Natural Habitats was founded in 2008 by Alfons Van Der Aa with the specific intention to prove that it was possible to grow palm for good.
Amidst all of the messages about conflict palm and palm done wrong, they saw the need to get the word out to the world about what’s possible when palm oil is grown—and companies are run—following sustainable, organic, fair trade principles. So all of us can make an informed choice and have a voice in where this world is going.
Our "Familia Organica."
A main component of Natural Habitats is to take care of our people, which includes everyone involved in our business and the communities in which we grow. At Natural Habitats Group, we see all parties as stakeholders dedicated to the same values of preserving nature, building community and growing a thriving, sustainable business.
Natural Habitats began production in 2013 in Ecuador, and now has operations working with thousands of small farm holders in Ecuador and Sierra Leone. We work with over 100 farmers in Ecuador with an average size farm of 30 hectares and 1,400 farmers farmers in Sierra Leone with an average farm size of 3 hectares.
And the numbers are growing.
For each and every one of those farmers, we provide:
- expert training and advice on organic practices
- help with certifications and compliance
- a premium price for their fruit
And in contrast to the farmers who are being chased off their land by large corporations in order to consolidate operations into large plantations, our farmers welcome Natural Habitats, and we view our farmers as essential partners in our business.
We truly invest in our growing communities by:
- providing environmental education and biodiversity programs
- working with community members to identify areas of needs and tailoring programs to meet them, like building a medical clinic, providing equipment to local schools, or sponsoring sports or after school programs for children
- helping in times of need, as with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone (Natural Habitats brought in food, safe drinking water and protective gear, and rallied our customers to help with food and logistics), and the recent earthquake in Ecuador.
Working with small-holders--and maintaining both local and international certifications for each and every one--is not easy. And growing organically is often an uphill battle in places where conventional practices are firmly entrenched. But we believe growing palm in an organic, sustainable, fair trade manner is essential for a healthy future ... for our farmers, their families, and the earth. That is Palm Done Right.