Black Friday?

The biggest winners from Black Friday are the big corporations, it is certainly not the small independent high street shops who after the last two years are under excruciating pressure to survive and are the very ones who can least afford to offer discounts.

What are we doing for Black Friday? We will not be offering a black Friday discount. This is our business decision, it doesn’t sit right with us, we cannot justify doing homage to this greatest day of consumption, whilst our planet teeters on the edge of collapse. We are doing what we have been doing every other week of the year, working hard at delivering to you the very best sustainable healthiest food you can get anywhere.

We do offer reward points for ordering, we offer double reward points for setting up a regular order, these rewards can be used to get money off your next orders.

We reward you, our customers, with occasional discounts as a thank you or when we have extra produce on our farm. We thank you (and where you want to place a larger order) by offering you free delivery when you order over €100. But these are thoughtful rewards to you our customers for shopping with us. The principle is different.

What else are we be doing for Black Friday?

We are in the fields harvesting, we are supporting several other local IRISH organic businesses, such as Mossfield organic farm whose organic cheese and milk and yogurt is the best in the country. We are packing our produce in paper or biodegradable plant-based bags. We are filling our recyclable boxes with your orders, boxes we collect and reuse again and again. We are, with your help, standing up for a better type of consumption. After all we all need to eat, that consumption cannot be avoided. Can we eat and consume better, can we support biodiversity whilst also supporting our bodies and our health? We would say yes, yes we can. We will be delivering your boxes to your doors in our electric van on some of our routes.

We have seen yet again this year that our farm has struggled to be profitable in it’s own right. How is this possible? We have our own market and yet we can only afford to pay our farm a set amount and the end result is a loss. Primary food production is a precarious business, can we afford to discount to celebrate Black Friday? No, and really what’s to celebrate?

The pressure on small businesses to participate in this voracious celebration of consumption is immense. There is no judgment here, it is difficult enough to exist and survive as a small business and sometimes you must do what you have to do. Conscious consumption of ethical, fair and sustainable food is the cornerstone of our business.

Thank you for supporting us, have a great Green Friday.

Kenneth

Less is More

Fuelled by the supermarket model of loss leaders and fresh produce devaluation, cheap food has a lot to answer for. When food is cheap those who deserve respect do not get it, from the farmers to the planet to you the consumer. 

We produce high quality food, food that is safe, that tastes like our grandparents remember food tasting, and is a big part of the solution to the appalling state of our planet. 

When it comes to agriculture we can do so much more, there are so many simple opportunities to make a difference. Food can be a large part of the solution rather than a big part of the problem. Because solutions are necessary and urgently so.

A few years back on my way to the ploughing championships a strange creature running in a field caught my attention. I stopped the van to catch a better glimpse and right there amidst a herd of cows was an ostrich! Ostrich farming was once a viable enterprise here in Ireland, and if that is possible then surely anything is. 

This was September 2018 and a day later the event was cancelled because of storm damage. Just 12 months earlier hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland and 6 months later the “beast from the East” caused widespread disruption and empty supermarket shelves. Three months after the snow we had an intense drought that caused us to lose crops.  Three intense major climate related events in less than a year, this is a taster of what may be to come if action is not taken right now on man made greenhouse gas emissions.

Are we waking up?  Are leaders and businesses wide awake to what is happening because they need to be. The days of acting like ostriches are over. We need change now. We need to reduce our material consumption immediately. We need to decarbonise our whole energy system.  We need to eat less meat; our whole agriculture ecosystem needs to change.

I get frustrated by the slow progress on reducing emissions, I know frustration will not help. I get angry with the seeming lack of urgent concern of those in power. I also understand that even though reducing emissions seems simple it is not, it is a complex global problem. 

It is a sad fact we as a civilisation are still intensely reliant on fossil fuels, but there has never been a better time for transitioning to a clean zero carbon future. It will not be easy, but it is infinitely doable and well within our grasp.

Our new electric van is partly powered by solar panels on our packing shed roof, pure clean energy and we use it for delivery, it is possible.

I would like to say that I have a deep stirring of positivity as we head into winter, both for the farm and for the planet. I want to believe that we may be turning a corner and for the first-time people everywhere are rising to the challenge but are our leaders? Are our businesses doing what is necessary? Of this I am not so sure.

Will ours be the generation that will see an end to climate change? I want to believe it will be.

Thank you for your continued support!

Kenneth

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I Am Angry

Have you ever felt you just do not fit in, you seem to be going against the grain, that you are different?

This thought struck me as I spotted a lonely white cabbage amidst a sea of black kale today.  Not too dissimilar to ourselves I thought, an outsider, not quite in the right place, definitely not fitting in, being different and not really caring what others think.

Of course, the cabbage is just being a cabbage (and probably not thinking a whole lot about anything, it would be wrong of me to suggest otherwise!), but it started me thinking.  

I continued on my crop walk through the fields and I spotted the most amazing intricate display of spider’s webs on one of our kale plants, it seemed that nature was vibrating and shouting look, look at me I’m doing my thing and I am beautiful.

Nature just works. And we have so little idea of how this amazing and complex interwoven web of life works.  All of the natural world links together and works, it just does, and it is truly amazing. Nothing is forced, it all flows, a natural cycle of life and death, always moving always flowing.

Who are we to impose our will and ideas on this beautiful planet without due consideration for all that we share it with? Who are we to extract all that we can by processes that are clearly exploitive, driven by profit? The price is simply too great and is not acceptable.

When will we realise that our habit of constant and increasing consumption are doing irrevocable damage? That our actions are taking away something beautiful, something we all need to be sane in an increasing insane world and only when it is gone will we notice and then sadly it will be too late.

Some days I get so angry, and I am past caring what people think (I guess age brings certain benefits.) But I am angry, and you too have a right to be angry too with the way we as human beings exploit this gentle and strong and beautiful energy that is our Earth.

We cannot compromise in our decisions, and to an extent this is why, even though I am inextricably linked to the world of business, I don’t have to like it.  Practising mindful, conscious, ethical business in a world that is driven by excessive consumption and low prices is difficult, but it is possible, and we do it. 

We have always committed to growing food in the most sustainable manner possible and only sourcing food from the most sustainable suppliers and paying them fairly.  We have always maintained that this is the only way to farm and to do business.

Like the cabbage in the field of kale we are most definitely outsiders, most definitely the underdog. We have a long way to go, we don’t always get it right, we struggle with the challenges but every day we try a little harder and face the challenges and pain head on.

So, for the sake of our planet let’s get a little angry together and make some changes.

Thanks for joining our movement, let us be the channel for your energy.

Kenneth

Let us deliver sustainably grown and sourced fruits, vegetables and groceries to your door if you feel angry too.

There’s No Planet B

Our story this year has many parts to it. The planning and advice, the hard work and organisation of the farm team. The fertility and soil management, the weather and the birds and the bees have all played their part.

Our amazing team of packers, rising each morning sometimes at 4am to get to work at 5am to start packing your orders. Finally, having you our customers willing to supporting our farm and a whole bunch of good luck has got us through to another autumn, my 17th year growing vegetables and our 15th year in business.

Growing vegetables commercially is a tough endeavour and in the stony wet land of the West of Ireland it is particularly challenging.  

The skill and art of growing our food is so important and we need to preserve this knowledge. It is invigorating to see so many small-scale growers embrace sustainable growing.

Yet, many commercial growers are struggling, the work is too hard, the price for their produce is too low, the seasons (due to climate change) are unpredictable, and planning for a market that is ever changing and is sometimes 12 months in the future makes it a precarious undertaking indeed.

As with everything and it is no different in our food system, decisions based purely on financial gain with no regard for our environment are causing devastation to our planet.  

It is much easier for a large supermarket buyer to import cheap produce, grown abroad where labour is inexpensive and where very often the working conditions are poor, and the attention paid to biodiversity is scant than buy more expensive IRISH grown crops.  

I am glad we have you our customers and that we do not need to knock on supermarket doors to sell our produce.

Our harvest is overflowing, now we have parsnips, carrots, swedes, cabbage, leeks, celery, pumpkin, kale and Brussels sprouts, the last of the broccoli and the soon to start purple sprouting broccoli and the first time in 10 years we will have celeriac.

I think you might taste the flavour in your in your boxes, tell us if you do! You will also notice the size of all our crops, the warm September and a soil temperature that is 5C above normal means growth has continued well past when it should have slowed leading to bigger produce. 

The days are closing in now and the weather is wet and it should be cool, but as I write this, we have temperatures here in Galway of 17C and it is 8pm, is this climate change in action right here on our doorstep? 

Our promise is simple, “When you get a box from us you do not need to think about whether you are choosing sustainably, we promise you are”. 

Your support for us means our farm survives and thrives, our people stay in jobs, and we get to mind our little patch of land here in the West of Ireland sustainably.

Thank you

Kenneth