Home » Technology » Taylor Farms wants to make food without fossil fuels

As industries go, agriculture represents one of the worst environmental offenders, according to research by the United Nations Environment Programme. Farms need tending around the clock. So besides all the fertilizers, pesticides and water they use, farms also burn a lot of fossil fuels and money to keep the lights on, tractors rolling and refrigerators humming.

Now one major agricultural player in the U.S., Taylor Farms, is making an effort to make food without fossil fuels, and shrink its environmental footprint. The company recently completed a makeover of the systems used to power its Gonzales, Calif. facilities, where it makes fresh-cut salads and other vegetables.

Taylor Farms produce is sold at major groceries like Target, Walmart, Publix, Sam’s Club and Stop & Shop. Its competitors include the likes of Dole Fresh Vegetables, Chiquita-owned Fresh Express, Ready Pac Produce and Earthbound Farms.

Nicole Flewell, director of sustainability at Taylor Farms, told TechCrunch, “We have three different technologies at this one site. So it’s a unique ecosystem of energy production.” Previously, the company had tried solar, wind and fuel cells but never used more than one renewable energy source at a time on any of its farms.

“We are a 24-hour, 365-day business, so to tie these elements together, we had to shut down for 6 to 8 hours, and that was a substantial challenge. You can’t kill power for a substantial time where you have a refrigeration facility,” Flewell explained.

The company had to batten down the hatches around its chilled rooms, ship out as much product as it could at once, and push their food production schedule ahead to prepare shipments for buyers early, for days ahead of the switch.

The Gonzales facility now employs: solar, wind and co-generation systems from REC Solar, Foundation Wind Power and Concentric Power. While solar and wind power are already familiar technologies to most, co-generation may not be.

The Concentric Power…

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