CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND THE 2030 AGENDA
The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.
In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible thanks to recycling. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value. This means, on one hand, eliminating waste – composting biodegradable waste or, if it’s a transformed and non-biodegradable waste, reusing, remanufacturing and finally recycling it. On the other hand, it also means cutting off the use of chemical substances (a way to help regenerate natural systems) and betting on renewable energy.
A ‘circular agriculture economy’ proposes a viable model for the current linear economy “take-make-waste” approach by minimizing the amount of external inputs for agricultural production, closing nutrient loops and reducing negative impacts to the environment by eliminating discharges (i.e. wastewater) and surface runoff. A Circular Economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.
Under the lens of the circular economy, At Adventure Farm we offer a multitude of opportunities from primary production using precision agriculture techniques, to the recycling and utilization of agricultural wastes and materials (i.e. reuse of plastic container, reuse of milk boxes to plant seedlings). We took a Permaculture Design Course and became enthusiastic about how agriculture could actually be regenerative instead of destructive.
Organic wastes including food waste, crop stalks and stubble (stems), leaves, seed pods and animal waste are usually produced throughout farming activities. These wastes are the cheapest resource that can be used by any farmer to manage safely and then convert into bio fertilizer products. The use of bio fertilizer adds nutrients to promote plant growth, maintain soil fertility and sustainability, ensuring the production of safe and healthy food. This provides us an economically viable support to realize the ultimate goal of increasing productivity and sustainability. It is also a cost-effective and renewable source that potentially supplements inorganic fertilizers.
We generate a stream of water that has already been used, for domestic and agricultural production purposes. This stream of water represents a waste product which must be either disposed of safely or re-used as a resource. Apart from its value as water, it also contains nutrients which benefits our agricultural production. Animal production operations generate a substantial amount of wastewater which is rich in organic matter containing macro and micro nutrients important to agriculture. After being properly managed/treated, agricultural wastewater is safely used in plant production.
Drainage flows is an important asset in water management. Losses in one place is inputs for other areas. The presence of recycling substantially eases the upstream management problem by allowing less precision in distribution, knowing that any surplus will not be lost. Return-flow systems where drainage and surplus irrigation are channeled back to the irrigation network itself represents an opportunity for us to store positive perturbations, for example to harvest rainfall.
There is also an approach by composting organic wastes to become fertilizer. The fertilizer is then used in farming, which is done to produce food for the restaurant and the remnants fed to the animals. With the input resources of organic wastes, mainly composed of vegetable and fruit wastes, we produce organic fertilizer and livestock feed by utilizing earthworms in vermicomposting.. The worms consume vegetable and fruit wastes, and then their biological wastes are processed to become organic fertilizer. The worm later is processed to become fish and livestock feed.
As we utilize the wastes from other agro-food supply chains and provide resources for said supply chain, it can be said that Adventure Farm is a key actor for implementation of circular economy concepts. Curbing and converting the agro-food waste into new materials or products that instill the principles of reuse, repair and recycling that help local economies by generating a stream of profit and, in the long term, by reducing environmental damage.