What’s a video on brewing kombucha doing on a site dedicated to sustainable urbanism and architecture? It’s here because it’s a good analogy to sustainable place-making. But first, here’s the story on kombucha: The Chinese began brewing kombucha 2,000 years ago; they called it the “magic elixir of life.” The ingredients are simple: tea, water, and sugar… plus the SCOBY, or the “mother.” The SCOBY is a Symbiotic Community Of Bacteria & Yeast. To start brewing, you need to get a starter SCOBY from a friend who brews, or from a health food store. Our friend Karja Cygnus got us started.
Kombucha spread as far as Russia by about 400 years ago. The stories of health benefits of kombucha are as old as its Chinese origins, but the only thing even remotely resembling a scientific study was done by the USSR in the years leading up to World War II. They noticed (and documented) that in the most polluted parts of the Soviet Union, cancer rates were unusually high… except for the people who drank a lot of kombucha.
The problem is that because kombuch is so inexpensive to make (about $1/gallon), there’s no money in it to support an actual scientific study of its benefits. And that’s one of the big ties to the Original Green. As we discussed in Fitness Alfresco and the Money Problem, many Original Green measures are inexpensive if not free, and will never have big corporate sponsors with lots of promotional money. There are other connections. The Fate of Ought-To points out the fact that people sustain doing things they want to do much longer than things they ought to do. Properly-brewed kombucha is delicious (lovable to the taste) even while being a great probiotic with many other benefits such as those the Soviets noticed. It’s not like taking medicine; it’s something I look forward to every morning.
I could go on for hours on the benefits, such as the disappearance of my joint pain once I started drinking it regularly, and also on the other Original Green connections, but maybe you get the point. So here’s how Wanda and I make it: