We have been delighted with the achievements of our first three year project with the Rainforest Foundation UK to help protect 237,000 hectares of Peru’s Amazon rainforest. This project is all about working with the people who call the rainforest home, so we are supporting the 10,000 strong Ashaninka community in Peru, ensuring that they have the legal framework, skills and resources to continue to live in the rainforest and protect it from outside interests. With the Ashaninka’s representative body, the Central Ashaninka of the River Ene (CARE), putting our project into place on the ground, the community is being given support to manage their forest land and establish sustainable livelihoods within the rainforest.
Training workshops have been set up and borders of community lands marked out to help monitor and control logging that takes place on Ashaninka territory. We’re also working with Ashaninka farmers who grow cocoa plants among the trees but have not used the plants to their full potential in the past. Farmers have received the training they need to improve the quality and quantity of their crops so they can make a living from them and pass down their skills to the next generation. All this will support families and communities to build sustainable futures for themselves and their children.
The head of CARE, Ruth Buendia told us: “The work on cocoa production has really helped the community. With the support of the project they have organised themselves into an official association of cocoa producers who are working to strengthen the quality of the cocoa and know that it will bring long-term economic benefits to their communities.”
This project is only possible with the involvement of our customers, community and staff and we have been bowled over by the support we have received – from thousands of customers collecting our rainforest tokens on packs of Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee, to Bettys visitors purchasing our fundraising specialities and protecting trees on behalf of family and friends.
We have also enjoyed some more unusual fundraising initiatives. A local llama trekking group held a sponsored llama walk to raise funds for the project and at Yorkshire Tea we’re holding a tea cosy auction online with beautiful cosies knitted and donated by Women’s Institute ladies across the country. We even have our own community champion at Bettys & Taylors, Chris Powell, collecting our waste products for his community recycling initiative and selling them to raise funds for the rainforest. This engagement with staff, customers and community means such a lot to us and is the reason that we have been able to keep planting and saving trees for 21 years and more to come!
Sam Gibson, Ethical Projects Officer at Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, helps coordinate activities to raise funds and awareness for the Yorkshire Rainforest Project and last year visited the Ashaninka community in Peru.