First, I want to show you something: Darragh Wynne from the charity Goal Ireland was here a few weeks back and invited me to talk for a video, if you want to learn a little bit more about and see some cool drone footage of our farm (and even catch a glimpse of George and Florence check this video out.
George and Florence are happy pigs, they couldn’t actually have a better life, I really don’t think they could. Not only do they get to roam around nearly 2 acres of old and newly established forests, they have a dry straw lined shed to sleep in and probably best of all they get fed waste organic veg once a day. They are as happy as two pigs in muck could be.
But they fit into this story very well, as they are the last step in our grandly termed food waste reduction strategy, we don’t have a formal document or anything like that, but we do have a belief system around food waste.
So here is a crazy fact, one third of all food produced on the planet is wasted. The area required to produce that food is 16 million km2, which is roughly an area the same size as Russia, which is a very big place.
We all know we need to take urgent steps to reduce our impact on the planet, no surprise there, and as we pass yet another mind boggling climate record with September being the warmest month ever by a long way, that action is critical.
So wouldn’t it be an amazing if we could cut the land used for agriculture by 16 million square kilometers and instead grow forestry? Of course, it would.
But where is all this wasted food coming from? Well, that is where I will tell you the second part of my story, last week we took a delivery of carrots, we weren’t very pleased with these carrots, they were Irish, they were organic, but they were massive, and I mean they were big but we got our heads together and figured out how we could prevent them ending up in the bin.
So, we set about trying to use them to sell them, to make sure we wasted as little as possible. There is one thing I can absolutely guarantee had these carrots landed at the door of a supermarket they would have been rejected, sent back, or wasted.
Herein lies one of our bugbears, supermarkets insisting without remorse on unforgiving specifications and when produce does not meet them refusing to sell it or accept it. We have been there many moons ago, once upon a time having supplied supermarkets. In the growing season we have had this year, produce may come out maybe a little smaller or bigger or twisted or forked and that in our view is the beauty of nature. We wont grade out twisted parsnips, or forked carrots.
Of course, there is still the possibility that produce will not meet our quality requirements, and this is where we do have a very well-defined system and we put a fair amount of effort into it to make it work.
Maciek our quality manager has done amazing work creating his “Rescue boxes” each week these boxes are filled with “Class II” produce. If we can’t use the produce in the rescue boxes our team get it, and if it is unusable it ends up in one of two places, actually one of three places!
It either A. Goes to one of our three compost bays, or B. go to George’s belly or C. goes to Florence’s belly!
(Interesting fact: We have to make two separate piles of food when feeding the pigs because Florence always bullies George and tries to keep all the food for herself!)
So that is the end of the story for this week, just know you are supporting a little business that manages in our own way to keep the food waste mountain from growing at least on our watch and continues to step by small step help build a better food system.
You are making it possible, thank you.
PS Darragh Wynne from the charity Goal Ireland was here a few weeks back and invited me to talk for a video, if you want to learn a little bit more about and see some cool drone footage of our farm (and even catch a glimpse of George and Florence check this video out.