Nature and the Environment

Words by Sammy Hemmings

As The Tahona Society Collective Spirit’s competition deadline approaches, we explore Nature and the Environment, the last category your concept may fall into. You have until 31 August to submit your initiative. The 10 finalists will fly out to Mexico in November to compete for the $50,000 prize fund.

Nature and the environment, the last category we'll be exploring in the competition, asks us to look after our environment. But what does this mean on a practical level? It could be anything from the ethical treatment of animals to using sustainable crops for ingredients and renewable resources.

Here we explore some case studies which we hope will inspire you to submit an original idea you'd like to see implemented in our industry.

Discover the story of Growing Underground in the video above, then read on to find out how two sustainable businesses focused on nature and the environment.

Growing Underground

Beneath the streets of Clapham, in a WW2 bunker, is the urban farm Growing Underground. The business was founded in 2012, on three principles: sustainability, utilising technology and the concern of how we will feed the growing population.

Growing Underground became a solution to supply the growing demand for food by producing fresh microgreens from renewable energy. The business has shortened the journey of produce to consumer, supplying their greens to local people and businesses, thereby reducing reliance on imported crops.

The business encourages sustainable growing practices. The urban farm uses self-sustaining hydroponic systems and LED technology. This uses 70% less water than traditional open-field farming. But also, the underground crops are grown all year round in a pesticide-free environment. With continued plans, they are working towards carbon neutral certification as well.

Richard, co-founder of Growing Underground recommends stepping into entrepreneurship with a partner, saying it's much more fun to run a business as a team. His advice to those seeking out success in new markets is you'll "hit hurdles daily and it's about dealing with them head on and overcoming them, and that's the key to entrepreneurship and running a business."

Borgo Santo Pietro

Borgo Santo Pietro is a luxury five-star hotel situated in the scenic mountains of Tuscany. The estate offers guests a chance to retreat in luxury, among sustainable practices and environmentally friendly operations. The hotel encourages sustainability and uses natural resources as much as possible.

The estate is also a 200-acre organic farm, maintaining the surrounding woodland to avoid soil erosion. They produce biodynamic food which is organic and fresh and use these products daily in their restaurant. The farm has free-range chickens, honeybees and alpacas, and collects milk from their sheep to produce cheese and yoghurt.

Borgo Santo Pietro values sustainable living and encourages the ethical treatment of animals and in doing so prove it's certainly feasible to run a successful sustainable business. So surely, more of us should be following suit.

Get Involved

Now we've fuelled you with barrels of inspiration on the competition's five categories, find out how to submit your winning idea. The trip to Mexico awaits, with the $50,000 prize fund within your grasp. You only have until 31 August.

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