Chicago, IL (April 24, 2017) – On April 10, Ravi Jolly, co-founder of US-based quinoa company I Heart Keenwah(http://www.iheartkeenwah.com/), traveled to Bolivia to meet with Fair Trade certified farmers who grow the company’s organic Royal Bolivian quinoa. While conducting interviews with the growers, Jolly gained new insights on the impact that Fair Trade farming has on smallholder family farms.
Jolly met with Suma Kamaña and AIPQUISA-C, two of the three Fair Trade associations with whom I Heart Keenwah partners. During his meetings, Jolly learned more about the positive impact of Fair Trade funds:
The purchase of land in the town of Challapata, which is the future site of a warehouse and facility where the AIPQUISA-C association will clean, store and pack quinoa for all of the members of the Sau Sau community.
The purchase of machinery equipment, with which the members of the Suma Kamaña association will be able to more efficiently clean quinoa
Azankeri, a third Fair Trade association I Heart Keenwah works with, has used Fair Trade dollars to purchase organic manure for fertilizer, and to improve organic pest control. Additionally, the association has purchased building materials for community housing improvements and personal protection equipment such as goggles, boots and gloves.
Teofilo Coca Martinez is the president of the AIPQUISA-C association. In an interview with Jolly, he commented: "Our quinoa is very ancient. It’s the quinoa of our grandparents and of our ancestors. We continue to work with quinoa because it's the only type of work that we have in these parts. The Fair Trade program gives us an incentive for all of our efforts in farming organic quinoa, from the seeding to harvest. Fair Trade also gives us community support."
I Heart Keenwah is sharing Jolly’s portraits of the Fair Trade association members on the company’s social media accounts (Instagram: @iheartkeenwah), and the video interviews are being compiled into a mini documentary Jolly plans to post on the recently-launched Toasted Quinoa Project website (www.ToastedQuinoa.com) in summer 2017.
“Growing demand by Western consumers has driven the price of quinoa down in many places, and encouraged unsustainable growing practices in some countries,” said Jolly. “Our commitment to Fair Trade certified quinoa not only ensures that traditional, environmentally conscious growing methods are preserved, but it also empowers the farmers we work with, and contributes to their communities.”
About I Heart Keenwah
I Heart Keenwah is a quinoa company, dedicated to bringing delicious foods that have health-promoting nutrients to the market. The company cooks up quinoa products with great flavors and simple ingredients, making it easy for you to get quinoa, a superfood, into your day-to-day routine. Ravi Jolly and Sarah Chalos, I Heart Keenwah’s founders, chose quinoa because of its numerous health and nutritional benefits—it’s the only grain that is a complete source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids.
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