We want to be a regenerative social enterprise. A business that heals the earth and creates wider social cohesion. The challenge is one of capital and labour in an economy dependent on maximising profits that too often come at the cost of ecological and social capital.
Our idea for growth is to model our business goals and activities on the most efficient and abundant ecosystem in nature – the forest. When we made the decision to found a brewery in 2013, we were inspired by this quote about Old Trees
"Make oxygen, sequester carbon, fix nitrogen, distill water, accrue solar energy as fuel, create complex sugars and food, create micro-climates, provide a rich habitat for many creatures, change colour with the seasons and self-replicate."
The idea grew that we would mimic the services of Old Trees with Old Tree Brewery. We fix nitrogen in the soil by composting organic matter, returning it to soil and spreading gardens; we distill water in the brewery; accrue solar energy as fuel to run our rickshaw; create complex sugars and food; our drinks change colour with the seasons and by sharing knowledge with others we aim to self-replicate...
By investing time into planting trees and edible landscapes we can also help: make oxygen, create micro-climates and provide a rich habitat for many creatures..
After several years exploring all these aspects we have concluded that we need to focus on more efficient production of just our live botanical drinks to enable us to reinvest the profits into being a regenerative enterprise.
We have found the most challenging part of imitating an Old Tree is how to sequester carbon as a food and drink producer.. How to use less power, and how to remove it from our atmosphere where there is already a dangerous imbalance? The more we grow the more energy we need...and our power is mainly coming from fossil fuels in civilisation today. Some of the ingredients we use have very high carbon footprints from their production process. We need fridges and machinery that have a high impact, just to be viable food and drink producers. Is it inescapable to contribute to global environmental decline? Is the idea of a regenerative enterprise impossible?
For the challenge of storing carbon, we've created a new tool for carbon negative food and drink production – The Terra-preta Trailer.
We have co-designed and built a carbon negative power station to produce bio-char as a bi-product of the heat captured for live brewing and cooking. An educational tool, the intention it to demonstrate far and wide how to build the most fertile organic soils for restoration agriculture.