1. Alpaca: Sustainable Futures from Past Cultures

    Alpaca: Sustainable Futures from Past Cultures

    Tourists returning from Andean South America will usually sport some sort of “alpaca item”: gloves, sweaters, hats, socks, all with pre-columbian-style designs, inevitably including the form of an alpaca. However, buyers rarely glimpse the truth behind this  iconic industry—that the alpaca as well the artisans who work with a centuries-old tradition are in peril. But, like in centuries past, alpacas fit perfectly into the Andean environment and the needs of our modern lifestyles. Thanks to the efforts of two Ecuadorian initiatives, it is reappearing,

    Read more...

  2. Enchanted Islands Cambio Coffee

    Enchanted Islands Cambio Coffee

    We recently worked with a Shanghai-based startup, Cambio Coffee, to connect them with sustainable producer groups as they searched for new partners in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. We joined up with Cambio Coffee’s Sebastián and Felipe Martin for part of their trip when they visited Quito and the Galapagos Islands. Cambio Coffee is a growing social enterprise dedicated to creating a positive impact on the environment and farming communities in Latin America

    Read more...

  3. Cocoa: From Native producers in its Native Land

    Cocoa: From Native producers in its Native Land

    In our last blog, Lourdes Páez explained the history of cocoa in Ecuador, and the challenges and opportunities in its production today.  Here, we introduce you to some native Amazonian cocoa producers, and to the hope that proper cocoa production holds for them, as well as for the futures of chocolate and conservation.

    Read more...

  4. From chocolate lover to chocolate expert: a personal story

    From chocolate lover to chocolate expert: a personal story

    Canopy Bridge recently had a chance to sit down with Lourdes Páez, an outstanding social entrepreneur working to enhance appreciation for Ecuador’s excellent cocoa and create more value for farmers of the country’s fine flavor beans. Lourdes heads the Academia del Chocolate, an organization dedicated to training and research to improve the quality, recognition and benefits of fine cocoa, and she recently launched a beautiful book dedicated to Ecuador´s rich cocoa heritage, Ecuador tierra del cacao.36" height="111" />

    Read more...

  5. Rediscover ishpingo: the Amazon’s hidden treasure

    Rediscover ishpingo: the Amazon’s hidden treasure

    Virtually unknown outside its native Amazon rainforest home, ishpingo (or American Cinnamon) has a deep, earthy, fruity flavor that adds a surprising and hard-to-place dimension to both sweet and savory dishes. Once a promising spice that moved the dreams of adventurers, isphingo deserves to be rediscovered and better known.

    Read more...

  6. Putting Indigenous Producers on the Map

    Putting Indigenous Producers on the Map

    This post was originally published on the Environmental Defense Fund website. Across the Amazon, indigenous peoples have long harvested well-known commodities like cacao, coffee, Brazil nuts, and hearts of palm. Indigenous communities rely on such “non-timber” forest products—which also include traditional crops and less well-known natural products such as sacha inchi and camu camu—for the communities’ own consumption and for sale.

    Read more...