Ag-Mart Produce starts recycling program

Ag-Mart Produce, Plant City, Fla., has adopted a program to recycle plastic sheet mulching from its tomato fields, said Kevin Delaney, director of sustainability and productivity at Ag-Mart.

“Instead of sending tons and tons of plastic to the landfill, we’re finding vendors who will take it in,” Delaney said.

“It’s cost-effective, because you don’t have to pay to dump it, and it’s good for the environment.”

CPMA joins Canadian sustainability study

A consulting group approached the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Ottawa, about doing a Canadian industry study to determine awareness and priorities regarding sustainability, and CPMA plans to participate in the study as it proceeds, said Dan Dempster, president.

C.H. Robinson develops sustainability video

C.H. Robinson Co., Eden Prairie, Minn., is working on a video about its corporate sustainability program, said Bud Floyd, vice president of produce marketing.

The video should be released sometime in late January or early February.

Food Lion opens first ‘green’ store

Food Lion LLC, Salisbury, N.C., has opened its first environmentally friendly location, in Columbia, S.C.

The store was designed to LEED Silver specifications, and is predicted to consume 20% less energy than other stores and conserve 44% more water.

The location features high-efficiency lighting that dims as more natural sunlight is let in the store. The store also has a cascade-style carbon dioxide refrigeration system designed by Hill Phoenix.

OK Produce switches to greener vehicles

OK Produce, Fresno, Calif., has reached a 95% recycle rate for internal waste, said Brady Matoian, chief exective officer.
The wholesaler also has seven hybrid cars in its sales fleet (out of nine cars), he said.

The company is looking at natural gas delivery trucks when it makes its next purchase, Matoian said.

“Hybrids aren’t there yet. If and when they become available we’ll be looking into that.”

ShopRite Supermarkets powers store by sunlight

A ShopRite Supermarkets location in Garwood, N.J., has added 1,024 solar panels, according to a news release.

The rooftop panels will produce about 303,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and reduce emissions by 200 tons a year.

The electricity will be used primarily to power in-store refrigeration and lighting. ShopRite is owned by Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.

Sweetbay Supermarkets saves energy in store

Sweetbay Supermarkets, which is owned by Delhaize Group, recently opened an eco-friendly store in Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The store features motion sensors that turn on lights activated by shoppers strolling past. The store, which features pull-down curtains that cover up open-air shelves after the store closes, is applying for LEED certification.

The store expects to save 20% to 30% in electricity costs and 40% in water when compared to more conventional locations, according to a news release.

Terra Linda Farms uses compost on fields

Terra Linda Farms, Riverdale, Calif., has increased compost production by using cull onions, said Joe Coelho, partner. The compost blend is enough for about half the firm’s acreage so far.

“Our fertilizer outlays have been reduced because of it. We’re making healthier crops because of it,” Coelho said.

Sustainability conference builds on United Fresh

A one-day conference focused on produce sustainability will follow United Fresh 2010.

The Global Conference on Produce Sustainability is April 23 at the Palazzo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Registration is included with the show’s all access pass, or can be purchased separately.

“The Bayer endowment for the Center for Global Produce Sustainability, allows us, through United, to touch the entire produce chain, from growers to receivers, and this conference is a key part of bringing people together on this important subject,” said Jim Lemke, senior vice president of produce for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson, and chairman of United Fresh.

United intends to announce a new director for the center by February, as well as discuss goals for the first couple of years of the center, he said.