29th May 2018

Promoting sustainability in Ireland

Project Home Grown is a unique initiative from Compass Group Ireland with the support of their dedicated team of Irish farmers.

Farmer John Thorne has grown these Druid, Orla and Setanta varieties of potatoes with a focus on sustainability and biodiversity.

Being grown in natural chicken manure, John’s principal fertiliser, allows us to reduce our carbon footprint and minimise our chemical usage. The revival of heritage varities enables us to reduce the Irish over-reliance on a single potato type, engendering increased biodiversity, and the cultivation of sturdier, tastier spuds.

Planted alongside the potato drills are long stretches dedicated to wildflowers, encouraging natural pollinators such as butterflies and bees, which are fast becoming endangered, to thrive.

An additional 1 metre verge is set aside around the fields to act as a natural corridor for small mammals and invertebrates to pass through. Nature is a space shared by all species.

Through this initiative we hope not only to do our bit for biodiversity and sustainability but also to kick- start sustainable behaviours across the industry. Sustainable sourcing is everyone’s responsibility, so thank you for becoming part of this commitment to change

Take a look at this video highlighting our Project Home Grown sustainability programme in Ireland.

We’re enthusiastic advocates for locally and ethically sourced produce and proud supporters of our suppliers and communities because we’re passionate about creating regionally inspired dishes that showcase the best of traditional and modern Irish food. From farm to fork, natural larder to naturally good food, culinary excellence is absolutely at our heart.

Good for the environment is also good for business

Rooster are the most recognised brand in Ireland but the genetics for this are owned by the Irish Potato Marketing Board – IPMB. Everyone is producing the same potato variant which is really bad for biodiversity across the country and is proven to be damaging to the environment.

The volumes we’re growing will cover around 10-15% of our total Ireland potato usage for the first year. There’s a mix of late and mid-season variants, red and white, but they are all multi-purpose and easy-peel low-eye variants. Having three variants also reduces our risk exposure to poor yield, disease or pest damage.

The farmers we’re working with are bored of doing the same potatoes as everyone, producing the same product and selling at the same price controlled by the IPMB.

By building a three year agreement with Compass Group Ireland, it allows them to invest and build a new improved potato store to guarantee us, and our customers, better quality products throughout the year and secure his farm as a viable business for the years to come.

Compass has decided to invest in reducing its reliance on the rooster with a 5 year plan to shift our consumption to the Druid, Orlagh and Setanta. Funding the potatoes’ cultivation in Leinster, in the first year we hope to sate at least 10% of our consumption with the new potatoes. Increasing the percentage with each passing year.

Our dedicated Druid famer John  has started growing the sturdy breeds in Ballybriggan, Dublin.

Compass Ireland are actively supporting local Irish farmers, not just talking about it. We’re serious about sustainability.

Take a look at our broader sourcing strategies in Ireland.