Happy Earth Day!
In the produce industry, every day is earth day. From the farm to your kitchen and beyond, Naturipe Farms is a golden example of what it looks like to live sustainably, taking care of the one earth we have so others will be able to enjoy it for generations to come. They are industry leaders, and we are proud to call them a brand partner of The Produce Moms!
In true celebration of this day, there is no one better to gain knowledge from than Janic McIntosh, a true expert on all things sustainability, and the Director of Marketing Innovation and Sustainability at Naturipe Farms.
“In agriculture, it’s Earth Day everyday!” – Lori Taylor (33:12)
Naturipe was founded in 1917 in an effort to support local farmers. The term “local” has broadened in definition, as Naturipe has expanded into several regions of the country and into South America. While the area of influence has multiplied, the mission remains the same. Local growers bring local produce to your local grocery store, and Naturipe supports those efforts all along the way.
These farms grow strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and avocados, both organically and conventionally.
The farmers of Naturipe farms have been practicing sustainability for generations. They are the caretakers of the earth, and the practices they maintain have allowed them to continue to pass down their livelihood to their children, and their children’s children.
Janis’ work with Naturipe and the Berry Industry’s Berry Sustainable.
Janis has been working with Naturipe for the past 15 years, and she is passionate about sustainability. Naturipe is a very innovative brand, and has given ample room for Janis and other employees of Naturipe to be forward thinking in their efforts to take care of our planet. Her primary focus has been on produce packaging.
The Evolution of Berry Packaging.
In the 1990’s berry packaging moved away from those little green strawberry baskets and paper blueberry crates to the plastic clamshell packaging we see today. This one decision resolved many food safety issues and drastically reduced food waste that was incurred during transportation.
What many people don’t realize about those plastic containers is that it is made up almost entirely of post-consumer recycled plastic. In the midst of so much negative press regarding the use of plastic, it’s encouraging to see that, when used properly, plastic can be a benefit to sustainability.
“We have to continue to seek out, as consumers, products that are packaged with 100% recycled materials.” – Lori Taylor (23:05)
The “jam” in the system.
While this new packaging is recycled, and is ready to be recycled again, there has been one major issue. The paper label creates issues in the recycling plants, at time rendering the clamshell unrecyclable and sending it to landfills.
The Berry Industry’s Berry Sustainable initiative has created a solution. Plastic labels are being created that will make the recycling process a breeze!
Naturipe has partnered with competitors to help find the solution to this issue. By the year 2025 all berry farms will comply with the new packaging standards.
What an incredible example of coming together in unity to help make our world a better, cleaner, more sustainable place to live!
When big companies, like Nestle, begin implementing sustainability measures into their practices, the whole economy begins to transform. Local companies have the supply of recyclable goods that can be sold to the big companies, creating an incredibly beneficial closed-loop system!
Sustainability is more than just taking care of the earth and packaging.
Naturipe’s Cultivate with Care program also focuses on the local communities in which they farm. Initiatives like Charitable Giving Fund provide dental services, to, school lunch programs, trash pickup, and even providing a town in Chile with internet so the children would have access to educational resources.
How can we do our part?
Sustainability doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of big retail companies, local recycling plants, or companies like Naturipe. There are several things that we, as consumers and Produce Moms, can do to help!
“People don’t realize that part of the issue is that our recycling infrastructure is broken” – Janis McIntosh (17:30)
- Be educated on the products that should and should not be recycled.
- Be mindful of what you put into your recycling. There are often things that make it into recycling that don’t belong there. There are real people sorting through your recycling by hand in those plants.
- Be an advocate for recyclable goods.
- Use your voice! Contact your local recycling plant and urge them to recycle other things. They may be unaware of the changes happening in the industry that are making way for more products to be recycled.
- Look for the How2Recycle label.
- The How2Recycle movement is giving great instructions to help the public know how to recycle packaging. Look for the black and white label on packages, and visit their website to see who recycles what.
- Clean your recycling.
- This is a simple, but important thing you can do to help recycling efforts. Before you put packaging into recycling simply wipe it out. There is no need to wash, or even rinse, just a simple swipe with a cloth or paper towel will do! Remember, there are real people sorting through your recycling by hand.
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
- To learn more about the incredible work of Janis and Naturipe Farms visit their website here.
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Previous episodes you may enjoy
- Episode 94: Important Facts About COVID-19 and the Produce Industry with Ashley Nickle, Retail Editor for The Packer Newspaper and Editor in Chief for PMG
- Episode 93: All About Regenerative Agriculture with Renée Vassilos, The Nature Conservancy
- Episode 92: The Importance of School Meals with Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance
- Episode 91: The Future of Farming with Dr. Jenna Bell, Vice President of Nutritional Science for Crop One
- Episode 90: Frozen Non-Dairy Indulgence with Julie Podolec, Founder and CMO of Modern Pop