Locally, ethically, and sustainably-sourced food is all the rage these days. Though these buzzwords make for great marketing copy, it can be difficult for a food producer to quantify the real impact their food makes on the environment as it travels from their farm to your table.
Don’t tell that to Dutch chicken farm Kipster, though. Billing itself as “the world’s most animal and environmentally friendly chicken farm”, the Limburg-based Dutch egg farm claims to have produced the world’s first CO2-neutral egg.
As you might expect, everything from their energy sources to the types of hens they use factored into controlling their carbon dioxide output. Kipster’s farm deploys a massive array of 1,100 solar panels, using 40% of the energy generated to power the farm and selling the rest (which implies that carbon offsets might factor into their calculation). The farm also only uses white hens, which weigh less than brown chickens and subsequently require less feed. Even the diet of Kipster’s chickens is designed with a zero-waste mentality in mind: “They eat what are called ‘residual flows’ such as left over bread and agricultural by-products. We don’t feed them corn, for instance,’ said chicken farmer Ruud Zanders.
Perhaps most interestingly of all, the egg producers on the farm have access to some pretty palatial digs. Animal welfare organization Dierenbescherming consulted on the design of a glass-enclosed garden with tree trunks and other fun features for the fowls. The farm also features two outdoor spaces so the birds can get some fresh air.
While a price of 23 to 24 cents apiece means the eggs aren’t cheap, especially at a time when egg lovers seem to prioritize prices over ethics. But given the recent health scare associated with European eggs from larger farms, it’s a bit of welcome good news—and perhaps even a model for the future.