This afternoon a customer asked me a question that was music to my ears.
‘What happens to the surplus fruit and veg here?’
After spending months asking the same questions to businesses across London, and getting a variety of dodgy replies, I had been looking forward to hearing the question myself, and I was really proud to answer; ‘We don’t really have any surplus here’.
Most shops and supermarkets work on the principle that consumers want unlimited choice during all opening hours, and so overstock their shelves up to closing hour. When the doors shut, the bin lids open, and tonnes of tonnes of good food gets thrown out. Shop managers can be excused of this when operating within an economic system that favours, even demands, profit at all costs.
Here at Gold Hill, we think about things a little differently. The size of our business allows us to pick our produce as and when needed. Are we out of spinach? Let me just get some more from the plot for you. If and when there is a little produce left over, it becomes our edible reward after a long day’s work, or it becomes a tasty fresh treat for our cows! Our customers are not mere consumers; you are our friends. We are able to stock what you need, and no more. This is the power of local, relational economy.
I believe that if there were more small local producers, selling through small local retailers, we’d feed the nation more efficiently, and incur less waste.
I can see that at work before my eyes as I manage the shop here at Gold Hill. Those who give their custom to the multinational supermarkets don’t see the detriment of that industrial style of food industry. But similarly, those who shop at small independent retailers might not see the benefit that their custom incurs. Well, hopefully this post sheds light on one of the many benefits; food waste is not a concept at Gold Hill Organic Farm.