Having talked so much about food wastage and how to reduce it over the past few weeks, it’s inevitable that the spotlight would fall onto us. Indeed, the topic of food wastage is an issue we hold dear to our hearts here at Quan Fa Organic. (See also: The Dirty Truth, Scraps That Matter, Picking Up The Pieces, and Food For Thought)
Statistics have shown that at least 12-25% of food wastage occurs during the pre-harvesting and harvesting phase of farming (Read: Scraps That Matter). Being a vegetable farm and partaking in the harvesting to production stages of farming, Quan Fa Organic definitely sees some wastage as well. However, we have done our best to minimize this as much as we can.
Pre-harvesting and Harvesting Waste
Prior to harvesting produce, plants have to be regularly weeded to ensure the health of the whole batch of crops. When machines are used to weed out crops, wastage occurs due to not only the ‘rough’ handling of the machines, but also their inaccuracy.
While we are not stating that machines are inaccurate in picking out weeds, what we really mean is that machines can never have as good of a ‘soft touch’ as you can get from humans. Machines may also at times agitate healthy crops during the process and causing more wastage than needed.
At Quan Fa, we go it the traditional way – we do everything by hand. We trust our farmers to know what to weed out and how to weed it out as gently as possible without harming the rest of the crops.
If you think that the contribution of food wastage by farms end there, you are terribly wrong! Waste goes on to happen in the post-harvesting stages of farming, which include processing, packaging and selling.
The owners of farms are business owners afterall. After the crops are harvested, the produce is processed in another ‘weeding’ process. This time, what are weeded out aren’t the rotten ones but only those that don’t look health and beautiful enough. Stuff like bug holes, browning, different sizes, etc. are considered to be below standard.
In fact, ensuring the aesthetic ‘beauty’ of the produce contributes to the highest percentage on unwarranted food wastage during the farming process. Tons of edible vegetables get thrown away just because they don’t look ‘good enough’.
Organic farms typically do not contribute to this segment as much as conventional farms. For seasoned organic produce supporters, it is common knowledge that the produce are not expected to look as aesthetically pleasing as other produce that have chemicals injected into them.
Likewise at Quan Fa Organic, we are not too much bothered by the aesthetic value of our produce. We put more emphasis on their nutritional value and the health of our consumers. Again, we do everything by hand. We trust our people to know what to take out and what to leave behind to minimize wastage.
Little To No Waste
We are not denying that there is no ‘wastage’ going on at our farms, but at Quan Fa Organic, we are dedicated to minimizing this waste as best we can. And how, you ask? Through our unique compost system!
Developed from a Japanese (Takahama) technique, our compost system uses a unique culturing medium that not only eliminates odors of the raw materials, but also produces nutrient-rich organic debris. (See also: Why We Love Compost)
The secret lies in what goes into our compost – and it doesn’t take much to guess where we’re going with this! Remember the weeds from the pre-harvesting and harvesting phases? Yes, those go into the compost.
What about the secondary ‘weeding’ process that takes place during the packaging stages? That too! We might take out one or two leaves from our produce during packaging, but they are definitely not wasted! They go back into our compost, which contributes to the health of our organic soil and eventually, the other crops that sprout out of it.
Quan Fa Organic is constantly looking for ways to recycle and reduce food wastage down to its bare minimum. We believe it is our duty and responsibility as an organic farm and our mission to be as environmentally friendly as possible!
Images from liveearthfarm.net, 123rf.com, recyclenow.com