Corey Carman, Oregon’s Soil Savant, plus Grassgrazed, a Black-owned North Carolina regenerative farm. Canada’s Simon Fraser University goes zero-waste, and Microsoft builds “Circular Centers.”
Corey Carman–Oregon’s Soil Savant, Grassgrazed–Black-Owned North Carolina Regenerative Farm, Canada’s Simon Fraser University Goes Zero Waste, Microsoft Builds “Circular Centers”
CANADA’S SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY GOES ZERO-WASTE!
Simon Fraser University’s Zero Waste Initiative, launched in 2014, is led by a cross-departmental committee of Facilities Services, Ancillary Services, Residence and Housing, Procurement Services, and the Sustainability Office. It’s currently in its third phase of replacing approximately 150 stand-alone external collection bins with select four-stream Zero Waste Stations. The four streams are food scraps and compostables, mixed paper, recyclables, and landfill garbage.
According to the website, the project diverted over 70% of SFU’s landfill waste within only 18 months of its launch. Rachel Telling, Program manager of the zero waste initiative, says 70% rate of diversion comes “directly from our waste haulers and processors, so [its] accuracy is high.”
Eliminating landfill waste at SFU has not only had a positive environmental effect, but has “achieved financial and greenhouse gas emission savings, increased operational efficiencies, and enhanced sustainability education.”
The SFU initiative is always trying to improve with new initiatives. The latest is recycling disposable coffee cups–”a huge part of the waste stream at SFU.” To address this issue, they screen out their plastic lining and compost the rest of the cup.
Why does the Zero Waste Initiative matter to us? It’s an example of a university driving regional change in standards of public space waste diversion.
DEEPER DIVE: The Peak, SFU Zero Waste
GRASSGRAZED: BLACK-OWNED NORTH CAROLINA REGENERATIVE FARM
Located in Northern Durham, Grass Grazed Farm is the 60-acre farmstead of Derrick and Paige Jackson. They raise pastured livestock based on principles of sustainable agriculture on their farm and on additional leased acreage nearby. The Jacksons believe in being good stewards of the land while providing their customers with healthy, wholesome, delicious meat.
The concept began in 2019. At that time, Derrick made the decision to leave the Army after 13 years of service as an enlisted soldier. He and his wife, Paige, along with their 4 children, embarked on a farming adventure – to better both their family and the environment. . . with no TDYs or deployments.
In describing their journey they said, “The more we researched, the more we became concerned with where our food was coming from and the effect it was having on our physical health. We decided to raise livestock with the things they need, and without the things they don’t. Livestock that is regeneratively grazed, as well as GMO-, antibiotic-, and chemical-free… raised in its natural habitat on pasture and forestry. Meat processed at our USDA-approved facilities meets NCDA Standards.”
The family came to the conclusion that, as far as their health goes, they could pay now (invest in healthy natural food) or pay later (invest in cheap, processed food and bet on Big Pharma and the American Health care system to bail them out).
Grassgrazed supports itself two ways, farm memberships and through the sale of GrassGrazed Bundles. Become a member and order online. Lots of variety. Non-members can enjoy the Bundles option, of which there are currently two. I’m looking forward to supporting GrassGrazed and my palette, with the pork box.
Paige and Derrick Jackson are an example of why GrassGrazed Farm matters to us. People with no real farming background making the decision to save the climate, their community and their family through regenerative farming.
We care about having a connection to our food.Regenerative Farming is a UN-designated method for sequestering carbon. A major tool in the fight to combat climate change.
DEEPER DIVE: GrassGrazed,YouTube, Heifer USA, Livestock Guide
MICROSOFT’S “CIRCULAR CENTERS”
You’ve heard of the circular economy, right? Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, refuse? Well it starts at the individual company level. And Microsoft is attempting to do just that. It’s building first-of-their-kind Microsoft Circular Centers to reuse and repurpose servers and hardware in our data centers. The circular center works by reusing, disassembling, reassembling and recycling with design and supply chain teams to help improve the sustainability of future generations of equipment.
E-waste plays a significant role in global pollution. Approximately 300 million metric tons of plastic are produced every year, 50 percent of which is used only once. The centers are a major part of Microsoft’s plan to achieve zero waste goals by 2030. Their goal to achieve zero waste also includes the company’s direct operations, products and packaging by 2030 by using recyclable material and eliminating single-use plastics in packaging.
Based on the company’s pilot programs, Microsoft claims to be on track to reuse 90% of e-waste by 2025. Microsoft started waste reduction efforts in 2008. Since then the company has achieved zero waste certifications at its Puget Sound Campus and datacenters in Boydton, Virginia and Dublin, Ireland.
COREY CARMAN, OREGON’S SOIL SAVANT
A radical new approach to raising cattle helped fourth-generation rancher Cory Carman save her family’s land.
Cory Corman left the family ranch in eastern Oregon to pursue a public policy degree at Stanford University. Her hard work paid off and she landed a position in Washington, D.C.,as a press officer with the House Ways and Means Committee. In 2003, Corman returned to the family ranch, but just for the summer. Just to assist her uncle and grandmother work the ranch while she looked for her next job working on public policy. But by that fall, though, it was obvious that if she left, the ranch wouldn’t be there for her to come back to.
Fortunately, thanks to Professor Walter Falcon, who taught a course called “The World Food Economy,” and other faculty, Corman had tailored her public policy degree toward food production, specifically meat. Enlightened from her intense self-guided study on the subject and struck by the ranch’s reliance on old methods, including shipping cattle to feedlots, she decided to stay and help usher in a new approach. “I realized grass-fed beef was not for 30 years from now. The time to do it was now.”
That was 19 years ago.
Corman and her partner Dave convinced her family to turn to holistic ranching. They gave up farming crops. That allowed them to eliminate herbicides and chemical fertilizers. They began periodically moving their cattle from pasture to pasture – a form of holistic grazing championed by Allan Savory, to sequester carbon by preserving grasslands. Says Corman, “It’s about getting more nutrients into the soil and getting more out of the ranches in return.”
Today, the grass on Carman Ranch grows thick. It supports 67% more cattle, and Carman’s organic beef sells at a 10% to 30% premium. Over kitchen tables and at cattle conferences, Carman educates other ranchers about the benefits of holistic land management. “They’re giddy about the potential.”
Why does the success of Carman Ranch and its grasslands–now grown to 5,000 acres–matter to us? It’s further proof that sustainable ranching and saving the planet necessarily mean breaking up our food systems network.
DEEPER DIVE: Civil Eats, Stanford Magazine, Quivira Coalition