Moringa Energy Shots Launched Nationwide in Whole Foods USA!
WhootWhooooooot! I don’t know about you, but I always feel that celebrating our achievements is something we tend to underrate. We, myself included, often tend to get so carried away by focusing on achieving our next goal that we tend to forget the little victories it took to get to where we are in the first place. Today, however, is a day where I feel I can truly sit back for a moment and celebrate an achievement I am proud to share:
Our Haiti moringa project partner KuliKuli has announced the nationwide launch of its new line of Moringa Green Energy Shots at Whole Foods stores throughout the United States. The Energy Shots contain Moringa leaf powder produced by Haitian smallholder farmers that participate in the project I helped set up over the past year.
It’s incredible how fast things can go: 2 years ago I had never heard of the moringa ‘miracle tree’. Then a friend mine told me about it and how he had started turning the tree’s seeds into oil using a cold press. A few weeks after that first encounter the same friend approached me with the question if I could maybe help him develop a project with moringa in Haiti. He told me that there was interest to fund such a project but that he wasn’t sure on how to proceed.
Back then I could never have imagined that little over a year later this project, that I did decide to take on, would result in an amazing product containing moringa grown and processed by Haitian smallholder farmers. Let alone that it would be launched nationwide in Whole Foods stores throughout the US.
And yet that is exactly what has happened. With thanks to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, the Haitian organization that commissioned the project and believed in me to get it up and running, and amazing partners like The Clinton Foundation (funding), KuliKuli (buyer of the moringa), and the Dutch Embassy (who funded the first exploratory study I conducted more than a year ago).
Below I have added the official press release that outlines the product launch and the ways in which these new Green Energy Shots Are helping to change lives and agriculture in Haiti.
———— PRESS RELEASE ————–
NEW WHOLE FOODS MARKET PRODUCTS CONNECT HAITIAN FARMERS TO U.S. CONSUMERS
How a Natural Energy Shot and an Organic Chocolate Bar Are Changing Agriculture in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, February 17, 2016 — Two new products debuted this month in the U.S. at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide—Kuli Kuli’s Moringa Green Energy shots and Taza Chocolate’s Stone Ground Haiti bar—and ingredients for both are sourced directly from smallholder farmers in Haiti. This direct market access, combined with helping farmers to improve and expand, means increased incomes in Haiti while consumers in the U.S. benefit from high quality products. And for a severely deforested nation like Haiti, an additional benefit is that more trees get planted as both items are derived from trees.
This story is also about helping to transform agriculture in Haiti by working with small-scale family farmers as micro businesses rather than charity recipients. Smallholder farm income goes up as a result of various combinations of organic agricultural training, better quality non-hybrid seed, access to financial services and direct market connections via two pioneers in this field. In the case of moringa, the pioneer is the non-profit Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), with support from the Clinton Foundation. And for the cacao bean used to make chocolate, it is the for-profit company Produits des Iles, S.A. (PISA).
“We help connect Haitian farmers directly to export markets,” said Hugh Locke, President of the SFA, “as well as providing services like improved seed, tools and training to help them better manage their farms in the face of increasing drought conditions. And these agricultural services are earned by farmers planting trees, which in turn helps address the severe deforestation that is one of the main causes of the country’s ongoing drought.”
The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree have entered the pantheon of superfoods by virtue of exceptional amounts of protein along with 27 vitamins and 46 antioxidants. One of the most nutrient dense plants on earth, around 80,000 of these trees are being cultivated by smallholder farmers in Haiti. A network of women farmers’ cooperatives clean and process the leaves, transforming them into the powder that is in high demand by both Haitian and U.S. consumers. Kuli Kuli incorporates the resulting powder into a Moringa Green Energy shot that is similar to a caffeinated green smoothie.
Cacao trees have long been cultivated in Haiti for their bean used in making chocolate, but with minimum benefit to the smallholder farmers who historically have been the primary growers. Taza Chocolate is changing this dynamic as the first U.S. ‘bean to bar’ chocolate maker to import organic, premium grade Haitian cacao. As part of its Direct Trade program, Taza pays more than twice the premium required by Fair Trade certification in exchange for specialty cacao grown by 1,500 smallholder farmers sustainably managing close to 2,000 acres of organic certified land.
“It is exciting that an energy shot and a chocolate bar are connecting Haitian smallholder farmers to the shelves at Whole Foods,” said Haiti-born actor Jimmy Jean-Louis, who appears in NBC’s Heroes Reborn and Arrow as well as the Oscar-nominated film Joy, “and that both products support the planting of more trees to help our country’s recovery.”
I am Chris, a certified permaculture designer, sustainable development professional and DIYer. I like to grow, inside and out. I’m interested in growing positive impact and finding solutions that go beyond sustainable.
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