Meet the Gleaners, combing farm fields to feed the newly hungry
Cites my research
What the ugly produce debate gets wrong and what it gets right
2019 Could be the year we stop throwing away ridiculous amounts of food
California families at risk for hunger - while a third of crops left to rot on farms
Colorado farmers can't get their food to the table. One startup wants to lend hands.
We waste a lot of food. These people are doing something about it.
The food that never left the farm.
Interview on Detroit, MI radio show Food for Thought. The importance of measuring waste in the field.
August 2019 cover story: Are you leaving money in the field?
Turn field losses into profits.
Abstract of Chapter 5: Produce Loss and Waste in Agricultural Production
Food lost in primary production represents an opportunity to increase yield, and potentially profit for growers, but is often overlooked as it has not incurred the environmental and economic costs that have accelerated the effort to reduce food waste. Recently, definitions of food loss have begun to include crops that are intended for human consumption and mature in the field, but are not harvested, rather than tracking losses beginning at the farm gate. Losses of mature, edible produce crops fall broadly into two categories: products which do not meet buyer specifications for quality, and production exceeding demand, or surplus. The drivers that influence the volume of losses in the field can often be found in other portions of the supply chain, such as retail and foodservice distribution. Adding to what is known about losses through qualitative study, studies in the US and other developed countries using measurement in the field show that losses may be higher than previously estimated. Working towards the prevention and recovery of on-farm food losses may hold the potential to improve public health, lessen the environmental burden of farming, and improve the economic resiliency of farms.
Introduction to Chapter 9: Food loss on the farm: Lessons learned from conversations with produce growers
Fruit and vegetable producers have dealt with the issue of “loss” long before food loss and waste became popularized as a social problem in need of an organized solution. Potential yield loss begins with the seed or transplant stage and grows in economic magnitude through the production cycle as additional inputs—labor, machine use, chemicals—are applied. Understanding how farmers manage loss on the farm is a necessary first step in designing effective strategies to mitigate that loss. In this chapter, we discuss farm-level loss from the viewpoint of mid- to largescale
produce growers. The discussion is based on the authors’ successful engagement with North Carolina vegetable growers for a research and extension project on farm-level loss (Johnson, 2018; Johnson et al., 2018a; Johnson et al., 2018b; Whole Crop Harvest, 2018). We discuss the major factors that influence growers’ harvest decisions and impact the loss of mature product in the field, and we provide recommendations for working with growers. The chapter begins with a clarification
of terms and prior research on farm-level produce loss, and then focuses
on growers’ key decision points during harvest and factors influencing these.
For more in-depth details of opportunities to improve profit in specialty crop production, check out these academic publications. Love data and analysis, need a reference, or enjoy charts and graphs? This list is for you.
Farmer harvest decisions: growers decide to harvest or not; growers' solutions to reduce food loss (pdf)Download
Overview of eight southeastern vegetable crops, showing how much is left unharvested in fields (pdf)Download
Detailed method used for estimating on-farm food loss in vegetable crops (pdf)Download
Putting dollars to waste: Economic analysis showing that it can be worthwhile to harvest (pdf)Download
How-to guide for sampling and estimating losses in vegetable crops in the field (pdf)Download