Sustainable Spotlight Featuring Harvest to Hand – Binks

Sustainable Spotlight Featuring Harvest to Hand

Our sustainable spotlight series has enabled us to chat to some really cool New Zealand companies. This week we talk to Holleigh from Harvest to Hand which is extra special as her brand focuses on both sustainability and our favourite plant, hemp! HH began in 2020 by Holleigh Ellis and her Partner Dylan Pearce who are based on their family farm in Tikokino.

'The farm has a rich history; it's been in the family for three generations. John Ellis purchased an 800-acre property in 1965, and raised livestock for 35 years. When his son Ian Ellis took over in 2000, he discovered a deep aquifer beneath the farm. This allowed the family to add pivot irrigators, purchase neighbouring land and ultimately diversify the farm's practices and grow specialised crops that wouldn't usually withstand the long hot summers that Hawke's Bay is renowned for.'

Their vision is to provide New Zealanders with good, wholesome food products, grown from their own backyard. Holleigh is a food scientist while, Dylan is from a farming background. Together they have combined their passions to create their first product line. This collection of food focuses on processing the hemp plant into hemp, hearts, flour, protein powder and oils. 

What does sustainability mean to your brand?

We started our brand with sustainability front of mind as we think it's something that needs more attention. It's important to us as we are aware of the effects humans are having on our planet by continuously consuming.

So to us, it's important to be as sustainable as possible and minimise our negative impact on the Earth by working towards a positive footprint.

How have you/do you improve on your sustainability as the sustainability movement shifts and grows? 
We feel if you're doing your part whether it be large or small it still counts towards the bigger picture. The hemp plant itself is so sustainable, it's a plant that looks after itself. It doesn’t need any sprays such as pesticides or herbicides to grow. It thrives in dry environments and does not rely on heavy irrigation. We utilise the whole of the hemp plant. The seeds are harvested, the stalk is baled for fibre and the foliage falls to the ground to refertilises the land.

We encourage our customers to recycle our packaging. Our products are shipped in 100% recycled craft paper and our oil bottles are recyclable. Using recyclable glass is more costly than using plastic. It's heavier which drives up freight costs but it is important for us to always choose the more sustainable option where we can.

What inspired you to build a sustainable/hemp based brand?

I am a food scientist and naturally I'm interested in health and wellness. Hemp was an interesting and newish plant that was starting to gain attention. Previously we were contract growing for other hemp companies.

My background lead me to investigate and research more about Hemp. Hemp is an incredible plant that has so many positive impacts for both our Earth and our people. Everything I stand for aligns with hemp, it felt right to pursue it.

What are some misconceptions around hemp?
Hemp is an interesting plant and many people are aware of its link to the cannabis family. This therefore leads many people to believe that it may have similar effects to marijuana. This is a huge misconception as hemp products will not get you high. We want to lead and spend more time educating consumers about the plant and its benefits.

Another misconception is that food safety/hygiene and practicality food products must be packaged in a particular way, therefore not everything can be packed into the most sustainable packing. We want people to know is that we try to be as sustainable as possible where we can and most of what we practice is sustainable.

What is the most challenging thing about running a sustainable business?
It's hard to weigh up what’s best for our business while keeping in mind what’s best for the environment. We try our hardest to be as sustainable as possible and we are always looking to improving our practices. Sometimes finically it can be hard for a start up business to be 100% sustainable.

I think what matters is that we are doing our part and always looking at improving as our company grows.

Do you think the niche of sustainability will break through as being mainstream? Will this affect your brand?
I would always like to think so? Cost is a huge factor for both businesses and consumers. Not all consumers care about what they purchase and how it may effect our planet. We can only focus on those that do care and educate those that don’t. We hope to encourage more people to care - we see this happening already!

How do you ensure circularity?
As you have mentioned in your hemp bio the hemp plant is incredible and be used in so many different ways.

For the likes of us as a company we utilise all parts of the plant so there’s no wastage.