be repurposed to produce renewable energy, says the FPSA.

The group plans to convert unavoidable food waste into renewable energy using the Vanguard Renewables anaerobic digesters, which are located on farms.


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Another plus — farmers say repurposing the food waste into renewable energy offers family farms a diversified income stream.

“If you’re just going to milk cows or grow lettuce, that’s really hard because it’s cyclical,” says Peter Melnik of Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in a statement. “A lot of dairies have been really struggling; the farm powered anaerobic digester has been an important part of making our farm sustainable.”

“The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is an impactful solution to tackling both food waste and carbon emissions,” says Starbucks Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori, in a statement. “We’ve made great strides in eliminating food waste at the store level with our Starbucks Foodshare program, which has helped divert 25 million meals from landfills. The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance offers an innovative solution for our supply chain, and brings us one step closer to our goal of a resource positive future.”

The FPSA is expected to expand over the next year to include many other major food industry leaders, according to John Hanselman, Chairman and CEO of Vanguard Renewables.

“We plan to expand our organics recycling facility footprint to all major metro areas nationwide,” says Hanselman.

Hanselman tells Changing America, “The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is the product of a convergence of several important factors. It's the demand by customers, regulators, and Wall Street to see corporate community members making definitive business modifications for climate change reduction. And, it is the efficacy of carbon negative renewable natural gas replacing fossil fuel.”


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Published on Dec 11, 2020