The goal of the Whole Crop Harvest initiative is to discover ways to recover and utilize produce that would otherwise not leave the field or packing shed.
This position offers work with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems with a graduate student research project studying losses in vegetable crop in North Carolina.
The grant work will focus on two types of unharvested produce: cosmetically imperfect (does not meet USDA #1 standards for scarring, size, or shape, but is otherwise edible); and produce that meets USDA #1 standards but is left in the field because harvesting costs exceed the market price of the produce. Figuring out how to "recover" this otherwise wasted produce can both improve growers' bottom line and make our food system more efficient and sustainable..
At NC State, horticultural science graduate student Lisa Johnson is shedding light on farm-level food losses and taking the first steps toward reducing them.
By now, the 40% of food that’s wasted in the US is a widely accepted figure. However, the calculations behind it leave out a very important part of the food system: farm-level food waste.