Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Allow me to introduce the Milk and Honey Braintrust: pictured from left to right: Amy Coplen, Chemist, and first UNM student to graduate with a minor in Sustainability; Dr. Cecelia Williams, Microbiologist; and Phil Pohl, Chemical Engineer; all of Sandia Labs in Albuquerque. They have come to me via the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program , which provides we small NM businesses with the assistance of scientific minds to help us solve business challenges that only a scientist can help with. . . It is a free service (!) to businesses that qualify, and I applied and was connected to Phil, who has brought on his colleagues to help as well.
What the heck to I need a brain trust for? I presented them with a challenge that my designer Michelle and I have been considering for the past six months: How to create unique, packaging that fulfills the promise of William McDonough's "Cradle to Cradle" philosophy:
“Cradle-to-cradle design means literally designing waste right out of the lifecycle of the package. Mimicking nature, a package is designed to be either a technical nutrient that can be reused, or truly recycled in a tight, closed-loop process with zero loss in material performance, or a biological nutrient that can safely break down into the soil.”
I suggested the additional challenge that the packaging be sourced from materials unique to New Mexico (green chile? Adobe?) and that the packaging have an integral identity with my products. These great, smart folks came out to the farm on Monday, and it was exciting an inspiring to work with them. Amy is particularly interested in calculating my carbon footprint--a prospect both scary and exciting--and one which will no doubt enlighten me as to improvements I can make in how I run my business and my farm, and that my customers will appreciate knowing about.
In the meantime, I continue to work with Michelle as we create the first generation of packaging for my new soaps and lotion bars. Currently we are looking at using paper from New Leaf, an incredibly progressive company that provides an "eco-audit" for every project that uses their paper.
The world is a very exciting place to be with all these smart, creative people putting their minds to saving our planet and living better. I am so happy that they are helping me fulfill my vision for Milk and Honey.
YOU CAN SEE A VIDEO OF THE NEWBORNS AT MY FACEBOOK PAGE! (It's under my name, Daven Lee.)
Currently named "Sassafras" or "Sass" for short (the girl) and "Pigwidgeon" (you know, from Harry Potter, pronounced "Pig-Widgin"), or "Pig" for short (boy), our new babies were born on Monday, easily and beautifully, probably just as I was waking up around 6am. While doing my morning yoga, I heard a little high bleat coming from the barn, and padded down there in my pajamas, to find two wet kids, sitting up, complaining and crying a little, while their proud and very efficient mother licked them off.
Such a sweet site, especially as the Monday before, we had had another birth of a little doe kid that died a few hours after she was born. It was a sad way to start our kidding "season"--but also a good lesson. I've been beating myself up for a week thinking that I could have done something more to save this kid, but I have to say after Sass & Pig were born, the difference between them and that doeling was dramatic. Although I have had goats for about seven years, I only breed them every other year--in fact, this is only my 4th kidding, and so I don't have the experience that I would have if I were breeding 20 goats every single Spring. Incidentally, I breed about every other year because I'm able to continue milking my goats for two years. I don't have a need for high milk production, and it feels less wasteful, and easier on the mama goats not to dry them up every winter and breed them. After all, these babies will need homes.
In the meantime, we are LOVING THEM!