Tuesday 18 February 2020A Circular Food System in Theory
A Circular Food System in Theory
In the past, when the world’s population was far smaller than it is today, food production was simpler. People hunted, grew and processed their own food. If they had a surplus, they traded for goods they couldn’t make themselves. Even in times of plenty, food was highly valued and never wasted. Every edible scrap was consumed and what was inedible went towards nourishing livestock or fertilizing the land. This is an example of a circular food system, where the end of the cycle (waste) is connected directly with the start (cultivation).
As populations grew and urbanisation spread, food production had to be reimagined. People living in cities could no longer produce food for themselves, so the responsibility was delegated first to farmers then to industrial-scale manufacturers. Output had to be big and efficient, so processes became more and more specialised. Raw resources were exploited for the production of a single foodstuff and what were known as ‘by-products’ simply went to waste. This ‘grow à use à throw’ philosophy is an example of a linear food system where the end and beginning of the cycle are unconnected.
Why does Duynie Feed UK support circularity?
Here at Duynie, we’re striving to make a circular food system the norm again. Why? Because it’s the only sustainable way to feed ourselves and maintain the planet’s natural resources. If we borrow inspiration directly from nature and use resources in a circular manner, waste becomes an input for new growth.
In our business, circularity works like this: arable farmers grow crops (cereals, fruit and vegetables), which are made into products (beer, bread and chips). Co-products left over after production (spent grains, potato peels) become nutritious animal feeds. The animals produce meat and milk, as well as manure. The meat and milk feeds humans, while the manure fertilises the land used by arable famers.
This is a ‘closed-loop’ cycle, with each stage clearly connected to the next. For it to function, each link is critical and has a responsibility to fulfil. Livestock farmers are critical to the balance of the cycle – by grazing animals on land not suitable for cultivation and supplementing rations with co-product feeds, they complement human food production rather than competing with it. In turn, Duynie fulfils a critical function by closing the loop between human and animal food production.
How does circularity inspire Duynie’s business?
The Duynie Feed UK process is a simple one: we use ‘co-products’ (which may otherwise go to waste) from the food and beverage industries to make highly effective, palatable and nutritious animal feeds. This has a range of benefits:
-it makes full and efficient use of resources and avoids unnecessary wastage
-it reduces energy and inputs required to grow and produce animal feed from scratch
-it frees up land to be used for human food production
These benefits work together, each acting as a link in a sustainable, circular food system.