September was one of my busiest months for a long time, in between various jobs, I found myself flying to Jersey (with the Jersey Rugby Team no less, that made the 45 min flight more exciting!)
I was there with Whalar, Digital Think Tank, and Visit Jersey to teach at CAMPUS (where those from tourist industries from as far as Singapore to France meet to discuss all things travel and tourism) I ran two storytelling photography workshops with the theme; Farm to Fork. If you didn’t already know, Jersey is famous for their cows, dairy products and the Jersey Royal Potato.
My workshops ran over many hours and moved between various locations, one of which was Sprouts Farm. I absolutely loved this place and in my naïve, whimsical way wanted to share with you what I saw as kind farming. I know Vegan and Plant-Based are the words of the month, year and the future but I don’t think meat is going to go away and whilst I definitely, personally, want to increase the ratio of veg/plants to meat products I eat, when your daughter only eats fish fingers, it’s a real struggle at dinner time.
At the farm we met second generation farmer, Grace, who showed us around and explained the farms practises and beliefs.
At the time we visited, the mama pigs had just had their litter’s and were very protective of their incredibly cute babies, Grace explained that she kept them together until about 10 weeks, at more ‘traditional’ farms they are separated after 2 weeks which is distressing for everyone, by 10 weeks, the mama has pretty much decided they can go it alone, so the stress for both babies and mama is minimised.
The sows are all named, they have plenty of space and mud baths on tap and if I was a pig this looks like a happy place. They stay with Grace until they are 5 – which sounds to me like a long time – before they go to their pig sty in the sky.
The chickens are all egg laying, with the eggs sold at the market and again have plenty of space to roam. As well as the traditional products you think of coming from Jersey, Jersey also has an incredible range of lettuce and this is something that Sprouts Farm has growing in abundance. The colours of the leaves were like jewels they were so rich and vibrant.
As well as wanting to farm organically, Sprouts Farm changed direction in 2014 creating a project working with children and local schools to help change how children value food and what they eat. The project encourages children to get outside, get dirty and see how food gets to their plate, from seed to salad from chicken to boiled egg and soldiers. Something I feel passionately about, I really feel there’s not enough play, not enough being in nature and not enough space and time to slow down. Particularly for children of course, but for adults too.
I think we can all learn from Sprouts Farms initiative.
These are just my own thoughts, I wasn’t asked or paid to write about our visit. As a way forward through the land mines of food, farming, vegan politics and the mental health of everyone I thought Sprouts Farm was doing something that was worth sharing.