In 2004, WWB distributed 1000 notebooks and 2000 pencils to the settlements along the Curaray River for the children to use in school. When we returned 5 years later, they were still talking about it!
Viana Muller, co-founder of Whole World Botanicals, visiting the Apu (head man) of the settlement to find out what kind of help their settlement needs the most.
Whole World Botanicals’ herbs are bioenergetically grown and harested. Maca roots, for example, are sown at the full moon and leafy plants are sown with the new moon. In order for medicinal parts to have maximum strength, plants are harvested at the full moon. These practices of native people all over the world are honored by WWB.
“In the high Andes, Dr. Viana Muller helps bring in the maca harvest.”
“Viana consults with an apu (local leader of a camu-camu collecting community) about challenges of life in the northeastern Peruvian rainforest. Outside commerical interests have clear-cut part of their forest and over fished their rivers, degrading their environment and impoversihing local river dwellers.”
“Men from 5 maca-growing communities construct a narrow room with glass walls and ceiling to collect the passive solar energy from the brilliant high altitude sun. During the dry season the daytime temperature rises to 70° F. and drops to below freezing at night. The heat collected in the sun space penetrates the 12″ thick adobe walls slowly, reaching the inside of the house during the coldest hours of the night. This WWB Project was supervised by Dr. Richard Kpomp (bottom photo, center, rear) Co-founder of the Maine Solar Energy Association”
“The men are just as fascinated as the women in exploring for the first time how well and quickly a solar oven works to cook their food in their high Andean home, with abundant sunshine”
Whole World Botanicals collaborates with our organic farming and wildcrafting partners in the rainforest and the Andes to support not only green farming but also green living. Maca growers live and farm their organic maca crops at 14,000 feet above sea level which is above the tree line. People living there suffer from the cold because they have no heating fuel. They cook their food by burning animal dung which produces an acrid, smoky fire and blackens their lungs.
Two years ago, the Company initiated a pilot solar energy project with maca-growing communities to demonstrate solar cookers and provided a workshop on building a solar space to heat their homes. The excitement that was generated by this project was tremendous to obtain solar cookers and provide a home solar space. As a next step, WWB plans to set up its own non-profit organization in order to accept help from its customers and others in fully implementing our environmental and social justice mission.
Whole World Botanicals has partnered for more than a decade with the Quechua-speaking communities who grow our organic maca roots in the high Peruvian Andes. WWB pays a floor price, which is above market price, for the maca roots. This allows the peasant producers with only a small land base to purchase basic necessities such as food which cannot be locally grown, clothing, transportation, school materials for their children and to live with dignity. Paying by a Fair Trade price has also permitted enough savings for a land-poor maca-growing community to build a low-heat solar dryer for drying the maca roots with technical assistance and an interest-free loan provided by the WWB.
Traditionally, the freshly harvested maca roots have been allowed to dry for six to eight weeks in the open air on the ground. With the disruptive global climate changes, the dry season, which permits this type of drying, is no longer totally dry. By drying the roots in an open structure with a plastic roof, the maca roots can be kept free of the rain while continuing to sun-dry in the traditional way. Recent scientific research has confirmed the great superiority of traditional slow sun-drying of maca roots for preserving their hormone-balancing properties to the quick drying in electrical dryers used today in most commercial maca production. Paying Fair Trade prices has also enabled maca-growing communities with a large land base to make capital investments.
“WWB Co-founder, Elena Rojas-Martinez, admires an ancient old-growth forest tree in the Reserve” In 2007 the Peruvian government granted WWB a Concesión para Conservación, a Forest Reserve of more than 10,000 acres of virgin old-growth rainforest near the National Park Pacaya-Samiria. It is our responsibility to protect the trees in this territory from the human predators and to work with the two native populations whose own traditional lands border this forest area to sustainably collect the renewable small medicinal plants, fruits, and nuts in the protectorate.