agriculture

Making a Sustainable Difference, with Sasha Kramer, SOIL

SOIL is working in Haiti to design, test, and implement social business models to increase access to sanitation services. When the business model is right, anything can be a valuable asset, even human waste. SOIL uses a business model that provides sanitation services, improves soil fertility, and creates livelihoods in Haiti. SOIL collects human waste and transforms it into compost that can be safely used in agriculture. Ecologist Sasha Kramer of SOIL describes her work this way. “We are taking human waste, something that is one of the largest factors in public health issues in the world. And, we are transforming it into something that I, as ecologist thinks is…

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Katrina Klett: Elevating Honey in China

Elevated Honey Co is dedicated to preserving traditional Himalayan beekeeping methods to produce the world’s purest honey.   Katrina Klett moved to China nearly a decade ago to study languages. While there, she found her true calling there as a beekeeper. She’s now turning that vision into a business as a social entrepreneur. Katrina is the CEO of Elevated Honey Co, a small honey company in southwest China that is passionate about helping farmers connect to better markets through supply chains. The company works with a rare native Asian honeybee species that produces a smaller amount of honey than bees in the U.S. As such, the honey is rare and…

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155, Jehiel Oliver, Hello Tractor | Collaborative Consumption for Smallholder Farmers

Hello Tractor is an AgTech company focused on improving food and income security across sub-Saharan Africa through a tractor sharing platform. Collaborative consumption is reshaping the world. There are the well-known players. For example, Airbnb rents more rooms than Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental combined. If you want to get around in a city, you can grab a ride with someone via Lyft or pick up a bike with bike sharing services such as Nice Ride Minnesota. But can collaborative consumption help feed the world? That’s what Hello Tractor is attempting to do. In Africa and Asia, more than 80% of the food is produced by smallholder farmers. These farmers cannot…

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154, Vijaya Pastala, Under the Mango Tree | A Hybrid Social Enterprise that Creates Livelihood from Bees

Under the Mango Tree increases agricultural yields by teaching rural farmers to keep bees. Vijaya Pastala and Under the Mango Tree are a good illustration of something that I believe which is, miracles find you while you’re in motion. Vijaya started experimenting with her business idea in January 2009. By January, 2010, Vijaya had 8,000 rupees in the bank. That’s less than $120 USD. At the time, the monthly cost of running Under the Mango Tree was around 34,000 rupees. Under the Mango Tree was gaining positive press, but beneath the surface, Vijay’s personal savings, which she was using to fund the company, were running out. During this crisis, Vijaya…

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154, Vijaya Pastala, Under the Mango Tree | A Hybrid Social Enterprise that Creates Livelihood from Bees

113, Yvette Ondachi, Ojay Greene | Connecting Smallholder Farmers to Markets

Yvette Ondachi uses technology to connect smallholder farmers to markets. Yvette Ondachi is a biochemist. She was a pharmaceutical product manager across several east African countries. “The problem I encountered was, most people couldn’t afford [medicine],” Yvette told me. Even after an experiment in which the company lowered the cost of medications by 75%, many people still could not get access to medicine. “One of the things that propelled me,” Yvette explained, “was watching mothers, helpless as their children suffered from preventable diseases.” She knew she had to do something to make a difference. “Something within me became very restless. I said, ‘I have to do something about this.’” Most…

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092, Hillary Miller-Wise, Esoko | #TechForGood for Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder farmers, those with just a few acres of land, produce 80% of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. There are 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide. Esoko is a for-profit social enterprise and technology company that enables smallholder farmers to connect to markets. Farmers can get information on how to best grow their crops, how to deal with pests or to find the best price for their commodities in the local market. As a result of having this information, smallholder farmers can increase their productivity and their income. Farmers can interact with Esoko through SMS, voice messaging, call centers, a web presence and an Android app. Esoko is…

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082, Miriam Haas, Down To Earth Markets | Farmer’s Market as a BCorp

Farmer’s markets play an important role in our food ecosystem. Miriam Haas has been tinkering with the model of the Farmer’s market for more than 25 years. There’s so much to love about Miriam and the story of Down to Earth Markets. We talked about Farmer’s Markets as a tool for economic development, especially in abandoned town centers. Miriam refers to farmer’s markets as local community-scale businesses that sell neighbor to neighbor. We talked about local produce as an alternative to the industrialization of our food. We talked about eating clean, local and organic. I also found it interesting that Down to Earth Markets has found a way to scale…

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082, Miriam Haas, Down To Earth Markets | Farmer’s Market as a BCorp

070, Maria Rodriguez, Byoearth | Overcoming Our Inspirational Story

How Our Inspirational Story Can Keep Us Stuck What happens when our inspirational story keeps us from transformational change? We all have a story. Sometimes those stories hold us back. “I’m not good at math.” “Women aren’t supposed to behave like that.” “It’s too late for me.” Stories can also inspire. They drive our life forward with their narrative. “I’m creating something epic.” “I’m going to help a billion people.” “I overcame adversity to make an impact in the world.” But is it possible that an inspirational story can only take us so far, and, in fact, can become a burden that keeps us from reaching the next level. Maria…

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070, Maria Rodriguez, Byoearth | Overcoming Our Inspirational Story

031, Curt Bowen, Semilla Nueva | Iterating Your Way to Success

There’s an old saying that has been attributed at different times to Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (neither of whom said it. [spp-tweet tweet=”Success is going from failure to failure without losing momentum.”] For any entrepreneur, especially social entrepreneurs, the ability to balance tenacity with humility is key. An entrepreneur listens carefully, designs a minimally viable product, tests it in the marketplace, pivots and then starts again. In this way, we learn quickly and make progress. No one has illustrated this principle better than Curt Bowen. In this interview you’ll hear Curt tell the story of several iterations of Semilla Nueva. They are working on the problem of malnutrition in…

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031, Curt Bowen, Semilla Nueva | Iterating Your Way to Success