Potato Sustainability Alliance to Carry Industry Forward

Published online: Feb 17, 2020 Articles
Viewed 1808 time(s)

Key players in the U.S. and Canadian potato industries announced at Potato Expo last month the creation of 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.

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 newly incorporated Potato Sustainability Alliance builds on the Potato Sustainability Initiative with the addition of fresh packers, agribusinesses, and environmentally focused organizations,” says Laura Scandurra, the new executive director of the Potato Sustainability Alliance. “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 new Potato Sustainability Alliance 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.  

The Potato Sustainability Alliance announced today 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 the J.R. Simplot Company as vice chair, Sanford Gleddie of The Little Potatoes Company as treasurer, and Ed Schneider of Schneider Farms as secretary.  

“It is an honor to be elected as the chair to lead the Alliance’s board of directors,” says 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 and 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.

The officers appointed to lead the Alliance’s board of directors include:

Chair: John MacQuarrie, Cavendish Farm

As the director of environmental sustainability with Cavendish Farms, MacQuarrie is responsible for corporate sustainability planning.  Before joining Cavendish Farms, John served as the deputy minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy for Prince Edwards Island. In that position, he was responsible for public works, provincial highway infrastructure grants and energy policy. 

Vice Chair: Jolyn Rasmussen 

Jolyn Rasmussen is the senior manager of raw development and sustainability for the Food Group at the J.R. Simplot Company in Boise, Idaho. Rasmussen oversees agronomy, variety development, and sustainability. She joined Simplot in 2011 as an agronomist in the Plant Sciences division and later became technical services manager. Prior to joining Simplot, sheworked at the University of Wisconsin's Hancock Ag Research Station and Del Monte Foods. 

Secretary: Ed Schneider

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

Treasurer: Sandford Gleddie

Sanford Gleddie is an agriculture industry professional with over 30 years of international technology development, marketing and sales, operations and management experience. He joined The Little Potato Company in 2011 and is currently the company's vice president of agriculture, sales, marketing and global business development. He is responsible for overall 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.