Could carbon reducing carbs be the way to a greener future?

By Edd Lees, Co-founder, Wildfarmed

It can be more than a little overwhelming to think about how we might unravel this whole climate disaster we find ourselves in. There’s no doubt we all feel some responsibility to do what’s best for the planet, while also keeping business afloat, people employed and customers happy.

At Wildfarmed, we’re trying to make things a little easier to digest. Quite literally breaking it down to bite size chunks.

What if we could all directly participate in reversing the effects of climate change by making better (and tastier) decisions about the food we eat? Could it be that simple?

Let’s think about it for a second. Naturally farmed earth sinks and stores carbon. When it’s ploughed (or tilled) or left bare, carbon is released back into the atmosphere. But when we intervene as little as possible and allow more plant cover, we build healthier soil and keep more carbon locked underground.

The truth is that without action, 90% of the world’s soil will be significantly degraded by 2050. With so much farmland given over to intensive arable crops (772 million metric tonnes of wheat was produced globally last year, enough to fill Wembley Stadium 200,000 times over), perhaps one way to make some serious climate change gains is by finding a better way to farm cereals.

If we can help farmers shift to a more climate-friendly system for producing wheat, then maybe we can start to make a difference via the 13 million loaves of bread we buy every day in the UK. And that’s just the start… What if every pizza, pie, croissant and doughnut counted toward a more sustainable future?

With the pressure on to become a carbon zero nation by 2050, there’s no doubt we need solutions that are ready to go now. We’ve worked hard to develop a range of flours that exceed expectations on taste and which bakers and chefs can be confident will consistently deliver a good result.

One of our early adopters was Ollie Dabbous, the genius behind Michelin-starred restaurant, HIDE. When Ollie saw how we were farming population wheat in a thriving ecosystem (as opposed to bare soil), he knew we were on to something truly transformational. He has been serving their daily bread using Wildfarmed flour, ever since.

Ollie says: “It is important for us to use producers that nurture the environment, otherwise their product will never be palatable, no matter how delicious. It is just as important that the producers create something that is irrefutably delicious and a joy to work with for our chefs.

“Using ingredients such as the Wildfarmed flour benefits both customers and staff alike. Aside from training young chefs to be technically talented, I also want them to leave HIDE with a respect for the environment and an appreciation for all the toil that goes into creating amazing ingredients, no matter how seemingly humble, before it arrives at our kitchen door.”

We know that our success will depend on the people who know how to turn our flour into delicious products. And while hospitality has had a devastating time of late, it also feels like the industry is forging a new path.

We’ve been truly excited by the take-up of Wildfarmed, it’s a product chefs and bakers genuinely love working with and can appreciate for its long-term, positive impact on our environment.

Claire Nye, of Marmadukes bakery in Sheffield, says: “Wildfarmed flour is so unique and special, whilst the grain has health benefits for our bodies, it also benefits the planet too by reintroducing biodiversity into the soil. We want our customers to understand that food can help affect widespread change, and Wildfarmed brings the environment and sustainability together in a symbiotic way that not many other products do.”

Essentially, Wildfarmed is a marketplace that rewards everyone involved – farmer, miller, baker, chef, customer. It allows consumers to participate directly in restoration of farmland via the purchase of 100% traceable, nutritious food, grown by farmers who have adopted a chemical-free, carbon positive path.

We need to spread the message far and wide, and convince customers that by choosing these products, they become activists, part of the solution. That every time they buy food, they shape the future of the planet. When they see “Wildfarmed” on a menu, they can trust they’re making a good choice.

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