Mossgiel Organic Farm
The organic dairy farm using coffee grounds to revolutionise the milk industry.
Who are they?
Mossgiel Organic Farm, based in East Ayrshire, is a regenerative dairy farm, famous for once being the home of Robert Burns. Now, the farm is home to 45 Ayrshire cows who produce delicious organic milk.
Bryce Cunningham took over his family farm in 2013, the same year that the milk price collapsed and the farm went bankrupt. He realised the farm would have to try something different if it was going to continue to exist. Mossgiel completely innovated its farming practice to become one of the very few organic dairy farms in Scotland.
The farm’s ethos is to be self-sustaining and work as closely with nature as possible. In practise, this includes working towards 100% renewable energy, maintaining a high standard of animal welfare, not using any artificial or chemical fertilisers, and buying raw milk from other farmers to brew, pasteurise and sell using organic methods.
You won’t be surprised to hear that the milk also tastes delicious! As coffee and milk go hand in hand, Mossgiel milk is a popular choice for many of our Grounds for Recycling venues. You can taste it in your cappuccino or flat white in venues like Celentano’s, Us V Them, and Café Buena Vida.
How they did it
Turns out that used coffee grounds are crucial to organic farming practises. To have organic milk product, Mossgiel’s cows have to be healthy. For the cows to be healthy, the soil has to be healthy too. Used coffee grounds add nutrients to the soil, so Mossgiel collects them from local cafes to use in their compost. Mossgiel also adds nutritious, circularly purposed waste into their compost, such as manure, cut grass, waste milk, ash from their woodchipper, and rain run-off.
Used coffee grounds are also integral to Mossgiel’s ambitions to become 100% energy efficient. They will have an anaerobic digestion plant on site in the next few years that processes organic matter, captures the resultant methane, and generates electricity to run the farm. The digestion plant’s by-product can also be used again as compost material.
Mossgiel currently has the capacity to store 500 tons of used coffee grounds to mix with the farm manure! This amount would enable them to generate enough methane that they could power their lorries and tractors instead of running them on diesel. This would see considerable environmental and financial savings.
Mossgiel Organic Farm is an almost entirely closed loop system. From soil to cow to milk to bottle to cup and back to coffee grounds, they reuse their waste to harness its value. Mossgiel invests time, energy and resources into establishing the most sustainable and efficient way of producing milk, which they share with other Scottish dairy farmers.
‘Nature always reuses. It’s only when humans get involved that we start creating waste. If we work with nature, we can produce milk that benefits soil, cow and farmer alike. In collaborating with Grounds for Recycling, we hope to get to the point where we can collect our stockists’ used coffee grounds directly to use in our compost and anaerobic digestion plant, harnessing the organic value of nature.’
– Bryce Cunningham, Head Farmer, Mossgiel Organic Farm