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Bayer Kicks Off Center for Global Produce Sustainability

cherries2The Center for Global Produce Sustainability aims to help steer fresh fruit and vegetable growers — and those farther up and down the supply chain — towards best practices in sustainability.

The center, which will be administered through the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation, is being funded by a $1.1 million grant from Bayer CropScience LP.

The Center for Global Produce Sustainability will be directed by an advisory board made up of leaders from both the fruit and vegetable production chain and its allied partners, according to a press release.

“There is a growing commitment to sustainability throughout our industry, but many different needs for education and guidance along the supply chain,” said Tom Lovelace, chairman of United Fresh, during comments at the association’s annual convention April 21-24 in Las Vegas. The United Fresh Research & Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that offers specialized programs in educational training, leadership development, food safety outreach and research. It is run by the United Fresh Produce Association, Alexandria, Va.

According to the release, here are some goals for the center’s first year:

  • enhance strategic work with allied partners in the areas of sustainability
  • develop a strategic vision on how to best serve the fresh produce supply chain
  • create and publicize the center’s goals and strategic views on sustainability
  • reach out to key stakeholders
  • create a Web site to exchange information
  • conduct a baseline survey of needs in the industry.

During the second year, the foundation will focus on developing initiatives to bring sustainable benefits all along the supply chain.

Rabobank has released a sustainable agriculture survey that finds that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. farmers and ranchers have taken steps toward implementing sustainable agricultural practices. See a related chart here.

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