Reunity Resources

Turning Waste into Value

The founders of Reunity Resources, husband and wife team Juliana and Tejinder Ciano, founded their nonprofit with a simple question: what if they could take local food waste and turn it into something of value?

Since then, what began as a single program that collects used restaurant fryer oil for conversion into biodiesel has evolved into a multi-faceted organization poised to change the way Santa Fe systematically handles its food waste. “Our original idea was to build something sustainable. We got a lot more than we bargained for, but it’s working out,” said Tejinder. “We’re making an impact, and we’ve been able to grow, step by step, by slowly building up our infrastructure. We have a motto, test before we invest,” adds Juliana.

In 2018 alone, Reunity Resources’ programs reduced Santa Fe’s carbon footprint the equivalent of the emissions of 19,500 cars out on the road over the course of a year. “We quickly realized we wanted to address larger issues around our food system… and wanted to make a long-term impact towards closing the food system loop, where a lot of resources are lost.”

Since then, Reunity Resources has expanded to include: food waste collection from local restaurants and schools, waste reduction education, a composting program with its own line of garden amendments and most recently, farming. “We make about 3,000 cubic yards of compost a year — selling most of it to area gardening companies, all from discarded waste,” says Tejinder. “We use a simple aerobic composting method using just oxygen and micro bacteria to create a high-heat system that turns organic matter into compost.” Each lot of organic waste takes about 30 days to process.

Recently, they got a chance to expand their operations by adding the farming aspect, after the passing of the previous owner of the Community Farm at San Ysidro Crossing. “We were already on the property with our cooking oil and composting operations, so it was a logical progression,” noted Tejinder.

The Cianos have expanded the reach of the community farm effort by providing fresh, local produce to area hunger organizations like Kitchen Angels, building an on-site farm stand, and developing ongoing educational programming with local schools around aspects of sustainable local food production. “We try to make sure everything we do has a benefit to our community. If it’s not sustainable, we don’t do it.” emphasizes Juliana

Jan 3, 2022
News & Stories

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