Fiona McIntrye is the brains and creativity behind Simply Green, a zero-waste and sustainable coffee shop in Ballyshannon. Originally from Skerries, Dublin Fiona returned to her father’s hometown of Ballyshannon and to her family farm with her son Max. Fiona wanted Max to grow up in the countryside, eating locally sourced food and living sustainably.

The lowdown

Simply Green is zero-waste and sustainable because of the incredible supply chain Fiona has implemented – the cafe’s produce is supplied either by Fiona’s family White Hill Eco Farm or locally in the North West of the country. The coffee is fairtrade, ingredients are delivered without plastic and in cardboard boxes which are unloaded and returned for the next delivery.

Most importantly Simply Green doesn’t do single-use coffee cups (up to 200 million single-use coffee cups are thrown away every year in Ireland). Fiona asks that customers bring their own cup or use one from the cafe which has all been donated and upcycled. Simply Green offers plastic-free alternatives for takeaway food or customers are encouraged to bring their own lunch box!

Fiona says: “Committing to having no single-use cups was a risk, but when we let people know what we’re up to there has been such a positive reaction, either customers bring their own cup or sit in with us in the cafe.”

“The Ballyshannon community has been so engaged with the cafe before we opened I went to all the local businesses to tell them about what Simple Green was trying to achieve and staff from a local charity shop even dropped in crockery and mugs to help out. We’ve had queues out the door because the amazing students of the local secondary school, staff from the banks, chemists and hair salons to name but a few arrive with their Tupperware and lunch boxes to collect their order! Again waste-free. The community has been so enthusiastic about the zero-waste element of our business.”

The produce

The McIntyre’s White Hill Eco Farm has its polytunnels ready, soil raked, seeds are sown, irrigation systems turned on and will supply produce to Simple Green and cafes across Donegal in 2020 and beyond.

Simply Green’s menu is seasonal, altering based on whatever fruit and vegetables are growing – organic beetroot in January, cauliflower florets in February, courgettes in June and fresh tomatoes throughout the summer.

Simply Green’s bread is also fully vegan and tastes delicious plus they have an array of gluten-free, vegan savoury and sweet options on the menu each week. Every taste and dietary requirement catered for by Fiona and the team.