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Restoring Sussex Kelp Forests – One Plant at a Time

When I set up Organic Alchemist, it was partly about sharing my love of nature’s beautiful and powerful ingredients, but also about looking for a way to do business differently. I’m passionate about taking a proactive approach to healing our damaged planet. I find the amount of ‘green-washing’ that goes on in the beauty industry so disheartening – the use of chemicals, the sheer volume of waste and lack of transparency when it comes to ingredients, animal testing, and more.

Doing business differently

From the outset, I knew I wanted Organic Alchemist to be different. Organic, high-grade ingredients carefully selected and crafted in small batches. Creations can take me months to perfect, and each time they’re made by me, by hand. My jar collection service ensures minimal waste – and I’m delighted to say that many of my customers use it regularly (while my British-made amber glass jars are recyclable, I live by the adage of reducing first, with recycling as a last resort – but that’s a blog for another time!). Our recycled paper bags and reusable cotton bags are sourced from a local company and we use an ethical bank to ensure our money is being invested well.

This isn’t about being smug – it’s about creating blueprints for better business and thinking about ways to save our beautiful, shared planet.

Meet the man restoring our Sussex seabed one kelp plant at a time

One person who has dedicated his free time to such a vision is Steve Allnutt. At Organic Alchemist, we’re delighted to donate a percentage of our profits to the Sussex Seabed Restoration Project, founded by NHS physical therapy technician Steve to help restore our local kelp forests and coastal environment to its former natural glory.

Freediving along the Sussex coastline since he was 12 years old, Steve noticed the decline of the local kelp forests taking place over decades. In the last 40 years around 97 per cent of kelp in Sussex has been destroyed by pollution, trawling and dredging, leaving the coast scarred and barren. This is devastating news: not only do kelp forests absorb carbon twenty times better than rainforests, they also stabilise the seabed, purify seawater, and provide shelter and food for an array of fish and invertebrates.

A project set to grow and grow…

With a unique insight into the issue – seeing it daily on his dives – Steve took matters into his own hands and converted his garage in Lancing into a kelp nursery where tanks house thousands of kelp algae specimens Steve grows to rewild kelp beds in Sussex. Two hundred square kilometres of Sussex inshore waters are now free from bottom trawling, with campaigners including David Attenborough calling for a policy ban which came into force in March 2021. To date, Steve has been swimming out to various areas carrying his home-grown specimens by hand, and already his project has seen great success.

From its humble beginnings, the Sussex Seabed Restoration Project is growing in size and scale – and gathering support on a daily basis. You can watch Steve’s uplifting videos of successful kelp plants and the amazing diversity of marine life they support on his Facebook page, Sussex Seabed Restoration Project. Don’t miss a chance to see his work in action on this Channel 4 news clip or read about his project in the Guardian here. Many other initiatives have now sprung up with Sussex University scientists actively involved in restoration, as well as Sussex Wildlife Trust.

“In supporting this exciting project, your money will go towards a local Kelp restoration hub - allowing us to actively help restore and rewild the Sussex seabed,” comments Steve. “This would be directly undertaken by the local community of freedivers, fishermen, swimmers and everyone who would like to help out. Our method of restoration is inclusive to everyone, and does not require a diving qualification or a scientific background. This is truly a community driven restoration effort.” We’re so pleased to support Steve’s project. When you buy your favourite face or bodycare product from Organic Alchemist, I hope it adds to the enjoyment knowing you're also helping to restore an incredible ecosystem. Together, we can do things differently.

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