Something Different: The Fun of Fermentation

 

Do you remember learning about and really understanding fermenting foods when you were a kid? We certainly don’t, and the sad reality of our waning state of food security means future generations need to understand the value of fermenting and preserving foods.

 

In the infancy of our little brewery, (2017), then located in a restored barn up a hill in the middle of rural NS, we often joked about how our strong, slimy, dense SCOBYs would be perfect for both creeping out and delighting kids, be it in a haunted house or an educational setting. Since  we talked about and lived fermenting pretty much 24/7, much outside the world of kombucha brewing and into our own experimental kitchens, we thought about how we didn’t, as children, really ever learn about fermentation in a way that made sense until quite a bit later in life. Since Clare has quite a bit of teaching experience and Gabrielle has given workshops in other subjects in schools, it seemed natural to ask around at the local school to see if any teachers might be interested in hosting us for a 4-5 hour workshop (spread over several weeks), and the resounding yes began our fun little hobby at New Ross Consolidated School. These future generations will be tackling immense issues of food security, and preserving or fermenting food really must take precedence over learning to operate the microwave.

We both enjoyed it, the kids loved it, the teachers were enthusiastic about it, and the parents of the kids bringing home concoctions (hopefully?) loved it, so we have continued running them, and through practice we’ve designed and executed a hands-on kombucha course covering not only the scientific/practical quotient, but the creative and marketing side. The final day is the most exciting, the kids get to flavour, bottle, and take home their own unique creations. Kids have amazing ideas, though they definitely pre-learn the lesson that sugary additives will increase fizziness in the bottle! Children have great instincts and came up with brand names and flavours any budding home brewers would love to have in their own recipe arsenal.

 

Now that we are in the Annapolis Valley and the semester is well underway, we have recently finished several workshops at Kings Academy. We do it simply because it is rewarding, and it is a nice change of pace. Realistically, selling kombucha commercially has bottom lines that take à bit of the fun and creativity out of brewing, meaning, if we want to turn a profit in a competitive industry we have to take things very seriously and carefully. But in the schools we are learning and playing, and no adult should ever stop doing that completely!

If you are an educator and are interested in us coming to your school, get in contact and we will see what we can do! The concept of having time is always a bit of a ridiculous one in any entrepreneurship: the reality is “no way, none,” but at the same time a large reason people do start their own businesses is to have a more varied, interesting, and passionate career. The kids help us escape burnout, and we might even help the teachers escape a bit of burnout of their own. While there’s nothing funny about our world’s complete lack of food security, practical knowledge on small ways to tackle it can be fun to learn.

Contact Clare and Gabrielle at info@drkombu.ca for more info.

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