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Don't let anything go to waste - illuminating the power of fruits and vegetables for the health of people and the planet.

It’s time to help people seize their full power in our highest potential solution to heal ourselves and the planet:  What we choose to eat.

Photo of Amy Keller
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

PurePlus

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Full Harvest - C Corporation WakWay Foundation - NGO ReFED - NGO University of Arizona - academia University of Nebraska - academia US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - government kaZe - C Corporation

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.pureplus.us

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Nogales, Arizona

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

United States of America

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Nogales is Arizona's largest international border community. The city has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54 km2), all of it land.

What country is your selected Place located in?

United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Through our partnerships with growers in Mexico and produce brokers in the United States, we have access to a continual flow of produce coming into the U.S. into Nogales. Nogales, designated as a Opportunity Zone where the unemployment rate is close to 12 percent. Just recently, there was a new focus by the Security of Housing and Urban Development on opportunity zones and how important they will be to support and build communities. Because fruits and vegetables are seasonal, unemployment increases to over 17 percent during the offseason. Additionally, the partnership with Univeristy of Arizona allows for on-call bio-engineers, food-safety labs, and food scientists. With the new Farm Bill, we are poised to receive grants related to food waste and repurposing. More than $25 billion has been set aside to help companies create solutions. With the location, amount of produce waste, and the business plan of creating nutritional products, we have met the requirements listed for grant opportunities.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The name "Nogales" is derived from the Spanish word for "walnut" or "walnut tree." It refers to the large stands of walnut trees that once stood in the mountain pass where Nogales is located. Nogales has a semi-arid steppe climate, which is less hot and more rainy than a typical arid climate classification such as Phoenix. The economy of Nogales is heavily dependent on the cross-border trade through its Ports of Entry by produce distributors and American-based manufacturing plants in Nogales. The United States Department of Homeland Security is a major economic driver in the Ambos Nogales region, with thousands of employees working for both the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection. Due to the large federal, state, and local police presence, Nogales has one of the highest police per-capita levels in the United States. The racial makeup of the city is 71.7% White, 0.37% Black or African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 24.3% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. 95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In the city, the population is spread out with 34.6% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females, there are 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.3 males. The median income for a household in the city is $28,044, and the median income for a family is $24,637. Males had a median income of $24,636 versus $18,403 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,440. About 30.8% of families and 32.7% of the population are below the poverty line, including 41.2% of those under age 18 and 32.9% of those age 65 or over.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

20878

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

In the US, up to 40% of food is wasted –that’s 63M tons-every year-valued at $218B annually. At the same time, roughly 40% of all food grown worldwide does not reach a person’s mouth. Food is lost at every stage of the distribution chain, on farms, in grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturers, and in the home. The causes are many, from spoilage to transportation, to economic limitation, but the result is the needless waste at the same time as starvation. More than 60,000,000 tons of produce cross the U.S.-Mexico border ports at Nogales each year, bound for all parts of the US. From November to May, approximately 60% of all fresh produce in the United States comes from Mexico, with a value of approximately $2.5 billion per year, placing Nogales among the top 3 ports of entry for food eaten in the US, but grown elsewhere. While the produce industry has demonstrated remarkable efficiency (over 99%) getting produce to market in good condition, waste remains a significant concern; more than 8,000 tons of ugly produce end up in southern Arizona landfills annually. From a global impact perspective - If 50% of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions (including avoided deforestation for additional farmland) could be equal to 70.53 gigatons of carbon dioxide.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

PurePlus and our partners bring value in its ability to provide an alternative solution to repurposing this produce into a second-tier product that can be utilized and given a longer shelf life. PurePlus has a plan to eliminate waste, by producing products made from valuable fruits and vegetable powders. The way we eat and produce food is a significant contributor to climate change, agriculture is estimated to contribute between 13-24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Given this enormous footprint, wasting less food presents a key opportunity to address climate change. For consumer packaged goods companies, fruits and vegetables are the most wasted product and have the highest climate impact. Every time the balance is upset, the businesses are losing money and spending money transporting their waste. Companies reject 2nd tier product because their key demo are consumers. Our definition of fruits and vegetables is everything that is not considered and the advantage is that PurePlus+ gets the raw material from local farmers as they go through the field to market process. When the balance is upset, more fruits and vegetables are turned away, and that’s where PurePlus+ comes into the picture. Our mission is to make upcycled fruit and vegetable powder into products that are good for the health of the people and planet. We measure ourselves in the reduction of fruit and vegetable waste by the products we create and the access of nutrition to those most vulnerable populations. The impact of a plant-rich diet will reduce CO2 emissions by 66.11 gigatons.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

PurePlus+ will collaborate with all stakeholders from government, NGO, corporate to the global citizens to launch a global movement at the intersection of food, health and the planet. Through working with Rockefeller and its partners, we can illuminate the power of food to restore our health and the climate. We would like to set a set of food-focused climate restoration goals and give the public agency the opportunity to reverse global warming and micronutrient deficiencies by what we eat. In addition to electing pro-climate leaders and moving to a clean energy economy, food is rising as one of the most powerful levers—if not the most powerful lever—for reversing global warming. Many citizens have felt powerless to do anything about global warming. It’s high time to help people realize and seize their full power in our highest potential solution to heal ourselves and the planet: What we choose to eat and this includes all of us. Food waste is a global problem with a direct economic cost of $1 Trillion per year. This food wastage also comes at a steep environmental and social price, totaling $1.6 trillion, ~50% of which is lost due to natural resource usage. Food waste is a market inefficiency, the kind which does not persist in other industries. Fruits and vegetables are the most wasted product and have the highest climate impact. We can minimize environmental impact by putting all these plus fruits and vegetables to use by extracting their vitamins and nutrients. We divert fruit and vegetable waste to reduce environmental impact and cost. Food solutions are more powerful then energy in reversing global warming. Food is the number one cause of poor health in America:
- 30.3 million people have diabetes (9.4% of the population)
- Nearly 75% of men and more than 60% of women are obese or overweight - An estimated 44 million women are affected by cardiovascular disease

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The goal is to capitalize on the momentum built at the UN General Assembly in September, we’ll work with C40’s 96 member cities, reaching 750 million globally, to announce a formal fruits and vegetables declaration and campaign that builds in C40 cities around the world through 2020. The goal with C40 is to help mayors establish fruit and vegetable-focused climate goals, and accelerate action by leveraging the network of cities like Nogales to develop local and global awareness around the power of food, and measure actual impact. The end goal is to create massive demand for fruits and vegetables that restores soil, climate, and health accelerating systems change.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Invited by advisors

4 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Constanza Castano
Team

Hi, Amy Keller ! Welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!

Thank you for sharing your project. Perhaps it would be interesting to see how the six Prize Themes (Economics, Diet, Technology, Policy, Culture, and Environment) fit in your 2050 Vision. Our 04 Food System Map and 02 Prize Statement can offer some inspiration in that regard: https://www.foodsystemvisionprize.org/resources

Remember, this is the moment when you can connect with other Visionary teams, provide feedback and get inspired by other submissions. As I can see, you have already some start!

I look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming days.

Best,

Constanza

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