The careful cultivation of America’s food supply involves precise monitoring and management of resources. That’s why Lipman Family Farms, North American grower and distributor of fresh vegetables, has made sustainability an essential focus to every level of their supply chain.
“In order for a business to do “well” we must also do “good.” Meaning, it is not only the right thing to do, but it is critical for our long-term success for us to continue to improve our sustainability,” said Elyse Lipman, Chief Strategy Officer.
For more than 80 years, the Lipman family have grown on and tended to the same land in south and central Florida, growing varieties of tomatoes, cucumber, squash, green beans, and pepper. Now as a conglomerate of local growing partners, packing facilities, and distribution, Lipman Family Farms continues to grow across three countries and distribution nationally under the family name.
Three main pillars of Lipman’s growing practices focus on their research & development of tomato and vegetable varieties, water and pest management, and reduction of non-reusable waste.
The foundation of Lipman’s growing division have been sourcing material and resources in-house to achieve the most effective results of crop and the best methods of traceability. For almost 20 years, Lipman’s research and development team has trialed and tested tomato seed varieties for improved tomato flavor, nutrient levels, and disease resistance.
Lipman is particularly focused on water quality and conservation, which is also a main concern for the company’s home state of Florida. State-of-the art drip irrigation, which Lipman first implemented as an industry trendsetter back in 1992, reduces water consumption by 50 to 75 percent on all Lipman acreage. The company’s filtration system reduces water used for backwashing by 45 percent.
With the help of researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Lipman has implemented a growing method where tomato beds are built using a narrower and higher soil patch. This change allows for optimal water flow which improves nutrient uptake while reducing runoff and nutrient leaching.
In addition to their farming network, Lipman has distribution channels strategically placed for optimized transit times and minimal CO2 footprint. Keeping produce locally grown is key to providing the freshest, in-season vegetables delivered to your convenient grocery chains.
One of Lipman’s latest initiatives as part of their strides in waste management is their 100% backyard compostable packaging material. Made for their organic grape tomatoes, mini cucumbers, mini sweet peppers, and green beans, the fully corrugated packs are retail ready and come as 1lb clamshells for sustainable efforts through to the end-user. With this packaging, consumers can scan the QR code for an easy step-by-step guide on how to compost their clamshell in their own backyard or local compost shed.
“Sustainability is not a static goal. As technology constantly upgrades (and at increasingly faster and faster rates), there will always be room for improvement,” Elyse Lipman mentions. “We are never “done” with our sustainable practices. We must always be striving for higher and higher standards – while balancing what make sense for the land, the business, and what technology is available.”