An environmental documentary to inspire and inform  

The University of Exeter asked us to create an environmental film about their ‘Food and the Circular Economy’ research project.  

The project supports South West food producers who are adopting circular economy principles to reduce the environmental and financial impact of their food production.  Several Devon and Cornwall SMEs were taking part including big names like Roskillys Dairy, Proper Cornish Pasties, Summerskills Brewery and Quicks Cheese.

The university wanted an informative and accessible film to capture the innovative new ways food producers are extracting potential waste (leftovers or by-products) from food production and giving them new uses.  They hoped that the film would educate and inspire even more SMEs to introduce some of the initiatives themselves.    

At Fresh Ground Films we’re passionate about sustainability so this was the perfect project for us.

Planning the shoot

We planned the shoot alongside a team of academics from the University of Exeter who specialised in business, food & farming and sustainability.    The shoot was fairly complex as we needed to visit SMEs across the South West, as well as interviewing local council members.  

Fresh Ground Films founder, Ross Gill, meticulously planned the schedule and logistics. We allocated different team members to travel to the various shoots with Dan Eatherly, the university’s presenter and interviewer.


We filmed with Sony FS5 and Sony FS7 cameras, keeping our kit relatively light and flexible to avoid too much unwelcome disruption to the busy food producers. (This one’s for the filming geeks – we used Sony wireless lav mics, battery powered bi-colour LED lighting and filmed our B-roll footage using a mixture of 25fps and 50fps!)

The different SMEs shared inspiring stories with us about the ways they were trying to reduce waste at different stages of the food production process. 

Some had starting using biomass burners to recover energy from their waste products instead of sending it to landfill. Another was sending their waste bread to a local beer company who used it to replace 50% of their barley. Roskillys Dairy were looking into making nut-based ice creams from nuts they planned to grow on their land in Cornwall.

Fresh Ground Films learnt new skills

During the filming we learnt how to make cheese, pasties and ice cream. We saw how vegetables are grown organically at scale, and got to film some beautiful Devon cows. It was a real eye opener and fascinating to be a part of.  

The Finished Circular Food Videos:

We edited the footage to create an impactful 20-minute documentary as well as shorter versions for different platforms including a 1-minute edit for social media. 

The documentary was premiered at a live food & drink conference to showcase circular economy practices in business.  The video attracted a lot of attention and prompted much-needed conversations between small businesses about how they could implement circular economy principles in their own organisations.

 The Centre for the Circular Economy at The University of Exeter used the film to showcase their work which helped them to secure funding for the next stage of the project.   We were also approached by a drinks company who had been so impressed by our film that they wanted us to produce some sustainability-based video content for them.

The Circular Economy

We were delighted to produce such an effective film for the University of Exeter and to learn more about the circular economy.   The SMEs were trying to move from a linear use of products and resources (i.e. use it once and get rid of any waste products) to a circular approach where the waste product is reused. 

Not only does a circular economy have less impact on the environment, it can also save companies money by reusing waste.  But of course, there are challenges to overcome.  For example there are cost implications when it comes to changing existing workflows, retraining existing staff and recruiting new hires. This is why SMEs need to be supported and why projects like the University of Exeter’s are so vital.

Find out more about Food and the Circular Economy

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