I Love Produce, a pioneer in importation of organic ginger from Peru, took part in a new harvest celebration and ceremony to commemorate its donation of $13,440 to the local village school called the "Antonio Raymondi" secondary school. The school donation program was initiated by I Love Produce to give back to the local native Asháninka Community of Churingaveni where the ginger is from. The Asháninkas are the second-largest indigenous group living in the rainforests of Peru with a culture that dates back to the time of the Incas.
“The Asháninka rainforest area is one of the most remote places I have ever traveled”, said Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce. “A trip there requires a 10 hour flight to Lima, a 12 hour bus ride from the capital to the village and then a perilous river crossing by raft to reach the school. Because of the remoteness of the area, the school lacks many of the resources we take for granted. Our aim is to form a lasting relationship with the school so we can make a difference to their kids on a long-term basis.”
The school donation program was set up with I Love Produce’s ginger supplier, Rainforest Organic. The money from this project will support the school library, computer room and other facilities, said school director Jaime Fernández Yoni Cave of Antonio Raymond School. “For the children this project is a-dream-come-true.”
The harvest ceremony included local traditional clothing, dancing, singing, a feast of local food and drink followed by a spirited game of basketball. A movie of the event can be viewed on company website — iLoveProduce.com.
“The rainforest region of Peru is an ideal place to grow organic ginger because it is virgin land and we only allow ginger to be grown once every six years on the acreage in order for the land to fully recover”, said Guillermo Medina, owner of Rainforest Ginger. “The forest provides everything for the Asháninka. Most Asháninka children attend a primary school and alongside their usual lessons the school children learn how they can contribute to their community and look after the environment. They are taught that it’s their forest and their home. It’s also important that communities can make an income from their forest resources. So together we’re helping the Asháninka to receive training in how to improve the ginger and the land it is grown on, so that they can make a decent living and pass down their skills to the next generation.”
“The good people at Rainforest Organic show a good deal of love and care for the products that they produce,” said Provost. “It shows in the quality of their ginger. New crop Peru ginger is now arriving in the United States and we now have organic and conventional ginger for sale at prices competitive to the Chinese market. The harvest ceremony was perfect timing because the market has been short of ginger, and is ready for a new supply of good quality, and good value ginger.”
“China has dominated to ginger market for years, but because Chinese ginger prices have increased in recent years, there is a great opportunity for the ginger buyers and consumers in the United States to evaluate the ginger from Peru and get an indication of its value in the market,” Provost added.