Walmart and Farmers Turn Food Waste into Compost

Dec 3, 2013

Credit Hal B. Klein / The Allegheny Front

What to do with too many leftovers? Even grocery stores have that problem.

In fact, a report issued in 2012 by the National Resource Defense Council, finds approximately 40 percent of the food grown and processed in the United States goes uneaten. Now Walmart—fast becoming one of the nation’s biggest grocers—is working with the nonprofit Pennsylvania Resources Council to send truckloads of its unsold produce to nearby farms for composting.

On a crisp autumn afternoon a blue, five-axle truck rolls up the windy driveway of Dave Anderson’s Echo Valley Farm in New Galilee, Pa., about an hour north of Pittsburgh. Anderson raises grass-fed beef, though he’s fond of joking that he’s really a “grass farmer.” And he has a serious challenge: 40 of his 60 acres were stripped of all their nutrients.

"This land was strip-mined and kind of pillaged back in the 1950s. They took all the topsoil that was on top and now it’s on the bottom, and there’s 30 feet of fill on top of it. It was like the surface of the moon when I moved here; nothing would grow here. So I’m trying to bring the land back," says Anderson.

Although Walmart is often vilified for encouraging mass, cheap consumption, Pennsylvania Resources Council's Nick Shorr says that Walmart should be given credit for some of its environmental initiatives, too.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner The Allegheny Front.