How one Florida Produce Distributor has been "sustainable from the beginning"
Finding products that are locally grown can be a hassle for many people while they are walking the isles at the grocery store.
Fortunately, identifying locally grown fresh produce can be easily identified bya small sticker that says “Fresh From Florida”.
Lipman produce is not only a sustainable enterprise, but also is an extremely successful one: they have expanded to partner with large companies like Chipotle and others.
The Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign has created this “Fresh From Florida” logo to help consumers identify and support local producers.
Max Lipman of Lipman Produce planted his first tomato in the 1930’s, and since then Lipman Produce has grown into the largest field tomato grower in North America.
Lipman Produce originated in Immokalee, Fla. and has since expanded to multiple locations throughout the United States and Mexico. Having multiple locations reduces supply distances and enables the delivery of fresher produce to consumers.
Justin Roberts, production systems and sustainability manager at Lipman, stated in a recent interview that Lipman Produce has been invested in their farmland and the sustainability of it for many generations.
“Sustainability has been a buzzword lately, but it’s something that has been important to the Lipman family from the beginning,” said Roberts.
At Lipman, new technology is fully utilized in operations to minimize carbon footprint. According to the Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation, sustainable produce supply chain management incorporates both positive financial and environmental aspects during the lifecycle of the product.
Lipman exhibits sustainability in many different ways.
1. Conservation of Resources: The application of drip irrigation has decreased their water use by 70 percent, which saves the Florida aquifer 66 million gallons a year. The Florida aquifer is crucial to fresh water supply in Florida.
2. Environmental Stewardship: Lipman Produce recycles all cardboard waste, which is equivalent to 300,000 pounds a week.
3. Reduction of Carbon Footprint: This has been achieved by replacing lighting fixtures at the Lipman Produce . Replacing the outdated fixtures reduces their CO2 emissions by 1,232 tons each year.
4. Social Responsibility: Each year Lipman Produce donates roughly 30,000-50,000 pounds of produce to food banks. They also repurpose their products to feed livestock, which is roughly 80-120 million pounds a year. This may sound like a lot of produce that is repurposed, but 80 billion pounds of food is wastes away in landfills annually in the United States.
Throughout the years, Lipman Produce has spent a great deal of effort to stay up-to- date in technology and farming methods, but they are still heavily involved in the tomato industry.
They are currently developing a natural breeding process that is give their product a higher-yield, longer shelf-life, disease resistance and better flavor.
Lipman Produce is just one example of what “Fresh From Florida” means, but more importantly, they take steps towards a sustainable future.
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