We are deeply committed to the earth; health of human + the environment are our top priorities. As such, we strive to practice environmentally sustainability in every step of what we do here on the farm and in our skincare crafting process, down to walking the talk in our own personal lives.
SUSTAINABILITY ON THE FARM
We grow using organic practices, and then some. What this means is that we don't use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or additives whatsoever.
We compost all organic matter on the farm possible - from what comes out of our home kitchen to any compostables in our business to plants from the fields. Composting is a critical sustainability measure that not only keeps food waste from the landfill, but turns it into rich organic matter that we use to build soil fertility.
Healthy soil is the foundation upon which our farm runs; we would not have vibrant herbs and flowers without it. Compost is a wonderful way to feed and nurture the soil that provides so much for us. We are also proud to be part of the only ~5% of the 39 million tons of food waste that is diverted from the landfill and composted (source).
Sustainable Water Management
We irrigate minimally and strategically. We build soil using methods like composting that help retain moisture in the soil, thus requiring less irrigation. When we do irrigate, we do so early in the morning to avoid evaporation from the sun and we use drip irrigation that slowly releases water right at the base of plants, so it is targeted and goes right to the plants that need it.
Our favorite feature of our farm irrigation process is that 100% of the water we use to grow plants both in the greenhouse and in the fields comes from a natural spring on our property.
Our greenhouse that we use to start plants in is heated only using the heat from the sun - no fossil fuels required! The way this works is our greenhouse is south facing and contains several large food-grade barrels filled with water that are lined up along the northern wall. The sun heats the barrels during the day, and the barrels retain this heat and slowly make the heat available to the plants in the greenhouse throughout the night. More often than not, when it's a sunny day, it gets *too* hot in the greenhouse, so we open the doors and sides to ventilate.
We are striving to reduce our waste as much as possible on the farm and in our skincare line. What this looks like:
- Minimizing use of plastic - in our packaging, production process, + shipping:
- Containers made from glass, metal, and cardboard
- 100% biodegradable gloves made with Eco Best Technology®)
- Plastic-free shipping tape
- More details below under "Sustainability in Our Skincare Line"
- Mindful reuse + recycling
- You've probably heard of the "3 Rs" - "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." We do our best to take things a couple steps further by rethinking, reimagining, and repurposing before we get to the other three.
- This looks like us reusing packaging materials that come with containers + ingredients we order in your online orders, avoiding single-use disposables, and offering options for local customers to refill products reusing their container (coming in 2019!)
- Of course, when we aren't able to reuse or repurpose, we recycle everything that's recyclable.
SUSTAINABILITY IN OUR SKINCARE LINE
This is where we really shine, friends. In 2018, we began growing our own organic herbs to use in our products. Our goal is for 100% of the herbs used in our products to be sourced from our land, and we are on our way with each season that passes.
Thanks to amazing US-based companies like Mountain Rose Herbs (from whom we source the majority of our organic essential oils, butters, and other ingredients), we can confidently stand by what we are putting into the products we create for you + your families.
Our herbs, oils, butters, beeswax, and essential oils are all as natural, chemical-free, and safe for you + the environment as we can get them. Nearly all of our ingredients are certified organic, which means they have been grown/raised without the use of synthetic chemicals. Where our ingredients are not certified organic, we indicate in our product descriptions. This is much more rare and something we always consider thoughtfully.
A Note on Essential Oils:
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant matter. In some cases, it takes thousands of pounds of a plant to yield just *one* pound of essential oil (source). What this means is that each drop of essential oil is truly precious, as a great deal of human labor and environmental resources went into that drop. Not only this, but because essential oils are so potent, a little truly goes a long way. It is very possible to use too much, and any use of essential oils should be done so carefully and with proper education.
With this awareness, we are not against using essential oils; we simply do so sparingly and mindfully. We never use more than 2% essential oils in our products, which is the maximum safe recommended amount for skincare. This varies depending on which oil we use, and in most products, we use between 0.5-1% EOs.
We source the highest quality, most ethically-produced organic essential oils we can find. The term "pure therapeutic grade" is an unregulated term that many essential oil companies use; this really doesn't mean anything.
We *never* recommend ingesting essential oils. This is outside of our scope of education and you should always consult a certified aromatherapist when it comes to this. With this, we advocate for use of the whole plant/herb in lieu of the isolated, concentrated compound that is an essential oil. Why use expensive, super powerful lemon essential oil in your water when you can add lemon?! Why drink drops of peppermint essential oil when you can have peppermint tea?
As we grow more of our own herbs in the seasons ahead, we will continue to reduce our use of essential oils to a level that we are comfortable with from a sustainability perspective. We simply believe that using the whole plant/herb is, in most cases, better when it comes to our formulations.
Our packaging/containers are primarily glass + aluminum. We try to avoid plastic as much as possible! Most containers are recyclable and can also be reused by our consumers in creative ways. In 2019, we will further reduce plastic by transitioning our plastic tubes for deodorant + lip balms to biodegradable cardboard tubes.
We are very proud to say we source most of our containers from Specialty Bottle, which has a warehouse local to us here in Nashville. This means we order in bulk and pick up our containers in person, saving copious amount of wasteful packaging materials (think: packing peanuts, bubble wrap, cardboard) it would take them to ship to us otherwise.
All of our shipping + packaging materials are environmentally sustainable. This means that anything we ship comes in eco-friendly (biodegradable, recyclable, + made from recycled materials) packaging from EcoEnclose, a Colorado-based company.
The padded mailers + boxes we ship with are 100% recycled- all made from post-consumer and post-industrial content ♻️
We also use plastic-free shipping tape, which is not only a positive environmental choice on the front-end, but makes recycling easier because the consumer doesn't have to remove the tape before recycling.
Further, our paper and other packing material we use to wrap and pad the products in your packages we mail is all reused from shipments of materials + containers for our business.
Our postal worker picks up outgoing packages (when you shop with us online!) when she delivers our mail, so no extra trips are made to send out your packages.