June 25, 2013
Greener Fields Together Documents National Farm Partners' Sustainability Gains
Just nine months after its official launch in October 2012, Green Fields Together, a groundbreaking sustainability and local produce initiative created by the PRO*ACT produce supply-chain management company, has documented sustainability improvements made by four of its national farm partners. Detailed case studies, compiled by independent verification service SureHarvest, confirm that the Greener Fields Together goal of collaborating to effect steady, measurable improvements in sustainability through all levels of the supply chain is being realized.
The case studies, available in full on www.greenerfieldstogether.org, evaluate and verify strides made by Sunkist Growers Inc., NewStar Fresh Foods, Taylor Farms California Inc. and Naturipe.
- Sunkist Growers, Inc. in 2012 was awarded Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) certification for its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of packaging produced at its Ontario, Calif., manufacturing plant. By sourcing 100% SFI-certified materials for the production of its cartons, Sunkist supports forests managed to promote biodiversity and sustainable harvesting methods. Sunkist also uses water-based ink and corn-based adhesives to produce its cartons, which are uncoated, fully recyclable and made from 65% recycled content.
- NewStar Fresh Foods has implemented a water-conservation program at its Mexicali, Mexico operations. Some 600 of its 2,000 acres there have been converted to drip irrigation and other water-saving techniques have been implemented, as well. NewStar expects to use 50% less water per carton of product harvested on the drip-irrigated acres.
- Taylor Farms California Inc. has made significant upgrades to its refrigeration and lighting systems at their processing facility in Salinas, Calif. Taylor Farms realized annual energy savings of 1.74 million kWh, enough to power 151 U.S. households per year. In total a 10% reduction in total energy consumption has since been realized and improvements are ongoing.
- Naturipe applies Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control Lygus bug, a major pest for California strawberries. IPM is an effective and environmentally sound approach to pest management that allows the natural ecosystem to keep Lygus bugs in check by enhancing the natural habitat and promoting beneficial plants around the farm. The program reduces pest populations and crop damage, results in fewer resistance problems, less overall pesticide use and more high-quality fruit.
"We're proud to share independently verified progress being made by our Greener Fields Together national farm partners,” says Max Yeater, president of PRO*ACT. "These companies are well known for the quality of the products behind their brands. Their commitment to grow and package those products in ever-more sustainable ways is impressive. Through SureHarvest and Greener Fields Together, we will continue to track and celebrate the role they're playing in creating a more environmentally friendly, sustainable produce supply chain.”
About Greener Fields Together: Greener Fields Together is a collaboration of environmentally responsible parties, including farmers, distributors, retail locations and foodservice operators, who have come together to make steady, measurable improvements in sustainability and food safety practices through all levels of the produce supply chain.
For more information on Greener Fields Together, visit www.greenerfieldstogether.org
About PRO*ACT: PRO*ACT is North America's leading distributor of fresh produce, sourcing from premier national, regional and local farmers. PRO*ACT streamlines the produce supply chain, offering significant cost benefits and an easy, one-call solution to source the freshest produce from more than 70 third-party inspected, independently owned, local distribution centers across the United States and Canada. PRO*ACT provides category cost management through commodity contract pricing, in-house consultation services and integrated produce program distribution management.