“When we were introduced to the food loss calculations developed by Dr. Johnson, we were concerned about how time consuming the process would take. However, after performing the collection and analysis process multiple times in one season, we were able to see the power of how the data could be used to help make management changes in personnel and planting schedules. Using our existing farms, we were able to extract the amount of tomatoes left on the bush and split them between marketable, edible, and inedible categories.
We were then able to do a comparison against which harvest crew performed the final pass through the field and see how they performed. In one case, we were able to see that a newer/less experienced crew left nearly four times the volume of tomatoes as compared to a more experienced crew, just in one field over! This helped make our farming management team realize that we could still harvest more, but we were limited by the amount of crew we had.
The success of looking at metrics, particularly in food loss, helped show management that "doing it the same way that has been done in the past" is not the most efficient manner. The data also shows there are opportunities for us to reach out to other outlets to help get the crop to where it was meant to go: the people.”
“Lisa’s research has changed the scope of what we understood to be available. We were working under the assumption that there was about 100 million pounds available within the state, and we were doing a good job of working towards that. We now understand that there’s enough produce available, just at the farm level, to feed every hungry or food insecure person in the state of North Carolina, three servings of produce every day. Just by what’s left in the field. And we take that as a challenge.
Our mission is to address hunger in North Carolina. And this gives us a great base of understanding of what we can do. We focus on fresh produce particularly at the farm level and to know that we can make a significant difference in the lives of hungry people in North Carolina, just by doing what we’ve been doing, becomes a great challenge. Now, the great goal is to capture all of it, to find it, to distribute it, to get it from where it is in the field, to the people that need it, and that’s the work that we’re undertaking. So, it’s changed our dream from being something that’s nice and wonderful and making an impact to something that can really change the shape of hunger issues for disadvantaged people throughout the state.”
"World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has worked with Lisa Johnson for three years, employing her both as an advisor and a researcher in post-harvest loss work-streams, publishing her findings as a part of the No Food Left Behind report series.
She is truly an expert in measuring post-harvest loss of specialty crops and has a good grounding in the challenges associated with measurement. She has great rapport with farmers and can build trust quickly. Most currently, WWF has adopted her in-field measurement protocol, as well as calculating the economic opportunity to rescuing surplus, as two components of a newly developed food loss metric to be included into the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops' sustainability metrics.
Although Lisa has reached incredibly high academic achievements, her ability to modify her work to the grower audience is what sets her apart. It has been such a pleasure working with Lisa Johnson."