Students win challenge with plans for businesses that reduce food waste

Two teams of students won the college track of the Maine Food System Innovation Challenge with plans to create businesses that would divert wasted food into usable products.

The College of the Atlantic students proposed [Re]Produce, to use farm surplus or imperfect corn, broccoli, kale and potatoes to create frozen vegetables for sale to consumers.

A team from Bowdoin College, where the challenge was hosted, proposed Spent, a company that would make flour from spent brewery grains.

The teams took home $2,500 prizes.


“It seems so contradictory that in Maine, 40 percent of our food goes to waste every year, while the state is the 12th most food-insecure state,” Grace Burchard, part of the College of the Atlantic team that included four students and professors Kourtney Collum and Jay Friedlander. “As a society we need to shift our cultural perception of ‘perfect’ looking food and respect the farmers who grew the produce by giving them a fair wage.”

[Re]Produce will join the college’s incubator, The Hatchery, this spring to test the business plan and the team hopes to soon start production at Fork Food Lab in Portland.

Providence, R.I.

Three farms receive grants to help them shift to renewable power

Rhode Island has awarded its first grants to support energy efficiency projects at farms and help farmers transition to renewable power.

The state’s Department of Environmental Management says it awarded a total of about $52,000 to three local farms to help “green” their operations to save energy and money.


The recipients are Harmony Hills Farm in Glocester, Red Planet Vegetable Farm in Johnston, and Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich.

The awards were provided through the new Rhode Island Farm Energy Program.

Harmony Hills and Red Planet each plan to install a solar photovoltaic system.

Pat’s Pastured is upgrading its refrigeration and freezer system.

Staff and wire reports

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