Partnering with local communities and Indigenous farmers to source regeneratively grown and wildly harvested products
More than 75% of Earth’s land areas are substantially degraded due to deforestation and soil erosion, driving species to extinction, aggravating the effects of climate change and harming the well-being of people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and wild harvesting. One innovative company aims to meet the growing global demand for health foods by sourcing non-timber forest products like nuts and fruits in ways that provide both income-generating opportunities for Indigenous peoples and local communities and value for standing forests.
Imlak’esh Organics curates a line of plant-based, keto, paleo and immunity-boosting snacks with organic ingredients ethically sourced from small-scale farmers in Latin America. These communities source fruits and nuts from the forest and agroforestry systems and implement regenerative agroforestry practices to ensure long-term provision of these products as demand grows. A leading seller of macambo beans (a close relative of cacao beans) and the largest importer of sacha inchi nuts to the U.S., Imlak’esh pays premium prices for Organic, Fair Trade and Regnerative certified products that generate an additional income for the farmers’ efforts toward sustainability.
Financing from CI Ventures totaling $US 500,000 will enable Imlak’esh to cover working capital needs to source sacha inchi, cacao, macambo, maca and golden berries from key local and Indigenous suppliers in critical regions for conservation in Ecuador and Peru.
Imlak’esh sources from over 1,400 farmers who manage 6,000 hectares of forest and agroforestry systems across Latin America. Suppliers include single family farms owned by Indigenous peoples or local communities, cooperative growers, associations of local farmers and companies with shared values in sourcing, ecology and fair-trade standards held by Imlak’esh. Based on the company’s growth plans, they expect to double the number of farmers benefiting in the next few years. The company also invests a percentage of sales into education, clean water and nutrition programs for local communities.