The Lord’s Garden IAHV Thailand KK Bujang Long, Bario Kampung Harvest Hatiku Agrikultur Terra Farm Sonnentor Weleda Voelkel Naturvital Florian Vitagermine Nui Indochine Natural Dr. Alkaitis I-Green Cascine Orsine
Yee Dih Yang | dihyang.com Shaina Olmanson | foodformyfamily.com Ng Tien Khuan Terence Tai Lee Chew Yoong Teh Chen Yee
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There are a lot more to our products above and beyond organic; biodynamically grown farm produces, organic local produces from heirloom seeds devotedly preserved by the farmers, organic healing remedies based on ancient wisdom, fair trade products that improve the livelihood of small farming community, wild crafted tea that helps retaining a school for hill tribe children in Thailand, traditionally farmed hill rice that preserve our precious fertile heritage land, skincare made of biodynamic ingredients, etcâ€Ś Over the years, we were asked time and again, what keeps us inspired. Let us bring you to a discovery journey about the true stories of the people who are our everlasting inspiration. They are the farmers and producers who insist on quality beyond having an organic seal on their products, and the extra values are deeply embedded in their businesses. They are the faithful ones who bring positive change and the hope of our future generations. Several hours before the break of dawn, Mr. Martin started grinding organic wheat grains into flour, kneading the dough and baking the bread in a brick oven using wood fire. Just as the bread was baked, the sun has risen. The back of his shirt was then wet with sweat, appearing like wings of an angel. We like to imagine that there are angels amongst us in the form of human beings, casting magic with their bare hands. If you look carefully, you may see the angelsâ€Ś Mr. Martin supplies his organic bread under the brand White Brick Oven. Available at justlife IPC and The Gardens.
Yahqappuâ€™s pride and joyâ€”heirloom seeds saved for bountiful harvest of organic sweet corn.
Story of Yahqappu Adaikkalam The Lordâ€™s Garden When I started farming, I knew nothing about seeds but I was told that I could buy heirloom varieties in a shop. I was also given some seedlings of brinjal by a grandma where I farmed. Soon I found out that I could save the seeds of the brinjal but not the others. Although the seeds from the shop were of the traditional non-hybrid kind, they lacked the vigour the grandmaâ€™s seeds had. I got to know that they grow the heirloom seeds chemically, producing seeds that are addicted to easy feeding and the gene of these seeds are not resistant to diseases. I became convinced of the mightiness of the inherent pro-live genetics that are in all life.
The trial and error period ended in not having any seeds to plant except for the native spinach that nobody wanted to buy in the beginning. I had to go to India to look for the real heirloom seeds. Since the climate in Tamil Nadu is different to ours (ours being too humid causing fungal problems) I had to carefully save whatever I got from the first harvest and replanted it a few times to get the code climatic-sensitive while studying the art of storing seeds. The end result was a code-of-life that was robust and intelligently responsive to the environment and man. yahqappu.blogspot.com
After some years of farming and failing all the time when you push the strength of the seeds to the limits, I learned also that all the intelligence for life in a form of a code is encapsulated in a seed. What work of wonder, what feat of brilliance, that even God is known to be a seed? If God is the core and formula of all things as they say, then the seed must be where his throne is. I was exposed to a few movements for the preservation of seeds. They all advocated the urgency of keeping seeds because of the onslaught of the corporations to control and monopolise the code of life. They called it the worst threat to the grassroot peasants ever in the history of farming. It opened my eyes to save the seeds I planted but all to no avail.
Yahqappu (right) was joined by Mr. Lee of Cameron Organic Produce in supporting justlife Green Ribbon Campaign in 2010.
Story of Earthist: Fund a School International Association for Human Values Thailand (IAHV) In year 2008, justlife introduced the annual theme “Heal the Earth. Vote organic.” with the slogan: Every dollar you spent is your vote for what you believe in. Besides preserving the soil by supporting organic farmers and organic products, there are much more we can do with our ‘votes’. In the remote area of northern Thailand, near Thailand-Myanmar border, resides the descendants of the “lost army” of the Republic of China Army’s 93rd Division after the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Deep in this remote mountainous area, there is a small rural school where the surrounding villagers shared to learn Chinese language. The name of the school is Jian Qun. Currently, the school has more than 120 students with nine teachers and a headmaster. Most of the students are from hill tribe families surviving with traditional slash-and-burn cultivation,
with income hardly enough to sustain their family, let alone the school fees. The kind-hearted headmaster has never rejected any children who couldn’t afford the fees. Today, the school still sustains on donations. Unfortunately, the recent economy downturn in Thailand has affected the amount of donations received. The school has once ceased operation due to insufficient fund to retain the teachers. Our friends from International Association of Human Values Thailand (IAHV) who have witnessed these conditions, came out with a project providing a sustainable solution. Working with justlife, IAHV launched two products under the brand “Earthist”, the wild-crafted bitter melon tea harvested from the forest at the remote mountain areas; and a premium quality organic green tea. For
International Association for Human Values Thailand (IAHV) initiated a project to sustainably fund Jian Qun school, the only Chinese school in the remote area of northern Thailand.
every tin of Earthist tea sold, 10 baht will be donated to the school. This will ensure the school receives regular funding on a long term basis. Futhermore, the production of Earthist products has created new job opportunities for the villagers. By educating the villagers on the economy value of their forest, IAHV strives to convince the villagers to move away from the disastrous slash-and-burn plantation method to preserve the priceless forest. Meanwhile, IAHV is working on converting local farmers to organic farming and helping the farmers establish marketing channels for their organic products. www.facebook.com/iahvmiracle
PHOTO COURTESY OF IAHV THAILAND
This wild-crafted bitter melon shines light on the future of the hill tribe children from remote villages in northern Thailand.
Seedling of Moringa â€” the miracle tree.
Story of Earthist: Plant a Tree International Association for Human Values Thailand (IAHV) This precious piece of paradise at the Golden Triangle far northern Thailand may soon disappear (above left). The hill tribes are planting corn using slash-and-burn practice around the area (above right). With the increase of hill tribes settled down at this area, deforestation is spreading vigorously. In 2012, the air quality in Chiang Rai province exceeded the safety standard for 55 consecutive days, reaching as high as 470.8 micrograms per cubic meter. In addition, deforestation also caused soil erosion, landslides, flooding and insufficient water supply.
IAVH witnessed the damage and came out with a â€œMiracle Tree Planting Projectâ€?. The Moringa tree, which is hailed as Miracle tree, is chosen for the first wave of this project due to its high medicinal values and significant amount of nutrition. By planting Moringa tree, it will not only help in reforestation, it also helps to improve the household income of the hill tribes. For each tin of Earthist Moringa Tea sold, a Moringa tree will be planted, supporting the recovering of the mountain forest at Golden Triangle!
Story of KK Bujang Long Leader of Kampung Pa’Ukat, the birth place of Earthist Bario Rice Recorded by Ivan Ho & edited by Ho Phui Ling I am a simple traditional paddy farmer from the Kelabit Highland Tribe of Sarawak. My father and forefathers have been growing Sawah Padi (paddy field) for generations. Together, we have persevered in mastering the simple craft of paddy farming. Traditional paddy cultivation brings abundance of goodness to many—to my family and I, premium quality harvest with higher yield, to my helpers the buffalos, a place to rest and to work with their fellow man, and to the eco system, where we continuously bond with the land by giving it a little and taking from it a little, gently building love and care for all who reside there. The annual paddy production, using traditional paddy farming, for each family is substantial, therefore rice shortage is seldom a problem among Bario families. One good harvest for a season could provide
enough rice to satisfy a family’s need for a three-year period. Surplus rice is sold whenever possible. Our kampung in Bario is perhaps one of the very few places in Sarawak where the sales of rice are prompted by genuine surplus. Like my forefathers, a handful of paddy farmers and I, do not use mechanisation. We let the buffalos into the paddy fields after harvesting to feed as well as to plough the soil. As they plough and feed on the remaining paddy straws, the animals’ droppings provide a source of organic manure which is then ploughed back into the soil as food and nutrition for the land. This simple process can be done anytime, anywhere, effortlessly involving men, buffalos and nature. We do not need mechanisation to bring us quality paddy, paddy yield, soil fertility or to help lighten our work. We have nature. We will continue to work with nature. We are responsible for and are determined to preserve, educate and pass on the traditional arts of paddy planting to younger farmers. We wish to invite you on a rice tasting challenge. Taste both rice that is grown using the old ways and the new ways. Experience and know rice for yourself!
KK Bujang Long
Children of Bario village, Sarawak.
Bario: last piece of pure land in Sarawak.
Story of Earthist: Bario Rice
In the famous Hayao Miyazaki film, ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’, master Yupa returned to his homeland after a year of travelling, has commented with a sigh, “There is hardly any pure land left in this world.” This is the reflection of our environment whereby almost every corner of the Earth is polluted. Nevertheless, we are fortunate to find a rare piece of land in Malaysian Borneo, isolated from man-made pollutions, and is known as the last pure land in Sarawak. This place is named Bario. Bario is situated at the northeast part of Sarawak. Standing at 1,300 metres above sea level, this place is surrounded by rolling luscious greenery with clear blue skies. This land is well preserved from generation to generation by the friendly and peace-loving people of the Kelabit tribe. ‘Bario’ in local language means ‘wind blowing through wetlands’, where the valley is windy throughout the year, true to its nickname, the ‘Valley of the Wind’.
Blessed with geographical advantage and unique weather, Bario rice is the pride of Sarawak people. The Kelabit tribe carries on the traditional farming method through generations, producing one and only, excellent quality Bario rice. When words started spreading around, Bario rice began to be planted in many farms outside of Bario using its seeds. However, it is difficult to ascertain the originality of the seeds and the planting method of the farms outside Bario. It is impossible to duplicate the same fine quality of Bario rice without the geographical and climate advantage of Bario. Bario rice is planted only once a year, producing fine quality hill rice. After each harvest, the farmers rest the soil, the buffalos and themselves. Time allows nature to gently nurture the soil and the sense of happiness that has been gradually forgotten in life. Bario rice is indeed a treasured blessing from Mother Nature.
Ivan visited Bario with justlife team in February 2013 to exchange knowledge of organic rice planting with the Bario rice farmers in an attempt to keep the heirloom rice fields from chemicals; saving the last piece of pure land for our future generations.
Story of Ivan Ho Edited by Ho Phui Ling Kampung Harvest My first recollection with nature was when I was around four years old.
they may live and we need them so that we may thrive.
I remember being given a piggy-back ride on my father’s shoulders while both of us were exploring an interior of a jungle. Vines hanging down from trees, a stream flowing beneath us while insects, birds and monkeys chattering away – it was a peaceful experience to behold. That was when we connected - I fell in love with nature in its abundance and its simplicity.
We lived together peacefully until we had to relocate due to development. Watching the hills being logged and the land which was once a dense jungle, a home to diverse communities—people, animals, insects and plants, now a barren red earth that is empty of life was heart wrenching. We felt how the animals felt. We felt how the trees felt. That was when I made a promise to protect these silent scared treasures.
When I was much older, my family and I lived in a kampung (village) beside a forest that was then known as Kampung Sungai Rumput. The land and the forest provided us with shelter, food and medicine. They too shared with my sibling and I an enriching period to experience lessons on nature’s bio-diversity that all things are connected – from the guava trees to the bees, from the fishes to the playful otters – they need our care and considerations to be generous so
That was 20 years ago. Now I am dedicating my life to traditional farming to educate and create awareness so that together, we may restore, renew, revive, reclaim and redeem nature as she truly is meant to be nurtured. www.forearthsake.org
Story of Fung Chee Siang Hatiku Agrikultur Mr. Fung has been farming organically over fifteen years and utterly enjoys every moment. Over the years since he started his farm, he discovered that Mother Nature actually work in many ways with the most tolerance and patience to cultivate organic farmers. Hatiku Agrikultur has virtually no pest issues. Mr. Fung refers the wildlife and birds as his friends. There are several birds throughout the farm, many of them nest on the ceiling of his barn. According to Mr. Fung, in one day a single bird can eat up to 1,000 bugs. The symbiotic relationship Mr. Fung has with these birds provides a balance in nature. They not only have an abundant feed source throughout his farm but also a safe nesting habitat. In return they grant him with pest free veggies and every morning, Mr. Fung scrapes the floor of the barn to collect their droppings for compost. It is this type of balance that Mr. Fung not only relishes, but also promotes. At first, he tried to plant deterrent plants to prevent insects. He even planted some plants to attract pests, which is a technique called bait planting. Although these techniques worked well, they are no longer needed. “When nature is balanced, you have the good and the bad, the yin and the yang. This is nature’s harmony. You don’t need education or research, but a decency to respect nature.”
Mr. Fung is very grateful for the opportunity to work as an organic farmer and his zeal for his work is contagious. “Many people have passions and hobbies, but few get to live them, so I am living it up and forever grateful. Fifteen years ago I wanted to cultivate this land, so I started an organic farm. Now I realise that this land has been cultivating me.” Mr. Fung credits Mother Nature for his success. He sees himself as a farmer that does not work hard nor think too much; that a farmer is not to toil his life away but should enjoy Mother Nature. In this respect, Mr. Fung is an avid believer in Earth’s natural processes and strongly encourages farmers’ collaboration with nature, feeling that if you work against her you will ultimately fail. “If you leave nature alone, it takes care of you. I am a lazy farmer, so I like being taken care of.” Edited excerpts from essay ‘The Selfproclaimed Lazy Farmer’, courtesy of Loren Cardeli, A Growing Culture. www.agrowingculture.org
Spider is part of his family. We felt his tenderness towards nature when Mr. Fung introduced the spiders on his farm. No doubt that a farmer that is so aware of the existence of such tiny creatures is surely a competent guardian of our precious soil.
Story of Ho Woon Sing Terra Farm I first heard about biodynamic farming in 1996 from a friend who lives in the USA. I was 18 and was helping my father at his organic farm. I remembered our friend shared that the term “certified organic” was blatantly misused in the USA and the more dedicated organic farmers were moving onto biodynamic farming and applying for Demeter certification. It was a brief introduction to biodynamic farming then.
husband and he began to do some research on biodynamic farming method. A few months later, a biodynamic farmer, Jacob Messer, paid us a visit. He gave us a more in-depth understanding of this farming method. A year later, we flew to Australia to visit Darren Aitken’s biodynamic farm. It was the first time I saw with my own eyes how lively and fertile the soil is on a biodynamic farm and the produce was exceptionally tasty!
Ten years on, my husband and I started operating our own organic farm. It was on a piece of land that was badly depleted of organic matters. No doubt, we were asking for trouble! The first three years was disastrous. We couldn’t even break-even.
Now, we fully adopt the Australian biodynamic farming method at our farm.
In the third year we were visited by Mr. Hans Mulder (our biodynamic farming teacher) who introduced biodynamic farming method to us. His visit triggered some curiosity in my
While organic farming is a way to keep chemicals out of our plates, biodynamic farming goes beyond that by taking care of the life force of the crops. Biodynamic farming embraces a holistic view of nature. It takes into account the seasons and the rhythm of the planets. Crops are planted, nurtured and harvested in interaction with lunar cycles while the soil is enriched and revitalised with herbs preparations and natural fertilisers. Consequently, biodynamic farming approach cultivates crops with strong inherent life force and high natural potency.
Woon Sing’s children are always learning and playing in the farm; it is their playground, their classroom.
www.terrafarm.com.my Terra Farm is the first Demeter certified biodynamic farm in Malaysia.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SONNENTOR
Story of Johannes Gutmann Founder of Sonnentor Sonnentor Kräuterhandels GmbH was founded in 1988 by Johannes Gutmann in Lower Austria’s Waldviertel region. Instead of following conventional companies who set up their headquarters in big cities, Johannes courageously decided to base Sonnentor in his hometown, a small village with a population of only a few hundred people. His business idea is based on the concept of supporting small rural structures, which have a long-standing tradition in the Waldviertel district. This way, younger generations can stay in the region and can be close to their families. Sonnentor currently has 135 employees, all from neighbouring villages, working at their headquarters. For the continuous and consistent social and environmental commitment to regional suppliers, Sonnentor has been recognised with the TRIGOS award in 2008. To support rural economy and his business, Johannes sources organic specialties like tea, spices, and sugar-free fruit spreads from local farms and merchandises those products internationally – under their ‘smiling sun’ trademark, which symbolises happiness, joy, fertility, warmth and light, and reflects Sonnentor’s attitude of going through life with a smile. In 1992, an old farm in Sprögnitz was purchased and used as the business headquarters. It was converted to a production and distribution centre and has been modernised and expanded over the years. When Sonnentor started out in
1988, there were three organic farmers who supplied organic herbs for the company. Today, however, the Austrian Sonnentor family has grown to over 150 farmers. Sonnentor also consistently applies their philosophy of sustainable regional development on farming projects in the Czech Republic, Romania and Albania. In 1992, Sonnentor founded a subsidiary in the Czech Republic and a cultivation project, which started in Romania in 1999, was then supplemented by a marketing partnership in 2006. Johannes believes in fair partnerships with suppliers, producers, employees and consumers and the promotion of regional agricultural structures in the Waldviertel and in other places – this is fair trade lived by Sonnentor every day. sonnentor.com
Everything is possible for Johannes Gutmann. “Bingo!”
Story of Weleda Anthroposophy, the movement, stemming from the teachings of philosopher Dr. Rudolf Steiner, since 1921 encourages the individual to see his or her body, mind and spirit as intrinsically linked to our world; all as a part of one holistic system. Dr. Steiner, with Dr Ita Wegman and a team of dedicated scientists and doctors went on a mission to determine just how they might use Anthroposophy, to take care of their patients’ needs. They understood that a human body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, but sometimes it needs a little help. So they developed a personal approach to health care using natural ingredients that can holistically work with and support our own body’s healing tendencies.
For over 90 years now, fair trade is something Weleda has always been passionately committed to. Weleda also helps train and educate farmers, assisting them in converting more farms into biodynamic or organic ones. The farmers get a living wage, Weleda gets better crops, the world gets more sustainable harvesting practices and you get the most effective natural ingredients to help keep you healthy and beautiful. www.weleda.com
The newly founded company’s name couldn’t have been more appropriate: WELEDA, after the Celtic goddess of wisdom and healing. Organic is not some new trend Weleda is following, more like a trend it helped to establish. Weleda set up one of the very first biodynamic gardens all the way back in the 1920s to provide them with the natural, effective raw materials needed to make products the way they should be made. Today, Weleda has 50 acres of these biodynamic gardens in Germany—the Weleda Biodynamic Medicinal Plant Gardens are the largest of their kind in Europe—with more in Switzerland, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil and New Zealand, collectively growing more than 300 healing plants and flowers.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WELEDA
Patients were healed, wellness and balance were restored to them, and never once was a synthetic chemical or lab-made preservative used in the process.
Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) Founder of Anthroposophy Society During his lifetime, many of Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s contemporaries have asked for his advice on numerous aspects of life. His initiative and inspiration thus led to the founding of Steiner Waldorf schools and kindergartens, anthroposophical medicine, natural body care and biodynamic farming, amongst others.
Story of Voelkel Voelkel’s motto “Responsibility for people and nature” is at the heart of all of their actions. It all began over 75 years ago when Karl and Margret Voelkel started to harvest and press fruit from their own orchard. The current CEO Stefan Voelkel, the founders’ grandson, proudly looks back on his roots: “My grandparents started cultivating fruit from their own orchard with ‘biodynamic farming’ methods and the idea of ´Demeter’ became the foundations of our company.” Guided by the agricultural teachings of Rudolf Steiner, founders Karl and Margret Voelkel practised biodynamic farming, recognising it as the most consistently sustainable, eco-friendly and socially responsible type of cultivation.
Preserving biodiversity is of special importance to Voelkel, and that is why they especially support two initiatives: the growth and cultivation of organic mixed orchards as well as the development and preservation of trueto-seed vegetable varieties. True-to-seed varieties are able to propagate and pass on their characteristics. As a result, farmers do not become dependent on seed suppliers. Old, traditional fruit varieties grow in mixed orchards, which at the same time serve as sustainable environment and habitat for many types of insects, small mammals and birds. Voelkel’s family-run, traditional juice mill is committed to and advocates the preservation of mixed fruit orchards. www.voelkeljuice.de
In the 1920s, Karl and Margret Voelkel settled as pioneers, in true “wandering” spirit, in the Höhbeck area, a sparsely populated stretch of land on the Elbe River. They first planted apple, pear and cherry trees in their fruit orchard, along with strawberry, currant and gooseberry bushes, growing and cultivating them in line with anthroposophic principles. And so the biodynamic (Demeter) approach was already a foundation for the family business more than eighty years ago.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF VOELKEL
Voelkel supports the cello class at the L端chowDannenberg Music School, Germany. Voelkel believes that the close connection between the holistic Demeter philosophy and encouraging the artistic development and creativity of children and youth early on is an innovative and forwardthinking approach.
Story of Werner Florian Owner of Naturvital Florian Shared by his daughter Andrea Florian Florian’s company, seated in the heart of Vienna, was founded in 1933 by Mr. Karl Franz Florian who was in the trading of herbs and natural pharmaceutical products. In 1995, his son, Mr. Werner Florian started his search for genuine quality herbs on the day that he read about the production of conventional chamomile tea, that was being sold in pharmacies worldwide. The producers of the chamomile tea were proud to tell that the chamomile monoculture field was so big that they need helicopters to spray the insecticides several times a year over the crop. “That can’t be the best quality herbs available, which are used for healthy teas and remedies.” Mr. Florian thought. It was a challenge to find organic quality ingredients at that time since Naturvital uses over 80 different medicinal herbs from all over the world. Finally, in 1998, Mr. Werner Florian managed to find all the organic ingredients he needed. For a sustainable supply of artichoke, he started a cooperation with local farmers to farm this Mediterranean thistle in the surrounding of Vienna - a long-lasting cooperation until today. Mr. Werner Florian, born in 1939 in Vienna, is the man with the three Ps: Passion, Progressiveness, Power. Supported by his daughter, Andrea and her husband, Harald, with 74 years he is still working on a daily basis and thinking about new products and how to make production technologies even better so the valuable substances from herbs and fruits are kept inside the finished products. His power and energy are from his loving family and the fact that work never felt like work for him. www.naturvital.at
PHOTO COURTESY OF NATURVITAL FLORIAN
Mr. Werner Florian is passionate in collecting more than 300 art pieces around herbs and herbal medicine like herbal books from the 15th century and old Asian and European medicinal devices.
Story of Jean-Michel Boyer Managing Director of Vitagermine When I was based in Paris, I realised that the pollution and the related stress of the heavy urban environment were worsening year after year and were beginning to affect our familyâ€™s wellbeing. It was then I started to take interest in ecological literature, where I discovered the basics of a durable environment and good nutrition. I shared these views with my wife and my kids, and we decided in 1995 to totally change our lifestyle by leaving Paris behind us and settling in the sunny South of France. To put into practice my quest for organic food, I joined Vitagermine, a health food company based in Bordeaux and started a new project with a new team to develop a new product line of organic baby food. A year later, Vitagermine launched the first 100% organic infant milk formula that marked the start of Babybio and Babynat product lines. One of our main principles since then has always been to put a particular emphasis on the raw materials used for our products so as to deliver the best taste and nutrition quality. Being in an agricultural region, internationally renowned for its wine, we were at the origin of the Regional Association of Organic Growers and Processors in the Bordeaux region to promote and develop the organic agriculture and to convert farmers into optimum environmentallyfriendly production practices. Through the Association, we have been strengthening our relationship with farmers and developing our regional sourcing of raw materials. As a matter of fact, Vitagermine was the first food processor to label the origin of all ingredients on its products for total transparency. vitagermine.com
PHOTO BY SHAINA OLMANSON
Babynat organic apple-banana jar has always been the favourite of all babies worldwide. The production of this all time favourite was discontinued for over a year as the organic banana could not passed Vitagermineâ€™s in-house stringent residues test. Over the years, Vitagermine has continuously shown their commitment to put babiesâ€™ wellbeing way over profit.
Nui is a dedicated Australian Fair Trade company focusing on the production of certified organic virgin coconut oil and wild harvest products in the South Pacific. Through their certified organic 100% coconut oil brand Nui, the founder and his team are committed to empowering island communities to achieve sustainable socio-economic development through their charter 窶認air Trade for a Fair Go.
Story of Andreas Lombardozzi Founder of the fair trade brand—Nui
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NUI
After working and sailing in the Pacific for two years, I was still strongly bound to my tradition of Ubuntu Africa—the oneness of being human, yet inspired by the new found beauty, society and agricultural potential of the Pacific. The sudden passing of my father upon returning to South Africa in 1998 changed the priorities of my life from completing studies to returning to Sydney and sailing back into the Pacific towards Port Vila, Vanuatu. During the extended sailing adventure on a 1929 Schooner la Violante, I have convinced myself to put my money where my economist’s mouth is and practically implemented my vision plan of an Organic Economy. After three months of staying in Vila, and working on building the supply chain network, products, brand and marketing strategy in Vanuatu, I migrated to Sydney and at the age of 29, started African Pacific: a co-creative, transparent social purpose partnership with the economic mission to measurably improve the livelihoods of growers in the Pacific; a social vision of Fair Trade for a Fair Go; and business values and systems to create “Grower Equity” to ensure a long term sustainability in Pacific supply chains.
Fourteen years on, the first seven years was focusing on the vertical integration of the coconut value chain, the other seven years in modeling the expansion of the business into cocoa trading and processing. I work in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa, and have commercial interests in a Pacific network of social businesses integrating values-add processing and professional agri-business services to coconut, cocoa and carbon commodities. I believe the economy of Vanuatu and other agricultural based islands can meet the growing challenges and requirements of local, regional and international food security, climate change and sustainable economic growth if small scale farmers and growers have appropriate support, information and market access. www.nuicoconut.com Andreas continues to promote strategic economic and predictive agricultural modelling within the Pacific islands, and is passionate about marketing Wild Harvest and Organic products of Pacific Origin, especially focused on Vanuatu.
Dr Mike sharing with justlife team another fair trade project making loofah bathroom products.
Story of Indochine Natural Shared by Dr Mike Thair, co-founder and owner of Indochine Natural Indochine Natural operates under a set of ethical business principles that started as a practical necessity in working with a commune of 50 farmers in Vietnam during 2007, and has now evolved into the first Fair Trade registered company in Malaysia certified by World Fair Trade Organization. Central to Fair Trade is the creation of opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers. Indochine Natural has worked with small farmers in Vietnam producing loofah bathroom products, and more recently intellectually disabled in Malaysia producing a dish wash soap made from recycled cooking oil that is now being exported. Capacity building is another principle to facilitate long-term business relationships by enabling small producers to improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets. When Indochine Natural first started working with a group of intellectually disabled soap makers in Penang, their production capacity was not economically viable and they had very limited market access. Today they can produce hundreds of dish wash soaps daily, and these are exported. With the assistance of Indochine Natural, they are now producing an eco-friendly general household cleaning liquid made from recycled cooking oil.
In adhering to these principles there are a number of benefits arising from Fair Trade. We are of the opinion that Fair Trade is simply just good business practice. The most direct beneficiaries are the producers who have safe working conditions, reasonable hours, and are paid a â€œliving wageâ€?. For consumers, they can be assured that the products do not contain hazardous materials and workers have not been exploited. In short, Fair Trade is good for people and good for the planet. indochinenatural.com World Fair Trade Organization: www.wfto.com
Story of Dr. Saulius Anthony Alkaitis Founder of Dr Alkaitis This is how Dr Alkaitis started. Over the years, my wife would bring home a variety of personal care products from numerous sources, including health food stores, and ask my opinion about them. After looking at the ingredient label, invariably my response was, ‘I wouldn’t put that on my skin.’ Having had more than a passing scientific and sociological interest in skin, our most social of organs, one day I said, ‘I will make you products for which your skin will be eternally thankful.’ After five years of effort, the core products of my line were born. Creating and refining our products are both an art and science. It begins with combining ‘living’ edible ingredients. This is a sound methodology for addressing the largest ‘living’ organ in the body, one’s own skin. Only a skin product made with living ingredients can interact with each individual’s skin in a unique manner that assists ones skin in reaching and maintaining its ideal homeostasis. We strive to produce a line that supports this cellular and biologically functional balance, that is aligned with nature and that supports the body’s natural processes. All of our ingredients are edible. This is an absolute guideline when formulating Dr Alkaitis products. I believe in: “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin”.
Quality is of paramount importance. High quality plants provide the greatest therapeutic potential. We use certified organic and biodynamic growers who cultivate certified organic herbs, nuts, plants and oils. Plants are sourced only from individuals that we have vetted and trust – a relationship developed over several years of professional and personal interaction. We have studied and monitored the strict quality of their practices and procedures. We call this process Boutique Agriculture, since we only interact with growers in which we can assure quality. We guarantee that every plant we use has a real individual responsible for it and personally associated with it. Wild-crafted herbs are collected from unspoiled wilderness areas and are also sourced in a similar way. Wild-crafters monitor and collect these superior quality plants in a sustainable manner. Sustainability means that there are always enough plants left behind in the wild so that the maintenance of a healthy population is never in doubt. alkaitis.org
Story of Soo Siew Peng Co-founder and managing director of I-Green Some time in August 2000, I made a phone call to my brother KK, who was then a chemical engineer. I always had sensitive skin and had trouble finding suitable skincare products. I recall telling him that I needed something that is pure and natural, mild to the skin, soothes the soul, and is gentle to the environment. That conversation changed both our lives, giving us a calling to dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of products that are gentle on people and the environment. I-Green was born. Despite having successful careers of our own, we knew something was amiss. We felt we needed to move beyond that, to do something that feeds our souls and builds character. We wanted to give back. We wanted a business that stands on integrity, sustainability and quality; it is to be an ethical business. We decided to commit to put people first, whether it is the people working for us, or the consumers who buy our products. The promise of accountability always holds true. As the company grows, we continue to use it as a platform to promote a sustainable way of life, for each of us to do our part to make this world a better place to live in. www.budsbaby.com | www.budskids.com www.esmeria.com I-Green is a Malaysian company and their personal care products are the first in Malaysia to be certified by ECOCERT, an international certification body for natural skincare and cosmetics.
I-Green initiated a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to get children to be eco warriors by coming up with a book on the environment, entitled “Where on Earth is the Environment?” Every small step matters and they hope small steps like these will start a ripple effect that gradually gives impact in people’s lives.
Story of Giulia Maria Crespi Founder of Cascine Orsine, environmentalist I recall the pleasure of listening to the frogsâ€™ spring concert when I was a child. By May, however, the cheerful crocking was replaced by dead silence and I understood that herbicides have been sprayed and the frogs were all dead. That realisation has prompted me to focus on biodynamic agriculture some forty years ago with the hope of bringing back the frogs. I was also pushed towards learning techniques of biodynamic agriculture by my personal experience with breast cancer in 1968, when I discovered the importance of healthy nutrition in the cure of the disease. I decided to attend a biodynamic agriculture course in Germany. In 1976, when no one in Italy was talking about organic farming yet, I took over our family estate and started the first biodynamic farm in Italy with my son, Aldo Paravicini.
Extending over 650 hectares through the Ticino Natural Park, between Bereguardo and the river, Cascine Orsine dedicates 300 hectares to crop cultivation, while maintaining woods and streams as a refuge for local wild life.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CASCINE ORSINE
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