It’s 2017, and with the earth’s human population estimated to have surpassed 7.6 billion, we need to find a better way. A better way to eat, build homes, wash and groom our bodies, do businesses, and even brush our teeth - we need a better way to live. As a population that’s continually damaging our planet we can’t just up and leave our Earth and go to a new one, like cattle rotating pastures, so we need a solution. For starters, cutting down on animal consumption, reducing waste and using plant based biodegradable products is key. But where do we start?
Everywhere, apparently, as the greenest health and wellness company in the world aspires to do and is well on their way to achieving. Natural Vegan is a company based out of Vancouver, Canada, is founded, and run, by a Jaymie and Hannah. Both passionate millennials supporting the already grounded naturalist and vegan culture, while inviting others to join them along the way. Their mission: To make living naturally, environmentally friendly, and free of animal products extraordinarily easy; furthermore, to have their business and products have a positive ecological impact. If you take a moment to think about every spectrum of what that entails for a business, this starts to look like an extreme goal… well they’ve gone to the extremes to achieve it.
160 acres of owned land located in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, the community behind Natural Vegan harvests the majority of their own ingredients through a permaculture system, eliminating any middlemen, allowing them to have full control of their first line of work, beauty and homecare products. Permaculture, for those of us that may not know, is a method of farming that allows the land to benefit and work with nature as opposed to putting a blind eye to it. It takes into consideration benefits of other plants to work to it’s advantage, deterring pests naturally while attracting beneficial insects and maintaining regular natural interactions for soil health. Completely hand harvested, this is a true “farm-to-product” experience. This is a great start to an ecological goal, but this land is apparently much more.
This farm is also off-grid - meaning it’s powered entirely by wind and solar. It also happens to be the largest privately owned comprehensive land zone in North America. What this allows the team at Natural Vegan to do is build and experiment with a high number of ecologically sustainable dwellings and, most importantly, offer educational programs to the public. The goal is to house 30 permanent residents and set up at least 25 guest houses. The styles of these guest homes will consist of earthship style homes (think hobbit house!), crate container homes, tiny homes, A-frame houses, and even treehouses.
This type of land zone, in some cases, allows for up to 97 homes and various more large buildings. The team at Natural Vegan doesn’t know how far they’re going to go with those buildings yet but aside from more homes they are building up to be the largest privately owned animal sanctuary in Canada. Animal rehabilitation efforts such as building their friend Crowley the pig a wheelchair are what the team does in their spare time. The hope is that their little paradise attracts hundreds of guests each year to take part in free education.
Practicing good living and farming methods is a great start to reducing carbon footprint, but Natural Vegan is giving back by teaching the community via their guest stays for future generations to come, by holding in-house (aka on-farm) educational programs. This will provide the public with information they need to live sustainably. Alternative energy, permaculture farming, animal welfare, eco-building, and healthy living are on the list of programs that they will offer. Give a person eco-friendly products, and they will live sustainably for a lifetime. Teach them the methods and they will pass it on for generations.
The ingredients grown on this farm are currently being used to make an array of natural vegan (hence the name) personal care and beauty products. The trick about these creations is that they are only offered through a monthly subscription box because they have a very short shelf life. With products that have absolutely no preservatives or chemicals, delivering fresh is the only option. Currently the line consists of beauty products and basic hygiene from shampoo and deodorant to toothpaste and even sustainable bamboo toothbrushes.
The team is over a year into their products development. Through innovation and testing they have designed the entire business and all products as a whole, from the ground up, to achieve a 95% less plastics initiative. Biodegradable packaging was the first choice for appropriate products such as deodorant and lip balm in biodegradable cardboard push tubes; although, there are items that we humans still haven’t invented a non-plastic solution for. For those items the choice is spout bags. Spout bags are made using 90% less plastic than regular bottles and due to their size and malleability they take up less space and are considerably lighter than their traditional counterpart. The organization has set an example in the reduction of their carbon shipping footprint by an average of 40%.
Their products are so natural and even beneficial to the environment that the founders often demonstrate by eating their own products. “Washing these down the drain is something consumers can finally feel good about,” they say. All of this to achieve their mission and to be a role model for businesses and individuals alike. We shouldn’t find difficulty in living healthy and sustainably, and at Natural Vegan there’s a better way.