Protecting the Amazon
Every now and then, you come across a project that truly benefits both people and planet. The Amazon vanilla project is one such scheme. Vanilla Pompona grows native vanilla in the Peruvian Amazon. They bring high-quality, sustainable, eco-friendly vanilla products to consumers via the Sekut Vanilla Company. The company not only seeks to introduce the world to the wonders of this vanilla, but also to protect the Amazon rainforest and its people.
How Vanilla Pompona
Protects the Rainforest
As a native plant, Vanilla pompona is a part of the precious rainforest ecosystem. It has long been wildcrafted in its native range. Now, however, there is great potential to grow this product commercially. This is something that will help to protect the mountainous rainforest region around San Martin, in Northern Peru.
Firstly, this is a crop which, unlike mono-crop vanilla plantations elsewhere in the world, can be grown in conscientious and sustainable ways. Vanilla pomona is still pollinated by native orchid bees. It is grown in self-sufficient systems with all-natural inputs. A space-saving crop, and shade tolerant, this native orchid does not deplete soil fertility and – crucially – does not require surrounding rainforest to be chopped down.
Secondly, Vanilla pompona could provide an economic lifeline to indigenous Awajun people living in the area. It has great potential to be the cornerstone of sustainable production in the region. This means that they can play an active role in protecting the rainforest. They can fight back against deforestation and non-sustainable agriculture.
It is only when local people are involved in conservation and sustainability that measures can really succeed. This vanilla company can be held up as an exemplar. Not only do they seek to spread knowledge of commercial cultivation around the area. They also operate as a fair trade company, and invest profits back into the local community.
A Better Vanilla
Vanillin is used in many flavourings and products around the world. Unfortunately, much of the vanilla flavouring or fragrances out there are artificial. They are synthesised from the petrochemical precursor guaiacol, or from lignin. There is a growing awareness of the superiority of natural vanilla. But much of the natural vanilla out there is grown in a damaging and non-sustainable way.
Vanilla pompona offers a more ethical and eco-friendly option. What is more, this native plant is superior to many of the other natural vanillas on the market. Its large, plump pods are packed full of vanillin crystals. The crop has been tested to show a concentration of 9.88g/100g in Glucovanillin. It is crammed with over 300 flavour compounds that combine for a deep, complex taste and fragrance. Vanillin is also a powerful antioxidant, that helps to protect cells from free radicals.
With great potential as a commercial crop, and great green credentials, Vanilla pompona can help protect the Amazon rainforest and its people.
It can also provide a superior alternative to more environmentally harmful products. Clearly, this is a win-win for people and planet.