California Safe Soil has an agreement in place with Dr. Edwin Lewis at the University of California at Davis to test the crop, soil and environmental impact of Harvest-to-Harvest in agricultural applications. In support of this field research, the CSS team works with the company's farm customers in designing, implementing, and completing field tests of Harvest-to-Harvest.
Safety and efficiency are center of all CSS operations, and research is being conducted at the pilot facility in West Sacramento, CA to further these objectives. CSS tests the safety and consistency of Harvest-to-Harvest being produced at the CSS Pilot Plant in accordance with a research agreement with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Additionally, another goal of the CSS Pilot Plant is to implement and refine a robust safety program that will ensure the efficient, compliant, and safe operation of all future CSS facilities. Safeway, Inc., Nugget Markets, and Whole Foods have agreed to participate in the pilot facility research by supplying the facility with food residuals from their local supermarkets.
The field research goals are to determine:
We propose the use of Harvest-to-Harvest as part of an Integrated Plant Nutrition Management practice. We expect that optimizing two inputs: conventional fertilizer and Harvest-to-Harvest, will provide better crop yield, quality, and net economic outputs than results from optimizing conventional inputs alone.
As part of the research program, we aim to determine the optimal balance of Harvest-to-Harvest and conventional fertilizer across a wide spectrum of crops and growing conditions.
We expect that the addition of Harvest-to-Harvest to soil will increase soil organic matter over time. Increased soil organic matter may lead to the increase in the water holding capacity of the soil. Greater soil water holding capacity means that less water is required to maintain crop fields. As water costs increase, water savings can also be a cost savings. Greater soil water holding capacity may also help reduce nitrogen runoff and soil erosion. Greater soil organic matter increases soil tilth, facilitating deep root growth. Good soil tilth may also prove to be beneficial with "low till" farming practices.
Results from preliminary lab tests show that Harvest-to-Harvest contributes directly to crop growth. We expect the addition of Harvest-to-Harvest to the soil will benefit soil-dwelling microorganisms and invertebrates. The expected beneficial result of this is the concurrent increase in the levels of beneficial microorganisms and invertebrates by the creation of fertile conditions in the soil for their growth and proliferation. Overall, we expect the biological activity in the soil to increase, which in turn would have a positive impact on soil fertility and ultimately crop quality and growth.
CSS is inviting public sector participation in assessing the various environmental impacts or our process. We help increase recycling of organics, and have a very small environmental footprint relative to alternative recycling methods, such as composting or anaerobic digestion. Our goal is to achieve 100% recycling of organic feedstocks into commercially viable products. If the IPNM studies produce the results we expect, farmers will reduce their use of conventional fertilizers by as much as 50%. At lower conventional fertilizer application rates, plant uptake is much higher, meaning that runoff rates may be reduced by as much as 80%. Our food recycling process should lead to reduced methane emissions, and IPNM should lead to reduced nitrous oxide off-gassing, two potent greenhouse gases.
Fossil fuels are a primary feedstock and process fuel for most conventional macronutrient fertilizers, so using Harvest-to-Harvest is effectively substituting a biofuel for a fossil fuel. Our production process is not energy intensive, and has highly efficient transport economics, thus saving fuel. All of these benefits can be studied and calculated, as the research program proceeds.
We have selected the following crops for detailed investigation by Dr. Lewis:
Dr. Lewis is developing research protocols for each of these crops. Dr. Lewis is also managing laboratory and greenhouse trials.
CSS will provide Harvest-to-Harvest from its Pilot Plant for use in field tests, provided farmers agree to provide information on existing practices, and to follow the test protocols. .
Here are the preliminary results from tomato growth trials in sterile soil in Dr. Lewis's lab:
*Control is no fertilizer; H2H is our food hydrolysate; Urea is a common chemical fertilizer. Research performed in the lab of Dr. Edwin Lewis, University of California at Davis, 11/11.
Interested in testing H2H on your crops, please email us. We would love to hear from you.
Click here to learn about the research California Safe Soil is conducting with Dr. Edwin Lewis at UC Davis.
California Safe Soil's West Sac pilot plant turns stores' food waste into soil boosterSacramento Business Journal, February 8th, 2013
Nugget Markets Partners with CSS to Help CA FarmsNugget Newsroom, April 10th, 2012
Startup will turn grocer's waste into fertilizerSacramento Business Journal, March 16th, 2012