Environmental Protection

Calif. Central Valley Farmers Turn to Food Waste Fertilizer

In California's Central Valley, farmers are benefiting from what would otherwise be clogging up the local landfill -- source separated food waste. Converted Organics, a Boston-based manufacturer, is using state-of-the-art technologies to produce all-natural, organic soil amendments and fertilizer products that help grow healthier food and improve environmental quality.

More than 230 million tons of solid waste is produced in the United States each year, of which 25 million is food waste. Due to the difficult nature of composting food waste on a large scale, the majority of this waste is destined for landfills or incineration. Converted Organics technology transforms this food waste into a high-quality organic fertilizer, according to a Sept. 4 press release.

The company's products have been tested in numerous field trials for more than a dozen crops with the result that, on average, the net value of the farmer's crop increased 11-16 percent, depending on the particular crop and product application. This is due, in part, to the disease suppression characteristics of the product, which reduce or eliminate the need for other costly, often toxic, crop protection applications. As a result, use of the product reduces chemical run-off to streams, ponds, and rivers.

"Eighty percent of the product that we sell is to conventional farmers," says Mike Gursky, sales manager, Western Region. "Synthetic fertilizer prices are going through the roof due to high oil prices, which have really opened the door for organic products in the market."

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