We, as a family, and as a business, fully respect the decision to follow a plant-based diet. We believe we share many concerns with those who have chosen that route. However, we also believe that there is such a thing as an “ethical carnivore” and that the farming of livestock is an important part of Ireland’s heritage, of Ireland’s ability to feed its population with food produced here on our own shores, and that properly managed livestock farming can actually benefit the environment.
We also believe that a lot needs to change. Animal welfare needs to be made a priority over profit; quality and nutritional value over yield; and an understanding of the ways in which farming can reduce its impact on, and even benefit our fragile eco-system needs to be re-learned. Farmers, and this way of farming, need to be properly supported by the food industry and government bodies. Consumers can help farmers by applying pressure and demanding wholesome, ethically produced food at an affordable cost.
As organic farmers, and food retailers, we are trying to make a small contribution to this way of thinking. We will be ever vigilant in ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare on our farm, our partner producer farms, and in our abattoir. We will establish an annual, independent audit of our animal husbandry and welfare guarantees and publish the results.
We will support rare and native breeds, including continuing to build our own Dexter Cattle herd.
We will work to conserve and enhance biodiversity on our farms, through our farming methods and conservation measures.
We will benchmark net carbon emissions on the farm and in the Farm Kitchens, and work towards achieving a carbon neutral business. We will publish our progress and our results.
We aim to make ongoing research and development an integral part of our business model. We will seek out partnerships with academic institutions and research students to conduct and facilitate research that can be fed back into our mission, aims and goals on an ongoing basis. Research topics might include:
- Benefits of organic farming and small scale food production versus mainstream systems
- Organic farming best practice
- Abattoir management best practice
- Environmental impact of our farms, farming systems and our retail and restaurant trades
- Grassland management and carbon sequestration
- Soil management and fertility in organic systems
- Nutritional value of our products and menus
- Nutritional benefits of grass-fed versus grain fed meats
- Bio-diversity protection on the farms
- Food-provenance transparency methods and systems
We will promote our research findings and network with other like-minded businesses, to contribute to public consultations and make submissions on local, national and European government policy.
We will seek to incorporate green, energy saving technologies, fuels and sustainable materials into our building and shop-fit designs and our trading and farming practices.
We will establish an internal Green Working Group tasked with reviewing and improving our carbon footprint, environmental impact, food waste and use of non-sustainable materials like single-use plastics, on an ongoing basis.
We will seek out and adopt best practice. We will look for external audit verification of our progress through signing up to schemes like, for example, the Sustainable Restaurant Association Programme.
To be a commercially astute business that seeks to maximise sales and profits through:
- Excellent financial management
- Re-investing profits in the business to make it as good as it can be
- Transparency in our financial dealings including publishing results on our website
- Maintaining Integrity and Accountability
- Fostering excellence and rewarding performance
- Paying competitive and responsible salaries bench-marked against industry
- Driving the business forward through innovation
- Responding to market trends and changes
- Managing Risk effectively
- Seeking out opportunities for growth within the framework set by our financial, social and environmental goals and ruling out those which compromise those goals