March 29, 2021
This post has been a long time coming... we have been keeping some fairly big news under wraps since December!
Two years ago we knew that Elvis & Kresse was running out of space. When we arrived at Tonge Mill in 2013 I think it is safe to say that we never thought this would happen. There were just two of us. Now there are more than 20... In order to keep our team together we needed to find something within 5 miles of the Mill. We also needed a significant amount of space.
We started looking at potential sites in the summer of 2019 and found nothing. In the summer of 2020 we found our ideal site, but we lost out when it went to sealed bids. Rather amazingly, in late November we got a call from the estate agent, the winning bidder had fallen through and now the 17 acre farm could be ours, as long as we could complete the purchase in two weeks! On December 4th we became the proud owners of New Barns Farm, but it has taken until today to move in.
Why have we bought a farm you ask?
Originally we thought of a farm because they tend to have both space and buildings, and this is true of New Barns Farm, but this isn't the main reason. One of the commitments we have made, along with many of our fellow B Corps is to be Net Zero by 2030. In addition to that, and without knowing entirely what it might entail, we would like to be Net Regenerative in that same timeframe.
This puts us in an interesting position with respect to growth. Over the last century economic growth has largely been fossil fuelled, hence a call by many environmentalists for de-growth. We aren't sure that this is the right approach; we would rather build a business that can flourish and thrive, but only if its growth has vastly more positive externalities than negative ones. We can and should grow, but only if this growth is renewably fuelled, if more materials are rescued, if we can donate more to our charity partners. On a farm we can act directly, by choosing a regenerative path we can be abundant and positive, we can dramatically increase topsoil, we can sequester carbon, we can improve biodiversity.
We have a Carl Jung quote, always hung proudly in our workshop, you may have seen it in our social posts;
If we want to be Net Regenerative then we need to get our own hands dirty. We can't offset our carbon, we have to systematically weed it out and simultaneously put the same care and love into our soil that we continue to put into our decommissioned fire-hose. It will take time and we will make mistakes, but we have already been welcomed by our new neighbours and by the wider Regenerative Agricultural community. We have found willing advisors, mentors, and inspiration both globally and locally and we can't wait to get to work!
Although we are leaving Tonge Mill, the amazing space that has been both our home and workshop for almost 8 years, we are not wistful. It is time to do more now, and the Farm is absolutely the best place for us to do just that.
As the world starts to hopefully open up again, and as our new workshop starts to take shape (oh yes, a lot of restoration awaits!), we can't wait to welcome you to the new HQ and introduce you to the herd.
Meet, from left to right: Phil, Serena, Roger, Wayne and Tiger