Your Green Life: "Green Food Distribution"

By KBJR News 1

September 27, 2012 Updated Sep 27, 2012 at 5:21 AM CDT

Cloquet, MN

The Upper Lakes Food Company is the largest family owned food distribution company in the Midwest. One might wonder what a food distribution company can do to be green. Well it all starts with what they throw out, or rather how they throw it out.

"We sell what we can, but of course there's some of those things that either we don't sell or they go bad and if we can't donate them to the local food shelf, we do compost it." said Cara Lindberg, the Marketing Specialist for ULF.

Composting is a very large aspect when it comes to leaving a small footprint, this keeps tons of material out of dumps and then reuses it.

But being a family owned business is also about creating a close relationship with their customers and their suppliers, which is why they also buy locally.

Chef Carl Stanley told me, "It's important to buy locally because we have an accountability to our customers, to our economy, and to our environment."

They supply everything from locally bought produce, to my personal favorite, 100% grass fed ground beef... Delicious! But their sustainability goes beyond the kitchen and into the streets with all new distribution trucks.

"What happens here is there's a smaller tank next to the diesel fuel tank which pumps DEF–Fluid through the catalyst which gets heated up into the particle filer which cleans out the exhaust vapors, producing low emissions." the director of Safety and Claims at ULF, Brian Sorensen said.

A chemical reaction cleans the emissions, making all the trucks FDA certified for their emission practices. These are just a few steps the Upper Lakes Food company has taken to be more sustainable, and they are still looking into the future.

Lindberg said, "In the future we're talking about solar panels, we're talking about rain barrels to catch rain and do all those sorts of things. Those things come at a cost and I think with sustainability you have to do what you can when you can."

Currently 14 of the trucks in the fleet have the emissions upgrade. Their goal is to have the entire fleet swapped by 2014.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch