Transforming Food Waste Into Opportunity
What do you do when you see a problem, but the current solutions aren’t really solutions at all? That’s what Agricycle Global Founder and CEO Josh Shefner was faced with. The problem was, and still is, that 2.8 trillion pounds of food goes to waste each year, and in Sub-Saharan Africa 95% of that waste happens before it ever reaches a market, which is called food loss.
While working with a non-profit organization in Jamaica to figure out how to brew beer using dried mangoes, he saw that farmers weren’t being included in the “solutions”. In many cases, non-profits were showing up only to give resources but failed to provide a long-term path to success.
This was the beginning of Agricycle, then called Blue Mangoes. The goal was to develop appropriate technology for rural farmers and cooperatives in Africa and the Caribbean to enable them to capitalize on the overly abundant resources that were going to waste.
Image Credit: Agricycle
Now, 5 years later, Agricycle has grown into a vertically integrated supply chain including a network of over 35,000 farmers around the world. These farmers source the all-natural ingredients that make up Agricycle’s portfolio of upcycled and ethically sourced brands. Agricycle minimizes food waste and carbon footprint and maximizes profitability by combining transportation, processing sites and byproducts of multiple global brands into one seamless supply chain. In addition to purchasing from farmers and the women-led cooperative members, their global network provides a platform to deliver even greater value.
Image Credit: Agricycle
Operating in East and West Africa and Latin America, Agricycle connects isolated communities in rural areas to markets that would otherwise have not been accessible. They have created and utilized multiple appropriate technologies to service these communities. Co-Founder Claire Friona, developed a passive solar dehydrator that preserves fruits and vegetables before they go to waste without using any electricity. Agricycle also created their Find My Farm traceability system that connects consumers to the stories of farmers and cooperatives and is revolutionizing food safety controls. Additionally, they have implemented digital communication tools and databases to connect their rural networks to global solutions and enable remote training and follow-ups.
As Agricycle continues to grow their reach into more rural communities, the focus will always be on creating sustainable solutions that meet people’s needs, and transforming waste into opportunities around the world.
Writer Bio: Dawn Halpin
Dawn’s first day with Agricycle Global entailed flying to Uganda, getting to know the team and company over an international flight and long bus rides. As Marketing Manager, Dawn manages all marketing strategies for Agricycle and its brands.
Dawn comes to Agricycle with experience in a wide variety of industries. She attended Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee studying Advertising. She began her professional career as a Graphic Designer and over the last 10+ years has found her niche in Marketing. She brings pieces of knowledge from her past working in different sectors like advertising, manufacturing, sales and hospitality and applies them in tackling the evolving challenges that Agricycle faces.
Dawn dreams of backpacking through Patagonia, a shared region between Chile and Argentina. Her love for the outdoors cannot be surpassed, and she is always excited for the next adventure.