Zero Waste Farming

Forty percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted (1). Globally, the figure is thirty percent (2). The waste occurs throughout the food supply chain: in the field, at processing facilities, during distribution, at grocery stores, in restaurants, and in consumers’ homes. The U.S. waste is worth $218 billion annually and comprises about 20% of U.S. cropland and U.S. landfills (3). Globally, food waste is worth $750 billion annually and accounts for 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions (4). Out of Project Drawdown’s 100 solutions to reduce global warming, food waste reduction ranks 3rd.

GeoVisual has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of wasted fruits and vegetables, which is the category of food with the highest amount of waste. There are several ways this improved supply forecasting can directly contribute to reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions:

Ensure the maximum amount of each field is harvested.

GeoVisual is helping growers determine optimal harvest dates, maximizing their profits and minimizing the amount of crop left unharvested because it is either too large or small to meet customer specifications.

Ensure the crop is harvested for maximum freshness.

By knowing which fields are optimal for harvest each day, harvesting and transport can be managed more effectively to reduce the time harvested produce spends outside the cooler

Make no-harvest decisions earlier, reducing input waste.

If a farmer knows early that a field will not be viable, they can eliminate the additional inputs of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, water, and labor expended to keep the field growing before ultimately tilling it under.

Forecast how much produce will be available for food recovery programs.

While helping farmers optimize the amount of commercially viable crops and forecast their future supply, GeoVisual simultaneously is determining how much produce will be commercially non-viable and available for “concurrent picking” to support food banks. 

Give growers the confidence to reduce their over-production.

Fresh fruit and vegetable growers routinely overproduce by as much as 30% to hedge against the impacts of weather, pests, weeds, and diseases. With the increased precision of their farming practices, they will be able to meet their customer commitments with far less waste and a substantially reduced carbon footprint


1 Wasted: How America is Losing up to 40% of its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, NRDC, 2017.
2 Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes, and Prevention, UN FAO, 2011.
3 Also from Wasted, NRDC.
4 Foot Wastage Footprint and Climate Change, UN FAO, 2012.
A lettuce field after harvest, showing the number of heads that are left behind due to not being the right quality, size, shape, or weight.