Four Findings from the Carbon Summit Think Tank on Regenerative Agriculture and Food Waste

April 29, 2022

4 minutes, 24 seconds read

Four Findings from the Carbon Summit Think Tank on Regenerative Agriculture and Food Waste

“Grown In Idaho®” is the registered trademark Mercedes of potatoes. Idaho is known for their prized potatoes which are marketed as flufflier, crispier, and tastier than other potatoes. However, Idaho has been secretly importing crops from neighboring states to keep up with the ever growing demand due to low efficiency and yield from their farms. Low yield in farms despite great farming conditions is typically a result of soil degradation which extends beyond Idaho potatoes and affects global farms. 

This year’s Carbon Summit, a platform designed to identify, promote, and scale sustainable solutions, was held in Boise, ID and focused on regional sustainability and regenerative agriculture. A panelist of experts on agriculture and geology came together to discuss the current state of soil, how it impacts food production, and how we can mitigate the impact of global warming. Here are our four findings from Carbon Summit 2022 and how food waste will help change the future.

Jason Marmon, the Director of US Energy, kicked off the Think Tank with a series of burning questions. How would we approach the issue of low crop yield? Why was it happening? How does sustainability, food production, and food waste tie into each other? What moves could we make?

Though the slew of questions was initially overwhelming, Jason reminded us that these were issues affecting us around the world. We would have to create and drive solutions on a local level and drive them to a global scale. 

“The most valuable things in the world are time, treasure, and talent,” he said. “Some people are lucky and have all three, but you only need one to make a difference.”

Food is the common denominator of the world.

Soil degradation is a global problem that not only affects crop yield, but the entire food supply chain. Lower yields with a growing population result in higher prices across the food chain. This contributes to food insecurity and reduces the availability of fresh produce for all. As food becomes even more valuable and expensive to produce, food waste has increasingly negative consequences.

Adapt or die.

Gabe Brown, pioneer of the soil-health movement and one of the 25 most influential agricultural leaders in the United States, explained how multiple years of crop failure due to hail, drought, and bad weather led to him searching for a better solution.

“There’s nothing like realizing that my future is up to me,” Gabe admitted solemnly. “It was either find a way to successfully farm, or quit.” 

Education is the issue.

Sustainability in farming is no longer a question, but a form of survival. Traditional methods to increase productivity such as adding chemical and nitrogen fertilizers were no longer helping with the issue at hand. He found that the soil was not absorbing any of the chemicals which were bleeding into the neighboring water bodies and causing red algae bloom. He began talking to other farmers who had similar issues and realized that all of their soil lacked microbial activity and nutrients.

To restore the soil health, he used a combination of manure and composting coverage. Most importantly, he stopped tilling the land and using chemical fertilizers unless absolutely necessary.

This method was counterintuitive to the learnings that he had been taught growing up and in college. Gabe realized that the issue didn’t lie in the farmer, but with the education of sustainable practices. 

Sustainability is not intuitive. Successful implementation of sustainable practices requires education, reinforcement, and multiple conversations. The concept of food waste directly impacting global warming is also not intuitive and comes at a cost.

Adapt or die.

Jim Zamzow of KBOI 93.1FM & 670AM, Idaho Radio, joined the panelists to discuss water conservation, soil degradation, and how it all ties into food production and food waste. As a resident of Idaho, Jim is personally invested in seeing the success and development of Idaho’s soils for food production and ultimately the livelihood of Idaho.

When asked about how he felt about the changes suggested by the panelists, Jim boldly stated, “we go that way or we die.”

The concept of ‘adapt or die’ rings true for all businesses in every industry. Reducing your carbon footprint is a business imperative to remain relevant. Incorporating Scope 1, 2, and 3 emission reduction plans will help businesses find ways to optimize their operations. 

Contact Power Knot today to learn how diverting food waste from landfills helps with resource conservation, carbon footprint reduction, and positively impact businesses.

Power Knot was a sponsor of the Carbon Summit Think Tank and exhibited its solutions for helping farmers and food processors to properly dispose of their damaged, spoiled, or unusable waste. Whilst it may seem obvious to compost the organic waste, the food processors usually have neither the space nor the personnel to manage that. Therefore much of this organic waste is sent to landfills.

By using an LFC biodigester from Power Knot, food processors have been able to digest the waste on site and thereby preventing the harmful green house gasses that would otherwise be created had the waste ended up on a landfill. Further, those organizations with the land are filtering the waste water out of the LFC biodigester and using it for irrigation.