Nowadays, we are all experiencing a growing awareness of and discontentment with the high rates of food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, one-third of all food produced globally is thrown away each year, amounting to about 1.3 billion tons of food waste per year. These numbers clearly show that the present food system is feeding the rapidly rising population and growing food demand, while also generating serious environmental problems.
Although world hunger is on the rise, food production is still going strong- ignoring a variety of environmental effects such as rising CO2 emissions, pollution and loss of productivity, energy, and natural resources. Current waste management methods, which are built on a linear consumption model, are obviously unfit to satisfy the longer-term needs of current populations. Therefore, the need for a shift to a circular design for handling food waste that will include more regenerative practices and will restructure the food economy is apparent.
Unlike a linear economy that operates on a traditional approach in which products are created and utilized only once before being discarded as waste, a circular economy recreates the whole food system by eliminating the concept of waste. With a circular economy, what was previously deemed as waste is now a resource. This type of design entails reusing, repairing, and recycling preexisting commodities in order to ensure optimal food patterns and decrease actual waste. A circular economy for food mirrors natural regeneration systems by transporting organic resources back to the soil as organic fertilizers and thus repurposing waste as fuel for the next cycle. Through this process living systems are regenerated, biodiversity is promoted and renewable resources are supplied.
Solutions supported by a circular economy provide a diverse range of benefits. By renewing biological ecosystems, circular food systems can enhance soil and water quality, reduce land conversion and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, this can greatly improve the general health of local ecosystems while also fostering excellent human health and conserving natural habitats. Circular economies also contribute to higher supply chain resilience and diversity, as well as food insecurity reduction. Furthermore, they offer environmental and economic advantages by preserving raw material sources and decreasing the environmental effects of production and consumption. A circular economy for food not only ensures food security for thousands of people, but it also fosters resilience in local communities.
A perfect example of a modular, multi-step circular system that recovers 100 percent utility from unused food and food waste is ReFeed’s Circular NutritionTM. With this model, ReFeed has succeeded in what many strive to achieve- feeding people, livestock, and land with recovered produce and agri-food byproducts, and repairing the dysfunctional food system.
Using this system, ReFeed Farm firstly transfers usable food to food banks to address food insecurity, and then converts some of the usable excess into livestock feed. The food fed to livestock is sent to several farms that work with Refeed Canada, most of which are dairy farms, where the cattle ingest tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other vegetables. Everything that cannot be used in these two ways is channeled into ReFeed’s innovative vertical worm farm, which creates organic, natural fertilizer and soil amendments to aid growers and farmers in reducing their usage of synthetic fertilizers, while also replenishing their soil. Worms assist ReFeed in closing the virtuous Circular NutritionTM cycle by consuming everything that people cannot use and converting it into organic, microbially dense castings. This methodology is modular, scalable, and exportable everywhere there is food waste and insecurity. And, with the world’s food system being in shambles, it can be applied anywhere. This methodology is modular, scalable, and exportable everywhere there is food waste and insecurity. And, with the world’s food system being in shambles, it can be applied anywhere.
ReFeed has also partnered with Coin4Planet in order to revolutionize green investments and create a circular design for food waste. Coin4Planet enables companies and private investors to invest directly in regenerative activities, while accessing a range of benefits including impact offsets and building up a positive ESG sustainability score with audited and transparent year-end impact reports. Through Coin4Planet and Reality Gaming Group’s Digital Assets Certificate (DAS), ReFeed is able to invest in specific incentives to follow their impact, and as a result harvest on the external value in an updated and transparent way.
On top of this, ReFeed Farm is also constantly trying to find new ways in which they can support regenerative agriculture, eliminate synthetic fertilizers and promote circularity. Their newest addition, Robby, has made a big difference with the farm’s buildout and product development ideas. Very recently, they have started working on bioreactors in order to produce biocomplete compost, which is directly linked to concentrated soil microbiology. This will provide them with a product that can be microbially balanced and boosted to become fungal or bacterial dominant.
Moreover, because this product is backed up by microscopy verification and full traceability, it will increase beneficial microbial populations in ReFeed’s castings, creating a bio complete soil amendment which can serve as fresh tea in agriculture applications and seed inoculation. Through this, ReFeed Farm is able to really scale their impact with a microbial technology system which focuses on carbon sequestration, balanced soil microbiology to support regenerative agriculture, elimination of synthetic fertilizer and plant nutrition.
As the environmental and economic benefits of a circular economy for food become evident, and more businesses allow nutrients to be continuously cycled, the system will start working better for everyone — working with nature to protect biodiversity, encourage human health, and stabilize our climate. Circularity in food systems emphasizes that natural systems have the ability to support food production, while also keeping nutrients in their highest and best use. By using circular systems that treat and respect food as a source of life, we can create an economy that values regenerative practices and promotes biodiversity, resilience in local communities and the use of renewable resources.