CropLife America Announces Winner of the Green Thumb Challenge: Farmers and Foodies Unite with a Thumbs Up to Today’s Ag and Fighting Food Waste

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CropLife America (CLA) announces the conclusion of its successful month-long contest, the Green Thumb Challenge, and is pleased to award Twitter user Jennie Schmidt, @FarmGirlJen, with the winning prize. Throughout the month of August, agriculture advocates were challenged to paint their thumbs green and post a creative photo on Twitter. Schmidt posted a photo of her thumb inside of a green tomato in front of a field of ripe red tomatoes along with the caption, @CropLifeAmerica 30+ tons of tomatoes per acre (preferably not green)! #GreenThumbContest. In addition to Schmidt’s tweet, which won her an Apple Watch, CLA received submissions with photos of thumbs painted as farm animals, attending a county fair, at work on a farm, and in a variety of other inspired manners—all supporting today’s many environmentally sustainable farming methods.

“So many people are involved in the process of getting healthy food from the farm to your plate,” stated Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “The Green Thumb Challenge helped people from across the literal food chain unite to support the many food production methods that growers use today. A recent report from the United Nations showed that the number of people experiencing hunger has decreased by 795 million people over the past 25 years, despite exponential population growth.[1] The crop protection industry supports the continual development of herbicide and other crop protection technology to make sure we can produce healthy food for all in a way that preserves our land for future generations.”

In celebration of the conclusion of the Green Thumb Challenge, CLA is making a $5,000  donation to the Food Recovery Network (FRN), an organization that connects students across the country to fight food waste and hunger. Through the work of the Food Recovery Network, 814,325 pounds of food have been donated to people who are hungry.

“Food Recovery Network is pleased to have been a part of the Green Thumb Challenge to help educate the public about our food system and to jumpstart thinking about how and what we grow, eat and throw away. Through coordination, collaboration, and a commitment to sustainability, we can get healthy food to everyone and reduce our impact on the environment in the process” states Regina Northouse, FRN’s executive director. “We need to work together to make food production more efficient and sustainable, by implementing practices such as food recovery and food waste reduction, in order to continue to reduce hunger worldwide.”

Through continual development in farming and crop protection technology, the American farmer has increased food production while reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint. The proportion of land used in the U.S. for agriculture has declined from 63 percent in 1949 to 51 percent in 2007.[2] In addition, approximately 35 percent of U.S. cropland, or 88 million acres, planted to eight major crops had no-till operations in 2009[3] and farmers have increased their use of no-till programs for corn, cotton, soybeans, rice, and wheat.[4] No-till and other conservation tillage programs help farmers reduce erosion and keep soil healthy, and crop protection tools are a key part of these programs. Read more about crop protection technology and sustainability at www.CropLifeAmerica.org.

[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program, State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.

[2] 2007 is the most recent year for which data are available. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Economic Research Service (ERS), Agricultural production is a major use of land, accounting for over half of the U.S. land base.

[3] According to estimated tillage trends based on 2000-07 data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS).

[4] USDA, ERS. Conservation Tillage is Slowly Increasing.

Michael Leary