It’s no secret that nature and sustainability are hugely important to us here at Stillgarden – nature is one of our core pillars, and sustainability is present in every approach we take.
So for Earth Day, we thought we’d tell you a bit about the various sustainability efforts happening around the distillery!
This blog post is brought to you by our venue manager, Jake, and our gardener in residence, Connor, who you’ll know from our Social Botanist project, or may have seen in a kayak cleaning up the canal as part of community cleanup efforts, or hauling a wheelbarrow full of spent coffee grounds from one of our local coffee shops. More on that in a moment!
A lot of what we do from a production point of view in the distillery is aimed at utilising what we can from our locality, focusing on community as much as possible. We achieve this is in several different ways:
- We take spent coffee grounds from the local coffee shops to both become the base of our Espresso Martini RTD’s, and mulch for our community garden.
- A number of our products use local botanicals, either from our garden or our surrounding community (Give & Take features locally foraged nettles, and our Early Harvest vodka gets its colour and tartness from Timperley rhubarb harvest from our garden).
- Our garden is a triple threat, acting as a pollinator corridor and area for increased biodiversity, as a way to provide a community gardening space, and as a flavourscape for the distillery.
On top of the community, sustainability is also a big focus of ours. Sustainable initiatives we’ve put in place include:
- D8 Rebate – a rebate scheme where customers can avail of a €2 discount off their next purchase by returning their used bottles, which then become sterilised and reused for our delicious spirits.
- We strive to reuse as much packaging as possible, recycling old boxes and packing materials for our shop orders where we can.
- A lot of the botanicals used in our distillation process find new life as other products, both in our distillery and the local community (Give & Take botanical teabags, boozy Boss Lady cupcakes from The Flourless Baker).
One of our big projects this year has been to develop a community orchard and forest behind the garden. Trees are a vital resource for an ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife, including pollinating insects, invertebrates, and birds.
Expanding from the former dumping grounds that the community garden was first established upon, we collected cardboard from local businesses to act as a membrane over the existing ground. This blocks the sunlight from reaching the soil, which slows down the germination and growing process for invasive species that have thrived there for the last few years, including sycamore, buddleia, bindweed, and sow thistle. There are plenty of pollinator-friendly plants that grow in this space (namely wild poppies, mallow, celandines, speedwells, salvias) that have been unable to compete with the invasive species. Therefore, the cardboard over the thuggish plants gives the other plants a better chance to establish themselves. On top of the cardboard, we put coffee grinds collected from local cafés (this aids the decomposition process for the cardboard, and the slight acidity is great for fruit trees), added some compost and worm castings from our wormery (joined by a few of our worms), and layered it all with wood chips kindly donated by the Parks Department from Dublin City Council.
After a few weeks, the ground was ready for its first set of trees. To date, we have so far planted 95 trees this year in this newly prepared area, our Pocket Forest, in the garden, and elsewhere in the neighbourhood. These trees have all been community donations from our friends at Inchicore Environmental Group, Drimnagh Environmental Group, Pocket Forests, Host in Ireland’s DCs for Bees scheme, and local residents. We’ve already seen the benefits, with a wide variety of pollinators (honeybees, bumble bees, carder bees, ladybirds, hoverflies, butterflies) visiting the trees we’ve planted, including: Scots pine, hawthorn, hazel, cherry, apples, plum, pears, downy birch, common birch, lime, elder, rowan.
Trees not only produce oxygen, but with rising temperatures due to climate change, it has been proven that trees can significantly reduce the soaring temperatures in city spaces. Not just a pretty face for pollinators and botanists, trees are a vital protector of our future. You can help us plant more trees and put bumbs on blossoms by joining us in the garden with the Social Botanist Project, our community gardening programme.