The CEO of a large western U.S. vegetable operation was front and center when it came time to rally companywide support for stronger recycling and sustainability efforts.
JV Farms Organic, based in Soledad, California, has launched a revised recycling program to improve its previous systems and ensure the company is being the “best stewards of the land possible.”
“JV Farms Organic, as well as our whole operation under JV Smith Companies, takes deep pride in being good stewards of the land. We recognize our role to grow healthy, fresh produce for the country with the least impact possible on the land that is so good for us,” said CEO Vic Smith.
JV Farms Organic grows carrots, romaine lettuce, peas, herbs, spinach, kale, arugula and spring mix.
Smith attended one of the company’s recycling trainings to help put emphasis on the sustainability priorities he touts for the organization’s farming, packing and cooling operations, which includes 15,000 acres of vegetable production annually.
“To me, it’s a lifestyle,” said Vic, who, with his father, John B. Smith, founded JV Smith Farms in 1988. JV Farms Organic was initiated in 2012. His father started Skyview Cooling in Yuma, Arizona, in 1970.
The company now has growing operations in California, Arizona, Colorado and northern Mexico.
The goals of the new program – initiated at JV Farms Organic but with aspects of the sustainability effort reaching throughout the company’s “significant amount of conventional” cropping systems – are multifaceted, Smith said.
The efforts include reducing waste through increased recycling; improving environmental impact by reducing recyclable waste going to the landfill; reviewing and assessing the company’s waste audit; educating personnel about what is recyclable (both at home and on the farm); partnering with the Salinas Solid Waste Authority to highlight future household waste events; and listening to employee input regarding improvement.
Interactive, hands-on training opportunities have been scheduled. Employees are being educated on items on the farm that are recyclable, including plastic pallet wrap, pallet tape, paper, cardboard boxes, plastic sprinkler heads, water and drink bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and field flags.
JV Smith Organic employees also segregate items such as plastic seed and fertilizer bags and reusable plastic containers (RPCs) to return to the distributors for reuse.