February 18, 2020

New Potato Sustainability Alliance formed by US, Canadian potato industries

Key players in the U.S. and Canadian potato industries have created a new organization dedicated to sustainability in the potato sector — the Potato Sustainability Alliance.

“Ten years ago, a group of potato processors, farmers, distributors and a major restaurant chain collaborated to create the Potato Sustainability Initiative,” said Ed Schneider of Schneider Farms in Pasco, Washington, a member of the organization’s board of directors.

As consumer demand grows for more sustainability from food systems to feed the world in a safe and responsible manner, there is a growing need for the industry to engage with a more diverse set of players to advance and communicate potato sustainability.

The Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) is a platform for farmers, supply chain partners, industry organizations, non-governmental organizations, universities and advisors to work together to define, measure and advance potato sustainability in the U.S. and Canada. Members of the Alliance, together with over 550 U.S. and Canadian farmers, are committed to identifying and acting on viable opportunities throughout the supply chain for ongoing improvement in sustainable potato production.

Laura Scandurra, the new executive director, said: “The newly incorporated Potato Sustainability Alliance builds on the Potato Sustainability Initiative with the addition of fresh packers, agribusinesses and environmentally focused organizations. It was clear that we needed to  evolve into a roundtable format and expand our membership to advance a common vision of potato sustainability and deliver outcomes at scale.”

The Potato Sustainability Alliance announced the election of new officers for the organization’s board of directors. The board selected John MacQuarrie of Cavendish Farms as chair, Jolyn Rasmussen of J.R. Simplot Company as vice-chair, Sanford Gleddie of The Little Potato Company as treasurer and Ed Schneider of Schneider Farms as secretary.

John MacQuarrie, Cavendish Farms and the Potato Sustainability Alliance

“It is an honor to be elected as the chair to lead the Alliance’s board of directors,” said MacQuarrie, Director of Environmental Sustainability with Cavendish Farms. “The Potato Sustainability Alliance is well positioned to play a leadership role in advancing sustainability and we are excited about the prospect for enhanced engagement and collaboration across the value chain.”

The board of directors of the Potato Sustainability Alliance is currently composed of representatives from the following membership sectors:

  • Growers
  • Processors
  • Fresh Packers
  • Buyers
  • Agribusiness Companies

The Alliance will be inviting board representation from environmental NGOs later this year. Officers are elected to two-year terms and will play a leading role in developing the organization’s 2020-25 strategic plan.

More on the officers that will lead the board of directors.

John MacQuarrie, Cavendish Farms

As the Director of Environmental Sustainability with Cavendish Farms, MacQuarrie is responsible for corporate sustainability planning. Before joining Cavendish Farms, he served as the Deputy Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy for Prince Edward Island. In that position, he was responsible for public works, provincial highway infrastructure grants and energy policy.

Jolyn Rasmussen, J.R. Simplot

Rasmussen is the Senior Manager of Raw Development and Sustainability for the Food Group at J.R. Simplot in Boise, Idaho. She oversees agronomy, variety development and sustainability. She joined the company in 2011 as an agronomist in the Plant Sciences division and later became Technical Services Manager. Prior to joining Simplot, Jolyn worked at the University of Wisconsin-Hancock Agriculture Research Station and Del Monte Foods.

Ed Schneider, Schneider Farms

Schneider has been farming on his family’s farm near Pasco, Washington for over 40 years, growing potatoes and other rotation crops. He has served on various industry boards including the Washington State Potato Commission, the United States Potato Board (now Potatoes USA) and the National Potato Council (NPC). Ed has also been engaged in the Potato Sustainability Initiative (now the Potato Sustainability Alliance) since its inception in 2009.

Sandford Gleddie, The Little Potato Company 

Gleddie is an agriculture industry professional with over 30 years of international technology development, marketing and sales, operations, and management experience. Gleddie joined The Little Potato Company in 2011 and is currently the Vice President of Agriculture, Sales, Marketing, and Global Business Development. He is responsible for North American potato production including agronomy, field production, potato variety development, the sales and marketing of The Little Potato Company products in North America, new product development, and expansion into new markets outside of North America.

PSA Executive Director Laura Scandurra can be reached at [email protected].







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