The contributions of U.S. dairy farmers to reducing food waste and generating renewable energy are featured in National Geographic’s special “Food of the Future” series.
In “Harvesting the Potential of a Nation’s Leftover Food,” Erin Fitzgerald describes how dairies are using anaerobic digesters to reduce the nation’s massive food waste and produce "green" power.
“There are other ways we can get the most from the food we produce and help nourish the growing population here and around the world,” writes Fitzgerald, a senior vice president at Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “Instead of throwing it away, we can find creative ways to use leftovers, share what is left with those in need, and any waste beyond that should go back to the land base where nutrients can help replenish soil fertility to grow more food.”
Featured in the article is the Jordan Dairy Farm of Rutland, Mass., the first dairy farm in the state to use anaerobic digester technology. Brothers Randy and Brian Jordan receive byproducts and organic food waste from local sources, including HP Hood & Sons, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Kayem Foods, and Cains Foods. The farm puts 25% cow manure and 75% organic food waste into its anaerobic digester, generating enough electricity every day to power 134 homes.
Future of Food is a special long-term project through which National Geographic is exploring the topic of feeding a booming population and covering the complex issues surrounding food around the world.