These days our consumer choices are often laden with guilt.
We stalk the grocery aisles in silent self-interrogation about the food we place in our basket. No longer are we merely shopping, we are also consciously participating in a fluid and volatile global economy with environmental and social consequences beyond our potentially expanding waistlines.
But I digress, back to the silent interrogation…
Is this food choice nutritious? Is it ethically farmed and sourced? Does the label tell the whole truth about its contents?
These are some of the many questions that I ask myself when I buy food. Sometimes I scrutinize the back label and scan the ingredients for nasties and I know that I am not alone. There is a growing awareness around this subject and it is not only the savvy first-world consumers who are voting with their dollar by making more discernible choices.
A world away from the supermarket in the tropical island of Bali, Ben Ripple and Frederick Schilling, two environmentally conscious entrepreneurs are assuaging our guilt in the most tangible way; organically farming and ethically manufacturing a range of nutritious foods of the highest quality for consumers.
Their company, Big Tree Farms is founded on the principle of jamu: an Indonesian concept of body, mind and spirit working in harmony and in balance. With humble beginnings growing organic vegetables, the company has expanded to involve 14,000 farms across the vast Indonesian Archipelago.
While South East Asia is not generally renowned for the world’s best practice in sustainable agriculture, Big Tree Farms is helping to turn this trend around, partnering with local farmers and the wider community in which they farm to achieve a workable balance between economics and ecology.
This sustainable organic model of agriculture is about returning to the old ways. It’s also about saying no to the ‘cash crop’ driven mass-market insatiability of recent times, which has seen the rapid and irreversible depletion of indigenous flora and fauna.
Ben and Frederick are also passionate about raw food and Big Tree Farms is the first company in the world to produce a truly raw (meaning it has never been heated above 46C) cold processed organic cacao powder and butter, under the umbrella of their Tru Ra range of cacao.
Raw cacao (as distinct from roasted cocoa beans) is one of the most phytochemically diverse superfoods and a far more powerful source of antioxidants and other nutrients than conventional chocolate. It is also very high in the so-called ‘bliss chemical’ anandamide.
Other delectable goodies in the Tru Ra range include Cacao Nibs and the ‘freaking amazing’ (Simone Baldwin direct quote) Cashew Cacao Clusters.
Capitalising on the current global fascination with cacao products, here are two well worth considering.
Big Tree Farms certified fair trade coconut sugar is described as ‘nature’s perfect sweetener’. It is an unrefined, high nutrient, low GI sweetener that you can use in place of cane sugar. With a flavour close to light brown sugar it is a quick and easy swap that your body will thank you for.
Big Tree Farms Company HQ is located 25 minutes south of Bali’s cultural center of Ubud and it is quite literally a monument to ecological sustainability.
Nicknamed the ‘Bamboo Cathedral’ it is constructed entirely from this fast-growing and abundantly available material and is considered the world’s largest commercial bamboo structure. Local builders were utilised to build the amazing structure which is as beautiful as it is sustainable. Happily the building is not off limits to tourists so if you find yourself staying in Ubud or making a day trip then you can quite easily drop into BTF on the way and join one of the daily tours of this incredible Chocolate Factory. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details, directions, and reservations)
Guilt-free, all one is left to do is add these delicious, raw, organic and nutritious foods to their basket. Who would have thought eating chocolate would make you such a good global citizen?