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Thoughts from category: sustainability jess

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

an innocent guide to Copenhagen

The planet's doomed right? It's time to pack the tinned goods and head north. Well not just yet, but we are definitely in last chance territory to keep our climate in a more friendly condition. World leaders will be gathering in Copenhagen this December to try and secure a crucial international agreement for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. There's a bit more information from our Sustainability Jess about why this is all so important on our new innocent guide to Copenhagen page.


Jess will be visiting the Department of Energy and Climate Change in November to meet Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Ed Miliband will be attending the Copenhagen meeting so we thought we'd ask him some questions about the meeting, the UK position and climate change. If you have a question you'd like Jess to ask Ed then complete the form here and we'll pick the five most popular questions for Ed to answer. This guy is important in getting the deal we need in Copenhagen, so it should be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Want do even more yourself? Then check out this site.

this season's berries

Berries

Sustainability Jess and Rozanne went to Serbia in July to check out our raspberries and blackberries. Naturally, we're striving to only buy the very best berries for our smoothies, and they were there to make sure that we're buying them from farms that look after their workers and the environment.

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The farms we buy our berries from are typically very small family farms – only 0.1-0.2 hectares. They grow a mixture of different crops: maize for feeding animals, plums for local markets and making schnapps, vegetables for the family and berries for some income.

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These farms have been with the same families for generations, and they know exactly which crops to plant where to make the most of the natural environment (sun access, types of soils, water etc). The picking of the berries is mostly done by family and friends.

Hay

Serbia is a pretty interesting place. Not only do they have amazing berries, but they also hosted the Eurovision song contest earlier this year, have the tallest hay bales in Europe, and make some pretty spooky pottery.

Pottery

Overall, Jess and Rozanne were really happy with what they found, and feel confident that only the best berries are making it into our blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries smoothie.

Homebrew

And once the hard work was done, they celebrated by drinking a few litres of homemade schnapps with this farmer. Those girls sure know how to party.

popping around

If you've ever wondered what it's like over here at Fruit Towers but have never had a chance to take us up on our offer to pop around, then have a quick watch of these two clips.

One is by Abi from Hippyshopper and the other by a French TV channel. Both star our Sustainability Jess who's as equally great with cameras as she is at doing ventriloquism in French.

blog eat blog

Treekeeper

Last week Adam, one of the founders and chief greenskeeper for method products, came over to Fruit Towers to meet our Sustainability Jess. After going home method blogged about their visit so we thought we'd blog them back. Hello method.

We think method are great - they make non-toxic cleaning products made with natural ingredients. Jess and Adam had lots to talk about - method use 100% recycled plastic for their products, just like our bottles, and do great work on carbon reduction, ethical sourcing of the ingredients for their products, and trying to have a positive impact on the world.

We swapped lots of great ideas, and promised to keep in touch in the future, after all four hands are better than two.