Food Waste Metric Review
It’s estimated that in New York City alone an individual person produces about 746 pounds of waste a year. That number alone warrants concern on how we live and operate our day to day. Now apply that number to larger scale companies, and specifically food companies. Between regulated food processes, food safety, and overall consumer culture the food industry produces about 119 billion pounds of waste in the U.S. That’s more than $408 billion dollars of food thrown out every year.
At Green Top Farms, we're in no way perfect, but we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of those practices in case it's informative or helps anyone build better systems. From the moment we begin the recipe development process, the team is considering how we can use every part of a vegetable or repurpose & incorporate what we’ve got in house into a dish.
In the kitchen, we look to avoid waste at the prep stage by doing things like including the skin on veg (to increase the nutritional value). For byproducts we can't avoid, we're constantly trying to be creative and utilize it where it makes sense. Many of the schools we work with love broccoli florets in their students' meals, leaving us with leaves and stalks that are then turned into a base for all kinds of great soups. Extra milk is almost unavoidable with the requirements of a school meal, and at Green Top it can become anything from rich yogurt, to buttermilk, to lemon curd to preserve it longer and avoid it going into the trash.
On site, Green Top prioritizes headcount estimation among our clients, be it schools or offices, paying close attention to patterns in on-site attendance, eating habits, and popular items. On a daily basis, anything extra is logged, refining how we order and scale our menus in the days, weeks, and months to come. If after all that planning there's still a surplus, our friends at Replate pick up and donate any excess meals directly to local non-profits, like the Bowery Mission downtown who's been serving the community since the 1870s!
Whether it’s internally, with our clients, or with partnerships we try to be honest with ourselves on how we’re handling waste and implement processes that will mitigate our impact as a food producing company as much as possible. We’ve got work to do every day to perfect our food waste footprint, but we’re proud of what we do now and look forward to implementing new programs this year.