Any product has to be made somehow, therefore, by definition, the terms 'Planet-friendly', 'Eco-friendly', or 'Zero-Waste', are, in my opinion, misleading. Whether the by-product is human labour, or post-use recycling/waste, there is still an impact on the planet, and it's resources.
The reason I chose to only stock 'natural' wines, that is to say, wines made with absolute respect for the earth, specifically the soil system, is that this is one way to reduce the strain on the earth. Good farming practices also help to fix carbon in the soil, it's a double whammy!
To this end, I spend a lot of time sourcing products that are made by real people, with sound ethical practices. Some of these products aid conservation, and are sourced directly from Italy or Greece, however I aim to keep the bulk of my fare from local producers. It's really about finding the balance of business operation vs care for the planet.
Member of Kiss The Ground Movement
The Gallery is Ireland's first member of the ‘KISS THE GROUND’ network, a global movement of regenerative farming.
As a result of erosion over the past 40 years, 30% of the world’s arable land has become unproductive. About 60% of soil that is washed away ends up in rivers, streams and lakes, increasing the risks of flooding and intensifying water contamination from fertilizers and pesticides runoff. Sustainable land use can help to reduce the impacts of agriculture and livestock, preventing soil degradation and erosion and the loss of valuable land to desertification.
Social solutions in this new world
Feel better by being able to keep a safe distance both inside and outside my venue. Use the hand sanitizer on the way in please and be mindful of keeping to guidelines with regards to distancing and personal hygiene. I also invite you practice gratitude and kindness in my bar.
An ethical business from the ground up
The Gallery sets the benchmark in ethically sound business practices, uses wind powered energy for hosting for this website, focuses on local, organic and small-scale producers, and aims to 'Be the Change' by doing. All wines are nurtured using biodynamic or organic principles.
Ireland's First Natural Wine Bar
Spearheaded by groups such as; 'The Gang of Four' (a group of winemakers vowing to use only grapes), and with cult followers throughout the world, 'natty' wines became the obvious and only choice for me, opening up a rabbit hole inside Pandora's wine box!
All the wines I sell are, at the very minimum, organically farmed. Most are biodynamic (a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition), and many are simply just grapes and nothing more, grown using regenerative farming practice.
I now stock one the most diverse collection of natural wines in Ireland, carrying a few wines from some of the most cult, rare and unique vineyards and wine curators on the planet. A demonstration of my love to share good quality wine and food, along with the passion of their makers, with my customers.
Ireland's first Palm Oil free menu?
Why The Gallery says ‘NO’ to Palm Oil?
Palm oil is a globally traded agricultural commodity that is used in 50 percent of all consumer goods, from lipstick and packaged food to body lotion and biofuels. Approximately 85 percent of palm oil is grown in the tropical countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) on industrial plantations that have severe impacts on the environment, forest peoples and the climate.
Why is Salmon removed from the menu?
Please read the following article about salmon farming!
I also took wild salmon off the menu due to their decline in numbers, we use Goatsbridge Trout as they are farmed in earthen ponds that replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible, living a happy life. Click the salmon image below for an interesting Guardian article about it.
First to ban avocado in Ireland?
Initially, I was thinking to remove this humble fruit, at least until a more appropriate supplier, i.e. more sustainable, closer to Ireland and organic (obviously!) source could be found. However, I have decided that it is simpler to just take it off the menu entirely, and that’s without going into all the chemicals sprayed on the huge-scale of these crops, and the colossal amount of water required to produce just 1kg of them. (It takes up to 1,000 litres of water to grow just 1 kg of avocados–roughly 3 avocados.)
It wasn’t until recently that I came across a few documentaries, whilst researching my film nights, about the negative impact of the avocado, not only on the planet, but also it’s people, effectively the planet too, we’re all little planets after all, making up a universe of the earth!
Anyway the short and tall is that I am taking the avocado off the menu. It’s interesting how long the road is, in terms of my own journey into food, and the paths that our food takes to reach us are incredible and sometimes totally unnecessary.
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE ENDORSED BIRD FRIENDLY ORGANIC FAIRTRADE COFFEE
Many customers say The Gallery's Coffee is the best they have tasted. It is from the most environmentally sensitive coffee coops in the world. It is Ireland's only SMITHSONIAN INSTITUE ENDORSED 'Bird-Friendly' coffee, oh, and it's Fairtrade and organic too! Ground to order using the ultra special NICHE COFFEE GRINDER and extracted through a TRADITIONAL LEVER PULL ITALIAN COFFEE MACHINE, and available with hot water, organic milk, organic cream and organic chocolate as required. We filter the water and each coffee is blessed with love. Prior to serving, we ask that the the great universe installs a certain slice of nice into your brew. Good Karma!
The Gallery is the first coffee shop in Ireland to ban any single use takeaway cups!
The Gallery Café, Wine & Tapas Bar in Westport, now only sells ‘take-away’ coffee in either recycled (jam) jars or ceramic mugs (if suited). I have read several articles over the course of this last year that have spurred me to make this move. I believe that we are the first café / wine bar / coffee shop to do so in Ireland!
Le me explain. Headlines such as ‘guilt free coffee’ or ‘environmentally friendly coffee’, just because a company or organisation has started using biodegradable takeaway cups, are quite simple, untrue and equally misleading. How can a single use product, that uses the earth’s resources, be deemed ‘environmentally friendly’? This is pure irony. Any product that has a toll, no matter how small on the planet, by definition, can only be referred to as ‘Less Environmentally Damaging’ (a term I coined over ten years ago). Even a biodegradable cup has to be manufactured and transported in the first place! It makes zero sense.
Take away coffee, the clue is in the phrase! The Gallery sells LED products, so if you’d like your Bird-Friendly coffee in a take away cup, please, bring your own, or feel free to get one in a super stylish, and LED, (without the flashing lights) up-cycled jam jar, or just take one of my donated cups! Click here for an older post about biodegradable plastics. It’s from 2010 and let’s hope that tech has moved on since then to manufacture better quality and more widely and effective biodegradable products, still, less is more, just don’t create the need for a take away cup in the first place!
Regenerative agriculture has at its core the intention to improve the health of soil or to restore highly degraded soil, which symbiotically enhances the quality of water, vegetation and land-productivity” *Rhodes, (2017).
I believe the role of wine growers, especially the huge, economy-orientated ones, can have a massive positive impact on the environment and on people's mindset in general, in terms of how they view wine, and make the links between healthy soils and healthy mind/body/soul. Without going to deep into the subject and 'hippyfying' it, painting the ecological benefits with the narrative of regenerative agriculture through the canvas of wine is a simple and effective way of educating and recruiting new members into the guild of Earth stewards.
Tom Ramwell, (2021).
If you would like to subscribe to The Gallery's ETHICAL MONTHLY GIFT BOX service, please click the button below. You can choose to include:
- Natural Wines
- Ethical Food
- Second Hand Books
- Vinyl Records
- Gift set of postcards
plus a host of other exciting and innovative products and services!