On 13 December, Cirrus Fine Coffee held a sustainable breakfast at its Port Melbourne roastery.
The breakfast brought together guests from the coffee industry, leading sustainability and urban farming organisations, journalists, and academics to discuss the potential for the coffee industry to make a positive contribution to greening our cities.
Specialty coffee roasted on-site while William Angliss College graduating student chefs prepared food with sustainable produce harvested from Cirrus Fine Coffee’s innovative on-site pop-up farm, which is powered by composted coffee grounds and chaff from the roastery.
Established only six weeks prior, guests were able to see the urban farm, spread over two car spaces, bursting with produce.
Based on data collected from Cirrus Fine Coffee’s previous trial gardens, the company is confident it can produce 300 kilograms of vegetables and herbs from its urban farm per annum.
“We can literally go a long way towards feeding a family with our urban farm the size of two car spaces. If we value that produce at around $10 per kilo, a pop-up farm of this size could produce around $3000 worth of fresh produce per annum. A significant amount of food from a tiny space,” says Cirrus Fine Coffee and Biofilta Director Brendan Condon.
A by-product of Australian coffee consumption is over 60,000 tonnes of coffee grounds per annum, the vast majority of which is destined for landfill where it breaks down to generate methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. These coffee grounds are rich in minerals and nutrients, and once composted, these coffee grounds can help transform cities into thriving food producing neighbourhoods.
Cirrus Fine Coffee has a vision that cafés can set up efficient pop-up urban farms themselves. This would enable them to produce fresh herbs and vegetables, divert organics from landfill, reduce food waste and food bills, and reduce food miles to food meters while creating beautiful productive landscapes to be enjoyed by their customers.
The Cirrus Fine Coffee pop-up farm utilises self watering wicking garden beds designed by their sister company Biofilta. The garden is self watering, low maintenance and holds enough water for a week in Summer and a month in Winter.
Cirrus Fine Coffee also partners with ReGround to divert coffee grounds from its café clients to community gardens.
Brendan foresees a growing demand from cafés, hotels and hospitality venues for better energy efficiency, to reduce energy bills and move towards lower cost carbon neutral operations. He introduced Donna Luckman, CEO of Renew, a leading national sustainability non-government organisation with a capability to consult to cafés and hospitality venues who are interested in energy efficient and carbon neutral operations.
“There are now a range of energy efficient technologies that are such as cool cooking technologies like all electric induction cooktops, efficient heat pump heating, cooling and hot water systems that can run on clean energy and reduce bills,” he says.
Leading venues like Vue De Monde are already using these systems.
Brendan encouraged guests to consider how the coffee industry can be part of closed loop sustainable systems.
“Cirrus Fine Coffee is showing that world class specialty coffee and a sustainable planet can be in sync. Our coffees are the gift that gives twice – they provide great enjoyment to our customers, and coffee grounds for wonderful urban farms that deliver a multitude of benefits.”
For more information, visit www.cirrusfinecoffee.com.au