Brae is guided by the principles of sustainability, locality and seasonality. We aim to have a positive impact on our collaborators, society, the land we farm and the wider environment.
Brae practices regenerative farming. Chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides have been eliminated from Brae Farm and efforts focused on improving soil health and land regeneration. More than 1,000 native trees and plants have been planted on the property, improving biodiversity for fauna and flora and reducing our carbon footprint.
Brae is water-efficient. Tanks with a total capacity of 160,000 litres capture rainwater for cooking, washing and drinking in both the restaurant and guest suites. Three dams capture run-off used to irrigate vegetables.
Brae generates solar energy. 17 megawatt hours of solar electricity is generated on-site annually, offsetting 1.34 tonnes of carbon each month.
Brae composts waste. A closed-loop composting program diverts around 100kg of food scraps and green waste from land-fill daily, creating rich compost for soil regeneration and vegetable production.
Brae reduces waste. Brae is a low-waste kitchen. Excess fruits and vegetables are pickled, fermented and preserved for later use. A water filtration and carbonation system has removed the need for single-use glass water bottles. Takeaway coffee cups have been eliminated and paper straws replaced with steel. Compostable bin liners are used in guest suites and bathrooms. Milk is delivered in re-fillable 20-litre stainless steel pails and chemical-free Ewater systems used for cleaning and sanitising, reducing our reliance on chemicals. Menu paper is re-purposed as guest suite note pads and all other paper and glass recycled. Sustainably sourced organic cotton bed linen, towels and robes enter a textile recycling program at end of life to divert spent linen from landfill. Clay from Brae’s dams and ash from the wood fire are used by Victorian ceramicists, Cone 11 to create dinnerware and by potter, Colin Hopkins to create dining room sculptures. 100% of waste water is processed on site with dispersal water used for irrigation.
Brae’s accommodation is carbon neutral. Six guest suites, built in 2016 to passive solar design principles, feature recycled materials, solar energy, double glazing, harvested rainwater and a worm farm biological waste treatment system, resulting in a building with zero net emissions.
Brae grows organic food. Up to 90% of the vegetables, stone fruit, citrus, nuts, berries, grain crops, olives, honey and Australian edible plants served in the restaurant are produced organically at Brae Farm, without the harmful chemical, transport or fossil fuel inputs of the industrial food system. Bread is grown, harvested, milled and baked onsite. A seasonal wheat beer is also brewed each year, using organic wheat grown onsite.
Brae collaborates with the most sustainable growers. Producers are screened for their commitment to the health of their land and the welfare of their animals. Whole carcasses and secondary cuts are used that are hormone and antibiotic-free. We choose animals raised on small-scale, independent family farms where they are free to range and regenerative farming principles are practiced. Only sustainable, ethically farmed and wild-caught fish and seafood are used with typically discarded cuts, by-product and under-appreciated species utilised.
Brae supports local and global farmers. We know our local farmers by name, pay them on time and ensure profits flow to them directly. Specialty products such as coffee, tea, chocolate and organic cotton bed linen are sourced from fair-trade intermediaries who guarantee ethical and environmentally sustainable trade practices.
Brae supports the local community. Over $10,000 each year is committed to education, sporting and charity organisations. In 2021, $23,000 was raised for Birregurra Primary School. In 2020, $29,500 was raised for bushfire relief. Local and emerging artists, artisans and crafts people are supported through a revolving art program. Long-term unemployed and disadvantaged youth are provided with pathways into work.
Brae feeds people well. Menus are plant-focussed with the vast majority of plants served grown organically on site in regenerated, healthy soil, producing tastier, more nutritious food.
Brae treats staff fairly. Staff work only one late night per week. Annual closures twice a year allow for dedicated leave periods, including Christmas and New Year every year. Staff wellness is supported with formal career development systems in place and a professional coach delivering regular culture and team building sessions .
The Sustainable Restaurant Association UK, in partnership with World’s 50 Best Restaurants has recognised Brae for its sustainability efforts with the following sustainability ratings from Food Made Good, placing Brae amongst the top Sustainable Restaurants in the World:
2019 93% 3 Stars
2018 87% 3 Stars
2017 82% 3 Stars