Sustainability is a key part of our business philosophy at Green Olive at Red Hill, winery and olive grove, and we are continually working to make our farm more environmentally friendly to improve the quality of our produce, protect the native animal species that live near us and the planet as a whole. Since our last blog post on sustainability, we have made a huge investment in a piece of equipment that has allowed us to radically improve our sustainability practices on the farm.
The enrich360® was created to combat the billions of kilograms of food waste that end up in landfill annually. When food waste is sent to landfill, methane is released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that, along with CO2, are major causes of climate change. Emission of methane has increased by 15% since 1750, with the majority of these emissions coming from the agricultural sector. We are always considering the impact our farm and restaurant have on the environment and aware of the huge difference we can make by farming in a more sustainable way. It is with this in mind that we decided to make an investment in the sustainability of our farm and purchase an enrich360®, a machine that turns food waste into fertiliser.
Green Olive at Red Hill is an enrich360 Certified Farm and Gold Certified for Food and Waste.
How does it work?
The enrich360® recycles food waste into fertiliser through a process that includes dehydration, sterilisation and volume reduction. Food waste produced in the restaurant and from the farm gardens is simply put into the machine without any additives and the enrich360® works its magic. The product is a pellet of fertiliser, 80 to 93% smaller than the original waste volume. All food can be put into the machine which means we have significantly reduced our waste going to landfill.
This means we can now compost:
- All food waste from the restaurant such as food left on visitor’s plates and bread scraps
- All food waste from the kitchen such as vegetable scraps, peels and off cuts
- Green garden waste
- Coffee grinds
We have also swapped to 100% compostable napkins for visitors and compostable paper towel for use by staff in the kitchen. This means that we can put all napkins and paper towels into the enrich360® instead of sending them to landfill.
Tastier, healthier produce
By using enrich360®, we are able to give nutrients back to the soil that are removed when produce is harvested. This reduces the need for chemical fertilisers which cause a lot of problems including: harmful effects on aquatic flora and fauna due to chemical runoff, increased air pollution and depletion of nutrients from the soil, reducing the quality of produce grown in the soil. By using a natural fertiliser made from the produce that was actually grown in the soil, we eliminate the need for chemical fertilisers and the natural process of decomposition can occur. This means we can give nutrients back to the soil which helps improve the nutritional value and tastiness of the produce! It also means that we are able to continue the cycle of paddock-to-plate back to paddock again, continuing the natural life cycle of our produce, and ultimately making our farming practice more sustainable.
Running a sustainable business
We are proud to be a Sustainable Tourism Accredited Business with the Australian Tourism Industry Council. These are some of the other ways that our farm is sustainable:
Solar panel program
We have 10 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels that generate a large portion of our power used for things such as lights, cool-rooms and kitchen appliances. Photovoltaic panels use solar cells to capture energy from the sun and generate it into electricity through a process called photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic panels are a source of clean energy which means they don’t create air pollution and are renewable which means they aren’t a finite resource that will eventually run out, differing from unclean, non-renewable energy sources such as coal or oil.
Rain water capture
We have systems in place to capture rain water as this is the only supply of drinking water on the property, and is the most sustainable way to get our water for the farm. All water used on the property is stored in two large, above-ground tanks that can each store 100,000 L of water captured in the eaves of our buildings. Our new roof over the deck has allowed us to double the capacity of water that we’re capturing and storing. This fresh rain water is then used for drinking, in the kitchen, and at our house.
Waste water treatment plant
All irrigation for the farm comes from the large dam that collects water from the natural spring and general water runoff. All waste water is processed naturally. We treat waste water in an Aerator Treatment Plant which breaks water up into small droplets so that it makes contact with the air, helping get rid of bacteria and carbon dioxide. The treated water is then irrigated onto the paddocks through a process called Subsurface Irrigation. A Subsurface Irrigation System features thin pipes that run just under the surface of the ground and drip the treated water into the ground. This system is quite sustainable because the water directly reaches the roots of the plants meaning that we don't waste water through further runoff.
Reducing single-use plastic
We are so proud to say that we have been straw free for 1 year! We took the #StrawNoMore pledge and banned straws at the farm in an effort to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that we send to landfill.
We hope this blog post about our sustainability practices has given you some ideas on how you can do your bit to help create a sustainable business or home. Feel free to chat to our staff about sustainability practices on the farm including our new enrich360®, as this is an area that we are really passionate about and we love sharing our deep knowledge of sustainability.
For more information and tips on sustainability visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au