Brewing Change

Heartwood Farm & Cidery

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The owners of Heartwood Farm & Cidery are very aware of how important it is to be mindful of waste and how they impact the local community. The SDGs that they focus on are Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action. They help these SDGs by using the cradle to cradle farming strategy, getting as many of their ingredients from close by in order to reduce their carbon footprint and help support local farmers, and finally by being mindful of their waste. What I mean by being mindful of their waste is that they follow the cradle to cradle farming method which helps reduce waste by repurposing it, for example; pressed apples being fed to pigs instead of just being thrown out.

Authors

Clara Rodriguez

Clara Rodriguez

Hannah Boyd

Hannah Boyd

School

Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders

Professor

Matthew Mulhern

Matthew Mulhern

Innovation

At Heartwood Farms & Cidery they try to focus on each aspect of the cider-making cycle to ensure customer loyalty and strong ecological and social values. They started adapting to this lifestyle 1.5 years ago and continue to look for new innovative ways to advance as a company. To begin with the soil that they believe is the foundation to their success. Conventional agriculture can be very hard on the soil- uprooting it almost once a year which can lead to erosion for wind and water purposes. Heartwood makes it their primary intent to build topsoil that allows the most nourishing soil to be 6 inches deep compared to the traditional 7 feet deep. This helps benefit the plants and animals as it is softer and easier on the agriculture. Moving onto the fruits and vegetables they use to grow for their ciders. All fruits and vegetables are locally grown as well as made right on site and they believe that is a strong competitive advantage for them as it benefits the social aspect of their business and allows for relationships to form and a stronger consumer loyalty. An example of this is they are beginning to use ghost-peppers for a new cider as they know of a local business that sells them and they want to work with what they have instead of just going for what's easy and convenient to buy off the shelves. Lastly they use all leftover food scraps and feed it to their animals as well as using the manure to re- grow the trees, approaching minimal waste. These relate to the three SDG's stated above as they are extremely sustainable, they use products responsibly as they move towards zero waste, as well reducing huge carbon emissions and greenhouse gases by using top soil as well as the regenerative farming method.

Brewing Change

Inspiration

The owners are married, and the wife wanted to be connected to the food she ate and the way everything comes full circle, and because of this wanting to be connected to it, they moved out to where they live now. She used to practice permaculture which is a related approach to agriculture and food growing, "Permaculture is more of a small scale type of farming so I used to grow food in our back yard, and collect rainwater to water the plants instead of water from the tap." Because of this, she decided to convince her husband to move out to a farm in order to do this on a bigger scale, that being regenerative farming. When they moved to the farm the soil was in very bad condition and there was very little of it left but they are attempting to fix the previous owners' mistakes. She also felt very strongly about cradle to cradle "All of the food and the drink that comes to us comes in cycles, and that kind of ecological thinking I think is really the underpinning of a truly sustainable business, so that's our starting point." She then went on to talk about how they repurpose as much of their waste as possible. All of this inspired her and her husband to follow the regenerative and the cradle to cradle farming methods, which have made their business slowly flourish. I believe that these practices will help them grow into a bigger business and eventually into a Bcorp.

Overall impact

I believe the innovation has impacted their company very well. They have received customer loyalty in a very short period and will continue to do so with the values they portray. In Year 1 they described how their main objective was just to prove to themselves that they were capable of making cider and portraying an appealing brand. In Year 2 (this year) their goal is to merely break even & in Year 3 they hope to be able to pay all their expenses, employees and be able to start generating profit. I believe they will succeed these goals if they continue on with their innovation. They described no matter how big the company gets they will always stay true to their values. For short term goals they have succeeded with what they are conveying but I believe this could be difficult for their long term effects as when they start to be in high demand the local businesses might not have enough stock to fulfill their needs as well with climate change it could effect their soil production.

Business benefit

This innovation Benefits the Business by creating shared value with their customers. The business is still rather small and they have 3-5 full-time employees due to the fact that there isn’t that much to do in the winter months. Since they have fewer employees they are able to focus on their wellbeing more. The way in which they create shared value with them is by making the change they want other farmers to make. They want other farmers to realize that they can make a profit while being sustainable.

They practice regenerative farming, and they follow the cradle to cradle farming strategy. Which is essentially just finding ways to make everything come full circle, eg: they pick the apples for the cider and once they’re pressed they feed them to the pigs, and then take the manure and use it to grow the crops and apple trees. To attempt to reduce as much waste as possible and to be sustainable. Something that they’ve done in order to reduce their carbon footprint is they found ways to get their ingredients from local farmers, such as hops from a farmer near Fergus, and currants from a farmer that lives down the road from them. Doing all of these things have ensured that they have positive reviews and customers that come back because they make their values clear and people like companies that they agree with.

Social and environmental benefit

This innovation benefits society and environmental standards in many ways. To begin with social, since they are purchasing their products so local they are constantly creating relationships with the community and networking with many other businesses that tend to support them by purchasing their ciders. Brent described how this business has provided a " Centre of gravity for social contact." Since starting the Cidery brand they have hosted many events and parties as well as workshops for the community and new farmers that are interested in the process of cider making. As well they strive on supporting the youth and giving back as they have hosted many activities such as growing vegetables for families in need. Moving onto Environmental, they have saved a crazy amount of waste as they do not waste any food products since it is all fed to animals or compostable. As well their bottles for the Cider are 100% eco-friendly as it is glass and can be recycled. Lastly since they follow the "regenerative method of farming" They are lowering carbon emissions as they bringing the high concentration carbon back into the soil, therefore not letting off as many emissions.

Interviews

Brent Klassen, Co-Owner and Cidersmith

Katherine Scott, Projects Manager

Val Steinmann, Co-Owner & Farmer

Keep this story going! Share below!

Heartwood Farm & Cidery

Heartwood Farm & Cidery

Erin, Ontario, CA

Business Website: http://heartwoodfarm.ca/#top

Year Founded: 2005

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Heartwood Farm & Cidery is located in Erin, Ontario. They are home to 42 acres of farming where they raise cows, pigs, chickens and bees as well as growing fresh produce such as apples & fruit and nut trees. They have chosen the practice of Regenerative Farming for their land in an effort to maintain the healthiest soil, water systems, agriculture and livestock possible.