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Thoughts from July 2010

foundation day

Since being set up in 2004, the innocent foundation has donated £1.3m and helped improve the lives of over 500,000 people across the world through the various projects it supports.

Slam

As it's such a brilliant thing, Linda and the foundation guardians thought it was high time there was an dedicared day in the Fruit Towers calendar dedicated to the foundation to remind everyone here of all the good stuff the innocent foundation does.

Eddie

So the 21st July is officially the first ever innocent foundation day.

10 07 26 FoundationOS

To mark the occasion, we had special smoothies in the big fridge.

10 07 26 PAss the potato 2

Everyone came to work dressed in green and at lunchtime, Helen from Practical Action came in to talk about the eco loo project that the foundation has helped support in Peru.

As well as improving sanitation and not polluting drinking water, eco loos mean that waste produced can be used to fertilise crops.

Eco loo

So the loo in reception was turned into 'Pootato Loo' for the day (complete with more Peruvian tunes, hessian sacking and a grow bag full of spuds as these are the main crops being grown from the eco loo waste).

10 07 26 potato loo

After the talk, there was a quick game of Pass the Potato with woolly llama finger puppet prizes

10 07 26 pass the potato

And throughout the day, there's been a whole lot of interesting exercises which we'll tell you a bit more about tomorrow once we've finished editing the videos.

Thanks

So, as they say on the moon, watch this space...

kenyan mango safari

Most people associate a trip to Kenya with a safari adventure, but last week Atha and I were hunting a different kind of beast - the ngowe mango. It's a african variety of mango that we think could taste nice in our drinks, and it would allow us to make our first purchase of fruit from smallholder farmers in Africa.

The ngowe mango tree looks like this.

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We want to make sure that our trade with these farmers is more than just a sales contract - we want to work out how we can help to make a material difference to their lives, even if it is just a little bit.

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We visited a number of farmers to learn all about the ngowe mango and the challenges they face to earn sufficient income. We also talked with great organisations like Technoserve, Fintrac and FARM Africa to learn how they work with these farmers to improve their productivity and help them to gain greater access to markets and finance.

A lot of the farms are in remote areas which makes it very difficult to transport the fruit to markets.

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The farmers usually grow a mix of cash crops (ones which can earn them an income) like mango, papaya and banana, and then grow food crops like maize for the family to eat. If they can afford it, the farmers will also keep a goat or a cow to provide milk.

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We hope to make our first purchase of mango at the end of this year, so we will keep you updated on our progress and how we will be working with these farmers.

Many thanks to everyone we met for spending time with us and teaching us so much, and to the Technoserve team for showing us around in Kenya - it's a beautiful country.

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Jess and Atha

what happened when the monkey fought the goose?

Earlier this year, Ben and Ceri made Rich's post-it note vision of animal wrestling into a reality by putting it onto one of our big cartons(see for yourself right here).

It proved so popular that Ceri, Claire, Oli and Zoe have made the next thrilling installment.

This is what it looks like on our latest packaging

Who wins

And this is what happened in the final round where the monkey took on the goose. See it big (and actually readable) here.

Monkey_V_Goose

afternoon bee tea

There's only a few more weeks left to enjoy our special guest lemon, honey and ginger recipe.

So to celebrate all your thirsty work in helping set up 40 hives across the UK and reintroducing countless bees, we've come up with a special competition with our friends at the National Trust.

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One lucky winner and their friend will win a trip to visit Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire to meet Tim the beekeeper, see the hives, take a tour of the beautiful gardens and after asking all your bee related questions, enjoy a spot of afternoon tea.

Tim

Here's Tim telling people about bees

Teateatea

And here's a nice cream tea (NB: scones may differ to picture shown)

All you need to do to enter is answer the following questions from Neil, the head gardener at Hanbury Hall:

1. Which capital fellow designed the spectacular gardens at Hanbury Hall?

2. What is the one thing you'd like to ask Tim the beekeeper?

3. How many scones can you eat in one sitting?

Just post your answers, age and whereabouts you live as a comment below and we'll choose a winner on Friday 30th July.

Meantime, if you've not posted your bee flower picture yet, you can do so right here.

This competition is now closed. We'll get Tim and Neil to pick a lucky winner this week. Meantime, thanks to everyone who entered.

tales from the amazon

News fresh in from the Amazon

Our Sam is currently out in Brazil, cruising along on a big canoe and making sire we get the best acai berries for our pomegranates, blueberries and acai berries recipe.

She didn’t manage to take our special camera along (humidity issues) but she did manage to send us a brief update and some pictures of her trip so far.

Hi Guys

I so wish that we had taken the web cam - we have to find a way of setting this up for future fruit trips.

The Amazon, where we source our acai berries an incredible place. The light, sounds of the jungle and just the sheer size and scale of the river is unbelievable. (Forgive me if you've been there before…)

Yesterday, we walked into the jungle for about 20 minutes to find fruit of the right maturity.

‘That’s hardly very far’, I hear you cry, but trust me, in this humidity, it felt like a marathon.

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One of the acai farmers I met was Fernando and his son, Isaias. They both rise at 5am each day, locate the fruit and then pick berries for 3 to 4 hours for as many days of the week as they wish or need to.

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Then they retire to their hammocks once the day’s picking is done. Life is so simple and peaceful here.

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Fernando and his family rely on the river for everything and their diet is super healthy - shrimps, acai and pretty much every other tropical fruit you can think of...

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Looking forward to sharing more when I get back

Lots of love for now,

Sam

x

More on Sam's trip when she gets back from the jungle.