The world is facing a crisis with 30 percent of food produced ending up uneaten or discarded.
In Ireland, over one million tonnes of edible food is disposed of every year and our agriculture sector has a vital role to play in tackling the problem.
Inefficiencies in the agri-food chain can lead to reduced productivity and food loss, so measures to prevent it are important.
Meade Potato Company in Co Meath has zero food waste and has come up with some interesting ideas on how to address this global issue.
The family farm business is helping to develop a ‘gleaning’ network with community foodbank FoodCloud, a partner organisation for the EU’s Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in Ireland.
Gleaning is simply following harvesters in the field to gather leftover crops that are then donated to food charities.
“The amount of gleaned produce varies according to harvest conditions,” says business operations manager, Eleanor Meade.
However, a huge benefit is that it makes consumers aware of the importance of valuing food all along the supply chain, starting at the farm gate. And we have found gleaning is actually a great team-building activity.
Some Meade Potato Company produce is also sent to FoodCloud for re-distribution to people in need. Any produce not suitable for other markets is sent for stock feed.
“We are continually investing in more efficient production methods and co-products recovery; this is crucial from a sustainability point of view,” emphasizes Eleanor.
Meade Potato Company’s experience in reducing food waste could benefit farms around Ireland and Europe.
The farm has hosted an Agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) focus group, which disseminates knowledge on best practices in agriculture.
- Áiteanna an tionscadail
- Co. Meath, Ireland