Walmart is one of the companies diverting tons of excess food to farmers in southwestern Pennsylvania who are turning it into usable compost in their fields.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that six farmers formed the Neshannock Soil Builders Cooperative two years ago. A legal agreement brokered by the Pennsylvania Resources Council with an $85,000 US Department of Agriculture grant has diverted the waste to the farmers who have received more than 1,800 tons since May. Most has come from four Walmart stores in the Pittsburgh area.
The Pennsylvania Resources Council hopes to sign on more farmers and more waste sources and to procure funding to continue the program. The federal grant ran out in December.
Almost 1 million tons of compostable waste goes to landfills every year in southwestern Pennsylvania. The diversion of food waste to improve soil is a bonus to small farmers, who are paid based on the tonnage they accept. Farmers convert other waste streams to reduce energy consumption.