In the humid Sava region of northern Madagascar, where vanilla vines grow in the shaded canopy of the jungle, villagers guard their crop as though it were a precious metal. Well they might. Strong demand for natural vanilla, speculation, bad harvests and money laundering have driven prices as high as silver. Farmers often awake to find their vines stripped bare, carried off in the night by gangs of thieves filling orders for buyers in the far-off capital of Antananarivo, who in turn supply the markets of western Europe, the US and Asia.
Aura Cacia just completed its first project associated with its 1% organic fund. Proceeds funded the construction of a new preschool in Madagascar, where we source our Ylang Ylang essential oil. Now fifty to sixty children are receiving a head start on their education.
This month, Darden Restaurants celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Harvest Program, a food rescue initiative that collects and donates unserved food and delivers it to hunger relief organizations and food banks. Darden Harvest has provided more than 62 million pounds of donated food to local organizations and food banks. The Harvest donations are safely saved, fully prepared menu items, from lasagna and vegetables to lobster.
New vanilla sourcing program builds on company’s commitment to improving the lives of smallholder farmers in developing countries
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 20, 2013 /3BL Media/ – General Mills and Häagen-Dazs today announced an initiative designed to foster greater economic vitality for smallholder vanilla farmers in Madagascar and ensure the availability of high quality vanilla for future generations.