A farm in New York has been powering itself using food scraps and cow manure

On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn’t just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds, and snack bars; they’re also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.

Located on the site of Noblehurst Farms, about 500 feet from dairy cows, this creamery is home to the only biodigester in the U.S. that uses cow manure and food scraps from the cheese-making process and local businesses to create electricity. Since 2014, Noblehurst Farms has recycled 20 million pounds of food scraps in its biodigester.

This isn’t the only farm making use of food scraps. Take, for instance, the urban farm greenhouses of Gotham Greens in Brooklyn and Queens. The farm crew often finds greens with a bit of bruising or pest damage when they harvest their lettuce, arugula, and other leafy greens.

Years ago, they would use what they could from those greens for team meals, but since 2016, they’ve also been selling them at supermarkets, including Key Food and Whole Foods Market, under the label “Ugly Greens (Are Beautiful),” at up to 40 percent off.

This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we welcome in the new year!

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