These lyrics from ‘Tears for Fears’ may not have been talking about plants, but they do describe activities on the farm this week.
The last seven days have been a stretch on the farm for all sorts of reasons. We are very lucky to have, in every area of our business, strong teams and the farm is no exception.
When you don’t need to ask and yet the lads put in 12-hour days to get the sowing done before the rain you know you have special people.
In vegetable farming it is about a great many things but right at the top of the list is timing.
Getting the timing right is powerful stuff and the race against the rain in the West of Ireland is always a close call and fraught with uncertainty.
I am relieved that the carrots, parsnips, beetroot, and spinach are all now in the ground. There is more to sow, but the first batches are sown and that has for now stilled the vague buzz of concern at the back of my mind that we will not win the race against the weather.
The first tomatoes, cucumbers and a host of broccolis, cabbages, kales, romanescos and more are all planted and making good progress.
So, we march on, the first weeding is happening the first harvest of new season crops too, our own gorgeous lettuce and spinach, chard, radish parsley and more.
‘Feel the pain, talk about it’ another lyric from the same great song. There has been hard work certainly, pain a little, satisfaction at a job well done for sure. But there is pain in the modern world of food production and we in our own little way we are attempting to set that right.
Although we have been very busy with the work of growing food our care for the land has certainly not been forgotten, the wildflowers, the hedges and wildlife, the trees, the birds and beehives, the pigs and the foxes, the work on those long term valuable investments has already been done in quieter days.
The fruits and benefits of which now we can see.
Every day I am so grateful to be able to do this, I am grateful to you for giving us and our farm the opportunity to thrive.
Your choice to get a box from us is an amazingly positive thing and you should know it is making a difference for you and your families health, and for the health of the planet.
PS: Have you tried our new repeat order system yet? You can set up an order for delivery every week and you can pause it or change it at any time. So if you need certain things each week why not add them to your regular fruit and veg order and never miss your order deadline again?
This past week marks the first of our tree planting that we began on your behalf. We are planting another 1500 trees and this is specifically because of your support.
You have enabled us to do this as well as so much more. Because we charge a little more for our organic produce we can take the steps we do take to grow food sustainably.
This is not all your support has enabled. The solar panels on our packing shed roof every day are generating clean electricity. The rainwater harvesting enables the watering of our tunnels with chlorine free water.
The hundreds of metres of hedge rows that we have grown and the preservation of old hedgerows, the sowing of wildflowers. Madly, the re-homing of two rescue pigs, who may I add are getting fatter and bigger by the day.
The resting of the land, the sowing of green manure to take carbon from the air and fertilise the ground. The production of crops without chemicals.
The delivery of your boxes without plastic, the collection and reuse of our boxes. The support for many local small-scale Irish business. The support of several local Irish organic growers. The purchase of only Fair-trade produce where it is available. Never air-freighting produce. Always looking to reduce food waste, never rejecting food based on looks or size, but making sure we keep a close eye on quality.
Not doing it all for profit, but hoping to make a profit.
You are supporting all of this, you are also supporting a new way of doing things, you are sending a message to the powers that be that there is a better way, that things can be done differently, it doesn’t have to be all about large scale intensification of agriculture to the detriment of biodiversity and our countryside.
We aim to make sure we are supplying you with the very freshest, best tasting healthiest produce. We aim to make sure it is as if you picked it yourself. It is a difficult business to be in: growing, handling and delivering fresh produce, that is why there are so few doing it. It is hard to get it right, not saying we always get it right, but when we don’t we will be the first to admit it and set it right straight away.
You are supporting local jobs in rural Ireland, you are keeping a community alive, you are supporting a different way of life.
Hannah used to love broccoli and then she did not and to this day that has not changed. I do love broccoli. I tend to love all vegetables really, and it is a good thing seeing as I run an organic vegetable farm.
It never ceases to amaze me how much vegetable food you can produce per acre, and how many people that can feed. At the very same time it also never ceases to amaze me how much our food system needs to change; it is broken and here are the three fundamental reasons why:
1. There are too many of us eating a Western style diet. Food inequality is huge and we in the West eat way more than our fair share.
2. Growing feed for animals is not an efficient use of a limited land space. To feed a growing population we need to change what we grow and what we eat. We cannot continue to produce and consume the same food in the same way there simply is not enough space on earth. (I know we have two rescue pigs, and they are eating machines, we feed them waste vegetables, but if we had to grow all the food that they eat, we would need acres just to feed them. Using land to produce vegetables to feed people is a highly efficient use of land.)
3. The supermarkets facilitate the expectation of cheap food and they control the food supply chain. Their pricing practice makes farmers reliant on a subsidy system. Our grandparents spent nearly 20% of their disposal income on food, today it is less than 10%. The main beneficiaries of our food system are the supermarkets, large agribusiness and large food corporations, not us the consumer.
A long-term view is often difficult to reconcile with our daily challenges and life stresses (holding a screaming child for instance, Hannah was not always that picture of calm!) But the climate is changing, the sea levels are rising, biodiversity is failing and change is necessary now.
We can open our eyes if we choose to, and take responsibility for our choices, we have much more power than we realise. We can’t change the food system over-night, but we can take positive action right now.
It will always be better to eat local food. It will always be better for our countryside and our health to eat more organic food. It will always be better for our health and the health of the planet to eat less meat. Here is what we/you can do right now:
I think it’s safe to say that this Christmas we are all in need of a little extra cheer. So we have put together some really lovely gift ideas for you and hope to take a little of the stress out of your Christmas shopping.
Buy yourself a treat or get us to deliver a box of goodness to a loved one. We deliver nation wide. You could even get us to deliver to wherever you’ll be over the holidays. Get preordering now here and do bear in mind that, as Christmas day falls on a Friday this year, there will be some changes to your usual delivery days – so please get organised for that now. We would hate to disappoint any of our wonderful customers so please do get in touch with any amendments, delivery address changes, add-ons and more sooner rather than later.
As well as beautiful boxes of festive fruit and vegetables which, if you preorder, will arrive on the week of the 21st December, you can also order a carefully curated hamper from us. We have put together a few selections to suit you. And as an added bonus, all our hampers come in one of our beautiful tote bags. How about this popular chocolate and wine hamper?
Or a vegan hamper filled with our favourite plant based products? That fermented cashew-cheese has to be tasted to be believed!
For the localvore in your life we have an Irish hamper. That Achill Island sea salt is award winning, flakey perfection and we love that it comes in a cute glass jar! So may ways to re-use it.
Are you after some special pantry products for the discerning foodie in your life? Try our pantry eco hamper. The Olvia Greek olive oil is so delicious and goes perfectly with the balsamic vinegar for a simple-but-sophisticated salad dressing.
And there are many more easy options on our X-mas tab. We also offer gift vouchers if you would like to introduce someone to us or to pay for their next delivery.
From all of us here at Green Earth Organics, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to us.
Here at Green Earth Organics we really care. We care about our impact and how we tread on this planet and we want to make it official. Being open and honest about the way we do business is important to us, so here are our 5 Pledges for the Planet. We will be doing a deep dive into each pledge soon so watch out for blogs on those coming soon.
“When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!”
There’s no denying how quick and convenient it is to do your gift buying on Amazon. Getting everything and anything you can think of sent to your door at the click of a button is incredibly convenient. But I think we can all agree that lining the pockets of billionaires is killing small businesses and stealing the soul from our communities. As well as giving our local economy a well needed boost, when we shop local we are generally supporting people who actually care. Small business owners are passionate people. Unlike in huge corporations, small businesses owners care about providing you with really brilliant things, they care about their staff and they care about the environment. They also pay their taxes properly, which benefits everyone!
Of course Amazon isn’t the only problem, just the best example of the type of business we need to avoid. There are countless big clothes shops, electronics shops, toy shops and cosmetic shops, all trying to get our attention with the cheapest, most convenient, shiny new thing. I love that saying, that every cent spent is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. As people aiming to be ethical consumers, we look at all the issues surrounding our purchasing. We no longer simply ask ourselves, ‘what do I want and how much does it cost’, but, ‘Where does it come from? Who made it? How was it made? How were they paid? What materials were used? Where did they come from? How long will it last? What will happen when it breaks or wears out? Where will it end up? Why do I want this?’ and perhaps most importantly, ‘Do I actually need this?’
I’m new to this beautiful part of the world, and moving here during a pandemic has meant we can’t go to lovely markets and fairs and meet local makers and growers in the way we would like to. So I’ve been researching some alternative, online, local options for the festive season and put together this little gift guide that I’d love to share with you. I would also love to know your recommendations too please. Let me know in the comments about your best ethical finds online, your local artist or crafts person, your favourite gift you’ve received or given. If you’re reading this on Facebook or Instagram then please also tag them in the comments so we can all support small, ethical, local people and businesses who care.
Shop Small, Shop Local, Shop Sustainable, Shop Secondhand and share the love by tagging brilliant gift givers and small businesses in the comments section!
Happy gift giving! Liz
Well this time of year is all about them isn’t it? Have a look at Lottie Dolls for a diverse range of Irish made, inspiring dolls based on real children. Their key brand drivers are diversity and inclusion, body image, childhood, STEM education, sustainability and empowerment.
Or for a wider range of children toys, try Jiminy. This is a brilliantly curated Irish online shop for eco toys. They are also offering a gift wrapping service with a handwritten note so you can send something a bit more personal to a special someone who you may not get to see this festive season. The ‘gift wrapping with a note’ service is doubly great because it saves the item being posted twice which cuts down on transport emissions.
For the Zero Waste Hero
Although we have a good range of essential low impact products in our shop that are very convenient to add to your weekly veg delivery as and when you need them (see here and here), head to Reuzi for a large range of all things reusable, zero waste and plastic free. It’s a one stop shop for sustainable living. From silicone freezer bags to shampoo bars for dogs, this shop has everything you need to live a zero waste life, stylishly. There are loads of luxury items and gift ideas as well as all the staples.
If you’re looking for something luxurious for the ethical beauty in your life try White Witch. Their organic, vegan, plastic free luxury beauty products are handmade in small batches in the west of Ireland. Have a look at their carefully chosen ingredients, beautifully designed packaging and skilfully made products on their website. I love that they also do refills through the post to further save on the environmental (and financial) cost of packaging.
Second Hand is Sustainable
As ethical consumers we can no longer look down on secondhand. If we are not filling up our landfills we are shipping our recycling across the planet and have no idea what happens to it once it reaches its destination. Buying secondhand is probably the most sustainable way of shopping for what you need. And not only is it cheaper for you and kinder for the planet, it’s fun!
Check your favourite charity shop. Many of them have moved online and set up an eBay account to get through this lockdown. Why not see if they have that winter coat or wooly hat you were needing before buying new?
For the Book Worm
For a huge selection of secondhand books at really good prices tryThe Book Shop.
For a mix of secondhand and new books try Galway’s favourite bookshop, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. When lockdown is over, this quirky shop is well worth a visit too.
For the Fashionable
For secondhand fashion try Thriftify (which is not just secondhand clothes but also books, dvds, cds, pc and video games and more). Snag yourself a bargain and help keep clothes out of the landfills. This site is easy to navigate and has really helpful search options.
For the Gadget Geek
For secondhand Electronics head to CEX where you’ll find everything from phones, games and consoles to tablets, laptops, DVDs and more. Not only are secondhand electronics much kinder on your wallet, but keeping electronics out of landfill is vital to stop harmful chemicals seeping into the environment. Millions of phones, computers, printers, routers, modems and other electronic equipment get thrown away every year. By buying secondhand, you are not putting a new device into circulation. Think of all the energy and raw materials that go into creating each new device. The more you can use secondhand, the better.
For the Foodie
Look no further than us at Green Earth Organics for your foodie friends and family. We have all the raw ingredients in our veg boxes that the foodie in your life could possibly need to create brilliant meals, plus some treats to keep the chef happy, and we deliver all over Ireland! Why not introduce them to us with a gift voucher or a veg box? How about buying them a fruit and veg delivery with some extra treats – our carefully curated range of teas or coffee and some organic chocolate or biscuits? A really great bottle of wine and some olives, crackers and cheeses – including these amazing vegan cheeses? Check out our new X-mas shop where we’ve put together some brilliant hampers.
My recipe book ‘Cook Draw Feed’ has been added to the shop at Green Earth Organics. An illustrated, plant based cookbook with over 100 inspiring recipes from my 12 years of running a veggie cafe. It’s a unique, hand drawn recipe book which makes a lovely, useful gift. I think it goes perfectly with a box of veg from the farm! I’ll be posting weekly recipes here on the blog so look out for those too.
There are too many brilliant local artists to list here but may we suggest you have a look at our very own Jenny Keavey’s incredible artwork? Her online shop, Into The Woods has a gorgeous collection of fabric and thread wild animal portraits, landscapes and floral hoops which would be gorgeous adorning your walls all year round. She also has a really beautiful collection of Christmas cards which we have added to the Green Earth Organics shop here.