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It is hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of another year. It has been a difficult year full of ups and downs and certainly there were plenty of challenges to overcome. But when we reflect - we realise what an amazing year it has been!
In February, we moved into our brand-new packing facility – powered by solar panels – the greenest energy possible that YOU helped us to achieve. A huge thank you to every single person who donated to our crowdfunding appeal to install 64 PV solar panels on the roof of our building and a rainwater harvesting system so that we can water the plants in our tunnels using clean West of Ireland rainwater.
Then a few weeks later – the country was hit with the ‘Beast from the East’ – and everything came to a complete standstill, we were snowed in, a logistical and financial nightmare. Our dedicated team worked around the clock to make sure that the business kept going, that customers got their food as quickly (and safely) as we possibly could. In Galway, the farm team worked flat out to get you the freshest produce – right out of the ground. The boxes were exclusively seasonal and local that week – and you never complained, you were right there behind us, supporting us and donating orders to charity to help us to keep the business afloat. In Dublin, the snow was unprecedented - our drivers were incredible, their commitment and perseverance in the face of adversity was first class.
In March, we said goodbye to plastic for good – we were the first company to do that in Ireland. We sourced compostable plant based bags, we launched our ‘Plastic Free’ shopping aisle and we made a commitment to never include any plastic wrapped produce in any of our set boxes ever again. Over the coming months, we expanded the range, adding lots more sustainable ‘plastic free’ groceries and just last week, we introduced a new BULK section of plastic free groceries – even better value.
At the start of July and in less than nine months we had the third climate change related disaster, a 6 week period of soaring temperatures and serious drought where we lost plantings of broccoli carrots and more due to the lack of water.
In August, we ran our very first ever ‘Sustainability & Food Festival’ – a free, educational foodie event that was attended by hundreds of people. The event was a success – A huge thank you to everyone who made it possible – especially to the stall holders who braved the weather and to the guest speakers and musicians who donated their time for free. We were inspired by what we learned at the event and we hope that you can make it to the next one.
I will never forget our very first season of growing veg here in the West of Ireland on my grand-dad's farm. We were told we were mad it couldn't be done, others told us that the only way to grow veg was to use a "touch of Roundup" our neighbour wanted to buy the farm and pretty much laughed at our attempts to learn to grow veg. The local garda called up to see if we were growing strange things!
Myself and Jenny left our very comfortable and well paid jobs in the UK because we wanted to do something we really believed in.
Your support, my family, our team and that belief has managed somehow to get us to where we are today. The week before Christmas for the first time ever we delivered just short of 1000 boxes! (our first delivery was 26 boxes in 2006)
So much of our existence on this planet depends on how we treat the soil, we take it for granted and mostly we never have any reason to think about it. The same sentiment holds true for the climate; it is not until something starts to have a direct and immediate impact on our lives do we take notice.
Our wish for 2019 is that more people put the environment at the top of their priority list, vote green, buy green, support local, drive less, eat less meat and dairy, ditch the plastic and talk about it to everybody!
Kenneth & Jenny
P.S. ‘Why planting trees can change our world’ a talk given by Donal Chambers at our Sustainability festival really inspired us. So we will plant a tree in your name on our farm and best of all, you can visit it when you come to our next Open Day and we’ll post your name on our ‘Virtual tree wall’ on our website. To take part in this initiative, just use the coupon code ‘tree’ on all orders (over €50) from now until the 4th January . Each one of us can make a difference in the world, and together we can change it. Let’s do it!