Produce Tidbits: Tackling food waste; hurricane-resistant greenhouses; and Italy’s organic boom

A German entrepreneur has launched SirPlus, a new programme developed to tackle food waste, according to Germany’s federal agency for food and agriculture. The start-up plans to sell fresh produce that does not comply with bigger retailers’ standards. The food is collected from farmers and producers, as well as wholesalers and retailers. At a food outlet in the city of Berlin and also via an online shop, consumers can now buy surplus, expired and deformed produce for up to 70% less than the price usually paid at stores.
FreshPlaza reports on the first hurricane resistant commercial scale greenhouse structures engineered to address the challenges in agricultural production in high risk climate areas such as the Caribbean and Pacific Islands which are threatened each year by hurricanes and typhoons. The Alquimi greenhouse production model for small island states is the first comprehensive growing solution that will generate local production of currently imported produce on a scale that will make a difference to the local economies. The structures can withstand winds of up to 215 mph. 
Italy is reportedly experiencing a boom in its organic agriculture sector, with a 20% increase in cultivation last year. The number of farms cultivated through organic methods in Italy reached 1.79 million in 2016, compared to 1.5 million in 2015. Last year, more than 300,000 hectares of land were converted to organic farming, while the number of operators rose to 72,154 (+20.3%). Growth in the organic sector for vegetables is up 48.9%.