Our Commitment to Sustainability
Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soil, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. It aims to capture carbon in the soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation and climate change. At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities. We are partnering with our friends at Kiss the Ground to raise money to educate farmers on this practice. $2 from the sale of each Perennial Bowl goes to support the Kiss the Ground Farmland Program, which provides scholarships to farmers for education and training in the field of Regenerative Agriculture. This program benefits soil health, water resources, biodiversity, pollinator habitats and farmer livelihoods.
Thank you for your support!
Where we stand on almonds
Although we have always seen almond milk as a more environmentally conscious and humane alternative to factory-farmed dairy, we are always striving to do better when it comes to the impact we have on our planet. After much thought and consideration, we have come to the conclusion that selling almonds and almond products isn’t in line with our mission. As water becomes more and more scarce in our state and around the world, selling a product that is so water-intensive doesn’t seem right. Almonds are also having a negative impact on our bee population and we need to do everything we can to support bees right now as their populations are decreasing at a frightening and unprecedented rate. Instead of almond milk, we will now offer oat milk. We love its rich and smooth flavor and texture. Better still, we’re proud of the impact this choice can have on the world. We’re glad to have you with us, and hope you’ll love these new discoveries as much as we do.
WHERE WE STAND ON HONEY
Our founder Mollie Engelhart is passionate about supporting small-scale bee keepers. When 86% of the vegan diet is pollinated by bees, we need them, quite literally, to survive. While bee colony collapse is rampant right now, most people go on paying no attention. If cattle farmers were losing 65-75% of their herd every year, widespread panic would ensue, yet the fact that bee keepers are losing large percentages of their colonies has not yet entered the mainstream conversation.
There are multiple contributing factors to the widespread honey bee colony collapse, many still unknown. One is the herbicides and pesticides sprayed when colonies are brought into orchards for pollination. Another is the fact that bees are getting shipped more than 3,000 miles around the country to feed the growing vegan demand for almonds, almond milk and almond flour. Bees go through a lot of stress when put onto tractor trailers and shipped thousands of miles, only to land in a sea of almond trees whose flowers do not have enough nutritional value for them to survive. Farmers used to plant a mix of crops that would allow the bees pollinating them to get all the nutritional value they need. Now farmers are planting acres of the same crop to keep up with demand and the bees are suffering for it. In recent years, due to the fact that China has been dumping cheap honey blended with rice syrup into the market, small scale bee keepers have been forced to rent out their hives to other farms just to make ends meet.
Mollie’s position is to source honey from small, sustainable farms. Buying honey this way is an act of kindness to the bees, and contrary to popular misconception, it does not deprive them of their food; the bees are left with all they need for the winter, and only the excess honey is harvested. As the world population grows, the need for pollination is more important.
In a world where pollinators are dying by the billions, it is important we support the people who take care of the bees and are the custodians of their wellbeing.
All the honey we use at Sage is produced by a single, small farm in upstate New York. The bees live year-round in the same place- a handful of “bee yards” scattered throughout Cayuga County. They are nestled in wood lots to provide shelter over the winter months, and when Spring arrives, the bees forage over their natural radius, gathering nectar and pollen. Most of the honey we serve at Sage is from wild nectar- from Basswood trees, dandelions, goldenrod, locust and sumac, and farmers’ crops are pollinated along the way: apples, pumpkins, peaches, among others, and in doing so, the bees produce more plant-based food for all of us to enjoy. But they only travel the distance they choose, carried only by their wings.
The beekeeper whose honey you’ll find at Sage is the father of Mollie’s ‘wasband’ and is still part of the Sage family. He keeps us posted on the health of his hives, and he works with Cornell University to try to learn more about what we are doing to our environment to make it hostile to the honey bees, and what we can do to turn it around.
In the end, we support beekeepers because beekeepers support the food for the world.