In the last 6 months, we have worked hard on further improving our sustainability practices. Our major achievements have been making a start on building two more paddocks for our kitchen produce and doubling our capacity for rain water capture with a new roof. In this blog post, we’ll show you how these new improvements to our sustainability program work with practices that we’ve already implemented to help us run a sustainable business.
Kitchen Produce Paddock
When we first opened our farm kitchen in 2010, we knew it was important that we used produce that was as fresh and as sustainable as possible, so we built our Kitchen Garden where we grew fresh ingredients such as beetroot, tomato and many other seasonal vegetables as well as a wide variety of herbs to use in our tapas dishes. Now that we’ve grown as a business and the community of people who visit us at the farm has expanded, we’ve realised the need to increase the amount of produce that we grow. So in September last year, we ploughed up a paddock, built long, wooden planter boxes and planted a variety of seasonal vegetable plants. This means we now have our original Kitchen Garden as well as a Kitchen Produce Paddock which together, supply us with most of the produce that we in our kitchen. This is the most sustainable way to run our kitchen; there are zero carbon miles wasted since all we need to do is walk over to the paddock, pick what we need and walk back to the kitchen! We’ve found that it’s worked so well that we’re setting up to create two more paddocks to grow more fresh produce for our dishes.
Solar Panel Program
Another way we practise sustainability is through our 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. We are currently looking into the options of a further 50 kilowatts of solar energy that may include some ground mounted was well as roof mounted panels.
Rain Water Capture & Waste Water Treatment Plant
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 it in our for drinking, in the kitchen, and at our house.
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.
Composting & Living, Breathing Vacuum Cleaners!
Most leftovers from our kitchen we feed to our free range Isa Brown Chooks who are like our own little vacuum cleaners! There are certain foods such as avocados or onions that aren’t good for chooks, so any leftovers that don’t go to them, we compost in a composting bin with chook manure. We also shred any paper waste that we have and mix this and coffee grinds it in the composting bin. This compost we use in our Kitchen Produce Paddock to provide extra nutrients to our herbs and vegetables growing there.
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. If you visit us and see an opportunity for another sustainable practice that we can implement, please let us know as we are always working to try and improve our sustainability.