Time for a very personal retrospect
It was exactly two years ago when we were standing on the stage of the Social Impact Lab talking about our crazy idea publicly for the first time: We want to sell saffron! Harvested by women we had the chance to get to know on our impressive journey through Afghanistan. Proud women who had stopped cultivating opium while focusing on old and more traditional methods again growing the so-called ”Red Gold“. Emphasizing these women, we wanted to establish intercultural trade bridges as well as telling their impressing story.
No charity! No alms! No, the best saffron is being cultivated right there and were allowed to trade it, socially acceptable, direct and fair!
Promptly we were rewarded with a scholarship for social entrepreneurs by this stage performance. Participating different courses and coachings, we were able to achieve valuable fine-tuning and development of our ideas. After a long period of searching, we made a find with small-scale manufacturers and workshops in Berlin and Brandenburg to produce beautiful boxes with traditional bookbinder’s techniques and cautiously packaging the precious saffron threads. After a long period of twisting and turning, we were proud of handing over the first Afghanistan Peace Kit to our first customer. Since then, we do traveling to meet the women’s farmer collective in Herat, Western Afghanistan, on a regular basis. It is our promise to these women to buy double the amount of saffron every year – direct and fair as well as 1/3 more money than the national market pays them. The farmer’s families invest their money in a clever way, constantly new fields arise, more and more families start to profit from the little crocus blossom. The situation in whole Afghanistan is everything but hopeful and safe, but the small village in the west of the country is slowly building economic bases. As a result, most of the girls and boys go to school, some of them are even studying at university in Herat.
Not only has Afghanistan suffered from war, occupation, and injustice for decades. We knew very soon: It is Conflictfood’s task to furthermore inform about other conflicts in the world and start trading with more farmers.
In Palestine, we met organic farmers who revive old cultivating traditions to produce something that was nearly forgotten: Freekeh – nutty-smokey tasting, green grain In north Myanmar’s remote mountains we discovered Palatable Teas – the people of the Ta’ang harvest these rarities in the middle of a civil war. Since two years have visited new regions and met proud, courageous, sometimes odd but always warm-hearted people who are willing to give us a handshake.
In the meantime, our project has developed from a crazy idea to an independent limited company Conflictfood GmBh and the Charitable Organization Cultivating Peace e.V. On our entrepreneurial journey we met uncountable inspiring people, innovative social entrepreneurs, NGOs and press- and TV-journalists. Great trading partners like Greenpeace, Plan International, the TAZ Berlin, Manufaktum sell our peace kits and thousands of customers support us with every single purchase.
Right now we’re packing our bags again – after the Easter Holidays our next trip to the country at the Hindukush. Its’ people grew close to our heart and we’re pleased meeting our project partners again as well as visiting new farmer’s collectives. Maybe there will be the possibility to buy new products this autumn. We still have lots of new ideas and are filled with excitement!
You feel like exploring the culture of people from Afghanistan, Palestine or Myanmar?
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