013: Owner/Managing Director of Greenheart, Elena Kinane

Elena KinaneOur guest today is a very passionate organic farmer that started growing her produce in the UAE desert. Her produce can be tasted in some of the best restaurants in the UAE. She is also an advocate for a sustainable, healthy and clean living.

Crazy birds, without any further ado, I would like to welcome, Elena Kinane.

Episode Highlights

[01:11] How did your journey start.

[02:12] I started with very small ways on my balcony.

[02:25] So I kind of went back in time and said ok how do I do this and I taught myself really how to do this for myself and in this climate that we are in.

[03:03] So I was raised on buckets of spinach and kale, we had kale then already and it was a real winter hardy vegetable so well before it became fashionable.

[03:34] When people like to talk about cost I always like to point out that food cost today is on an average 80% cheaper in real terms than it was 100 years ago.

[03:57] Meat was really a luxury. People were’t eating meat every day, really items such as chicken were a treat you know or turkey it was reserved for Christmas. We did not have them on a regular basis.

[04:38] People nowadays want to spend very little on food and more money on luxury goods.

[04:46] The reason why organic food is more expensive is, is because it is grown in the way it ought to be grown. In nutritious soil, it is grown by hand without chemicals and that takes longer.

[05:06] If you buy a handmade handbag from really good leather you would expect that to be more expensive to some that you buy on the high street in a cheap shop and it is very similar but the handbag that you buy that is handmade will last you a lot longer than the cheap bag and that is how you have to see it. If you eat good food it is an investment in your health.

[06:05] What do you guys do differently?

[06:52] Each chemical has only been tested by itself, not how it works with others. So the toxicity levels increase when they are put together.

[07:24] What we do is we enrich our soil naturally with compost made on the farm.

[08:15] In nature you always have a mixture of different things growing together you never have just one item.

[08:52] A lot of people are overweight but they are depleted in nutrients because they eat a lot of food but there are no nutrients in any of the food that they are eating.

[09:49] I think that consumers should always ask questions.

[09:53] What makes Greenheart different?

[10:32] Every item that you see here is hand-picked. There is nothing here that I wouldn’t eat that I am selling.

[11:05] I am a big advocate on double checking everything because you can’t rely on people that tell you this is organic, it is good for you, but that it not the case.

[12:31] It is about being part of this movement, you know we need to move, we can not continue to stick our head in the sand and think it will be ok, because it will not. We all need to do our bit.

[13:25] I would really question producers of organic food that wrap everything that they produce in a plastic tray with plastic foil, let it sweat there for starters.

[14:20] We don’t have any food waste.

[15:15] Every farm use to collect their own seeds themselves, they kept a quarter of what they grew for the next season.

[18:01] We need to just go back a step sometimes in order to advance.

[19:09] What was one of your most important decisions that you have made around mama earth?

Final Five

1. What is one social media platform that you follow?

38 Smiles

2. What is your hope for mama earth going forward?

 I just hope that people will wake up. I hope that people will learn to prioritize and see really what is important because I think we have lost the vision of what is important and what isn’t important.

3. What advise can you give our crazy birds this week to help out mama earth?

 Consumers are very powerful and we need to be aware of that and your decision, every decision that you makes count and inform yourself, be an informed consumer.  Don’t believe what people tell you. Double check, cross-check. 

4. What is one sustainability fact that you like to use in a room with people not yet on a sustainability journey?

 I would like to ask them how they see things in 10, 15 years time. How are we progressing? Where do they want to be? Where do they want to be with their children? How will they feed themselves? How will they live? What air will they breathe? What animals will they see? This is something that I do quite regularly, where do you want to go with this? Because lets face it we are all happy to spend money on a house, car, holidays, all of that but we are not willing to see where we are going to go as a society and that is really important I think as we can still fix a lot of things if we turn around now, but if we wait until it is too late then we won’t be able to fix it anymore. So we need to wake up now and make the change. 

5. Where can people find you?





Key Take Away

“ Consumers are very powerful and we need to be aware of that and your decision, every decision that you makes count and inform yourself, be an informed consumer.  Don’t believe what people tell you. Double check, cross-check. ” 

We often forget the power of our voices. If we always complain about produce being overpackaged and we complain about GMO and sugars in the food we purchase then we as individuals have the power to address this by voting with our money. We have the power not to purchase items that we feel strongly against and if we all start refusing to purchase and consume these items, the manufactures will have no choice but to make a positive change or find them in a situation where they would go out of business. Therefore do not compromise on what you believe in and rather support companies that share your philosophies as well and together fight for a more sustainable future.

About the author, Mariska

Hi and welcome! My name is Mariska. I am originally from South Africa, but now call the world my home. I am an artist, designer, environmentalist, podcast host and speaker.

I started the Mama Earth Talk podcast in 2018 to share some of the things that I learned about just how easy it can be to reduce your impact on the environment. This then quickly grew into a forum that showcases the amazing things that many people are doing to make the planet better, and further into a source of hope and inspiration for many. A few of the amazing guests include Zero Waste Queen, Bea Johnson, Claude Silver, Kathryn Kellogg and zero waste chef Max La Manna.

If you do not already I urge you to follow me and my journey on social media (@designbymariska), and to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot your own waste using the handy tips I post!

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