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US vegetable grower expands composting program

Duncan Family Farms, a grower of organic baby lettuces and greens, kales and herbs, with operations in Arizona, California, Oregon and New York, is actively expanding its innovative composting program. Developed at the company’s Goodyear, AZ location decades ago and one of the largest privately-run operations of its kind in the Southwestern U.S., the program is now being replicated at other Duncan Family Farms growing sites around the country.

The composting initiative turns a variety of materials otherwise destined for the landfill into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. This includes municipal tree trimmings, farm animal manure and pre-consumer food waste. Duncan Family Farms uses the naturally-derived compost to enrich the soil on the acreage that it farms. The program is diverting roughly 8,000 tons of green waste from the landfill annually in Goodyear, AZ and another 2,000 tons annually in Santa Barbara County in California as just two examples.

"We’re very passionate about our composting program because it has such a positive impact on the communities where we grow, on our operations, and for the customers we serve," said Jeremy Vanderzyl, Technical Services Manager for Duncan Family Farms. We’re keeping material out of landfills, turning it into a wholesome soil amendment protecting our operations from potentially disruptive third-party compost shortages, and giving consumers the highest quality produce on the market."

Duncan Family Farms develops the compost and incorporates it into parcels of land in a prescriptive manner, matching the makeup of the material to the specific needs of the soil. The company intends to leverage the on-site nature of the composting program to give it a competitive advantage in working acreage in areas that might be considered too remote by other growers.

"Our composting program continues to expand and has really become a pillar of our organic growing operation," added Vanderzyl. "From providing organic sustainability for our existing acreage to helping us rehab fields we’ve acquired that were previously depleted of critical soil fertility, the compost we produce is delivering some truly remarkable results for our company and our customers."

Patty Emmert 
Duncan Family Farms
Tel: 623-853-9880

Publication date: 12/4/2017



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