Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags , ,

Santa Rosa expands ability to treat grease, food waste at sewer plant

Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A massive crane lifted the last of four large silver tanks into place at Santa Rosa’s wastewater treatment plant last week, a major milestone in the city’s $3 million effort to turn tough-to-treat waste into energy and save local businesses money in the process.
The new equipment at the city’s Llano Road plant isn’t much to look at. The four 10,000-gallon tanks sitting on a concrete pad are not unlike the steel tanks found in typical breweries and wineries in the area.
But when they go into operation in April, the towering cauldrons will contain a far more potent brew — thousands of gallons of stuff typically too nasty to send down the sewers, including fats, oils, grease, food waste and slaughterhouse slime.
Currently, those and other high-strength wastes are trucked from North Coast restaurants, wineries, breweries and food producers to Oakland, where they are turned into energy at the treatment facilities at the massive East Bay Municipal Utility District.
But by building its own high-strength receiving and storage station, Santa Rosa hopes to treat that waste locally, turn it into biogas to keep the plant’s power costs down, and save local businesses significant transportation costs.
Read more at: Santa Rosa expands ability to treat grease, food | The Press Democrat

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Climate Change & Energy, Sustainable Living, TransportationTags , , , Leave a comment on Hey Mr. Green, should I care how far my food travels?

Hey Mr. Green, should I care how far my food travels?

Bob Schildgen, SIERRA
Hey Mr. Green,
I hear that agriculture and food transportation take a whopping amount of energy, and therefore contribute to global warming. If so, what can we do about it?
–Janet in Jacksonville, Florida
Locavores complain that agribusiness burns way too much energy. Growing food, however, takes less of the total U.S. energy budget–about 2 percent–than processing and packaging it. And surprisingly, given all the fretting about food miles, food transportation requires only 0.5 percent of our total energy, and half that much comes not from big rigs barreling down the interstate but from shoppers driving to and from stores and restaurants. A car on a four-mile round-trip to fetch 50 pounds of groceries uses 300 times more fuel per pound per mile than a semi does.
Increased reliance on fast foods and commercially prepared meals adds to food-related energy use, because it requires more transportation and replaces manual labor with machines. But the biggest food-related energy drain is in your own home: Refrigeration, cooking, dishwashing, and disposal consume a third of the energy in the food system.
Here’s how to reduce your dinner’s energy content: (1) cut down on heavily processed, excessively packaged food and get back to basics, which will help farmers (who once received nearly 50 cents of every food dollar and now get only 17 cents, thanks to the increased share taken by processors, packagers, and marketers); (2) bike, walk, carpool, or take public transit to food stores; (3) avoid fast foods and eat out less; (4) get efficient Energy Star-approved appliances; (5) grow your own produce if possible; and (6) do like Grandma said: Clean your plate and don’t waste so dern much. Annually, 34 million tons of food waste ends up in dumps, creating the greenhouse gas methane and wasting the energy it took to produce it. –Bob Schildgen
via Hey Mr. Green, Should I Care How Far My Food Travels? | Sierra Club.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on CropMobster shares the harvest

CropMobster shares the harvest

Rachel Dovey, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

http://www.cropmobster.com/

Nick Papadopoulos is a farmer now, but he has a professional background in conflict resolution. So, standing in a vegetable cooler on a Saturday night last March, surrounded by surplus produce that hadnt been sold, his mind began to wander.

"We had all this food that wasnt going to people," the general manager of Bloomfield Farms in Petaluma recalls. "Its edible and its grown for the purpose of feeding people, and we dont make any money when its wasted."

Later that week, he posted a message on Facebook advertising farmers market leftovers at a reduced price. That was the beginning of CropMobster.com, a social media hub addressing local farm waste and hunger—both issues hinging on a centralized, assembly-line food system that, according to Papadopoulos, is full of holes.

via Harvest Share | Dining | North Bay Bohemian.