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Help us achieve organic, fair trade & non-GMO certifications for sustainable spices from Madagascar. Over 1000 farmers will benefit.
238 backers pledged $31,458 to help bring this project to life.
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$31,458

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Update - June 3rd:
We did it! From all of us in Madagascar and US, thank you. Below is our new Stretch Goal, time is running out!

Each and every dollar pledged from now until this campaign ends will be used to help fund farmer-to-farmer trainings. That means bringing farmers together from disparate locations in rural Madagascar to learn from each other, share experiences and strengthen community partnerships.  Thanks, Merci, and Misoatra! 

As an additional reward for our Stretch Goal, we will create a special Vanilla Tips video showcasing unique ways to use our LAFAZA products!

The idyllic coastline near Mananara, Madagascar
The idyllic coastline near Mananara, Madagascar

We are a small business in a massive global spice industry. Our goal of changing food systems is bold and challenging, yet LAFAZA is already helping to redefine how global trade affects real people at the village level in Madagascar.

This is a long journey, but we are in good company
This is a long journey, but we are in good company

By working directly with thousands of farmers from the ground up, we are shifting their role in this industry. We put small farmers and the environment first, giving consumers around the world direct access to Madagascar’s finest ethically produced vanilla and other 100% natural foods. LAFAZA was founded by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who decided to change the existing model of trade by connecting farmers directly to consumers who seek a sustainable source for the world's finest spices.

Vanilla infused foods
Vanilla infused foods
These are ambitious goals, but with your help we will reach them!
These are ambitious goals, but with your help we will reach them!

Our passion:

FORESTS.

Agroforestry near Mananara, Madagascar
Agroforestry near Mananara, Madagascar

Nearly 85% of Madagascar’s plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth, and the concentration of biodiversity is especially great along the island’s eastern coast, where vanilla and other tropical spices are grown. We promote and reward the practice of conservation agriculture, and LAFAZA farmers consistently demonstrate the benefits of agroforestry techniques to their neighbors and friends. This model allows the buffer zones around native rainforests to be supported with cash crops such as cloves, coffee, and vanilla without the use of any chemical inputs or pesticides, which helps protect the watershed while keeping soils healthy and clean. 

With your support, LAFAZA will help preserve thousands of acres of native Madagascar rainforest and lemur habitat along the island’s eastern coast. We do this by connecting thousands of rural Malagasy farmers with international markets, and by paying premium prices that incentivize sustainable agricultural practices. By harnessing the potential economic value of the agroforestry buffer zones that protect rainforests and national parks, the farmers are able to reduce, and in some cases reverse, the deforestation and erosion that have been devastating the island.

FARMERS.

Co-op leaders (and brothers) Landrice and Nirina
Co-op leaders (and brothers) Landrice and Nirina

The farmer families, many of whom we’ve partnered with since 2005, have worked the land and managed the local forests with careful stewardship for generations. But in recent years, caring for the surrounding forest and marine habitat has become increasingly difficult due to the scourge of illegal logging and a lack of economic empowerment for the one-acre farmer and his or her family. The LAFAZA model helps solve the economic challenges faced by individuals at the village level and makes it financially beneficial to preserve the forests and their unique flora and fauna. 

Additionally, in partnership with Peace Corps Volunteers and Rotary Clubs in New York, LAFAZA and the farmers have built libraries in some of the most remote villages on the island, bringing solar panels and hundreds of books for people to use and enjoy. Our model is based on investing in - as well as giving back to - these communities, and we believe our success thus far confirms the validity of this uncommon approach to trade in Madagascar. 

FLAVORS.

Pure ground vanilla, a wonderful addition to sweet and savory dishes
Pure ground vanilla, a wonderful addition to sweet and savory dishes

LAFAZA farmers produce some of the best vanilla in the world. It carries a deep, aromatic quality that is truly distinct from vanilla produced on the mono-crop plantations that are prevalent in Madagascar. LAFAZA vanilla is noticeably sweet and delightfully creamy, rich in caramel, raisin, and even cherry flavor notes. The growing conditions and climate - the terroir -play a large role in the development of a flavor profile. Agroforestry settings are ideal for the cultivation of natural vanilla, which contains at least 250 unique flavor compounds. That’s a lot of complexity for one little bean!

Why We Need Your Support

Your contributions will help 1000 new farmers get organic, fair trade, and non-GMO certifications. While LAFAZA prides itself on offering products that have met or exceeded organic and fair trade standards for years, we recognize the market demand for formal certifications and are committed to helping farmers achieve this goal. We will also use your contributions to help reach thousands more clove, cinnamon, and specialty crop producers so we can introduce some wonderful new flavors to our product line.

Clove tree and vanilla vine...so happy together!
Clove tree and vanilla vine...so happy together!

Cloves and vanilla grow well together. It's an example of agroforestry at its best! For each person who contributes to this campaign, LAFAZA will finance and supervise the planting of a clove tree on the land of a small farmer. Cloves are an important cash crop, and one tree can yield reliable income for a family over many decades. LAFAZA already buys cloves directly from farmers, but we plan to significantly expand this project in the fall of 2015. By supporting this effort, you will help ensure that more rainforests are preserved, more trees are planted, and the lives of more families in rural Madagascar are changed for many years to come. 

Thank you so much for your support, and please help us spread the word!

We'll be updating this page and our blog at www.LAFAZA.com both during and after the campaign, so please keep in touch and look for LAFAZA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

MISOATRA BETSAKA! (thank you very much!)
MISOATRA BETSAKA! (thank you very much!)

A special thanks to some of the people who helped make this video campaign possible: 

Brad Kintzer - TCHO Chocolate
Caryl Levine - Lotus Foods
Ken Lee - Lotus Foods
Jen Musty - Batter Bakery
Patricia Rain - The Vanilla Queen

And to Ariel Sultan and Debbie Sultan from Food Guru! 

Risks and challenges

Achieving these certifications is a challenge for any farmer. There is a mountain of detailed paperwork and the USDA guidelines for organic, for example, must be followed to the letter, whether you are a farmer in California or Madagascar. We are certifying over 1000 new smallholder farmers, some of whom are illiterate and live in very remote villages.

This will require many staff hours and presents varied logistical challenges, but our team in Madagascar is well prepared to overcome them. We have been working directly with producers for many years, have the trust and dedication of lead farmers and mobilizers on the ground, and have the skills to ensure each farmer can achieve organic, fair trade, and non-GMO certification. The LAFAZA team will work hand in hand with farmers as they document their production and labor practices to ensure transparency and accuracy throughout the certification process.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Happy Planting

    We will plant a clove tree for a farmer in your name. You will also receive a digital recipe card and a shout-out on our website (if you would like!).

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    26 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Vanilla Bean 3-Pack

    You will receive everything from the “Happy Planting” reward level PLUS a 3-pack of LAFAZA’s finest vanilla beans.

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    43 backers
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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    The Chocolate & Vanilla Special

    You will receive everything from the “Vanilla Bean 3-Pack” reward level PLUS an 8-gram TCHO chocolate bar. You’ll also get a special digital recipe card for LAFAZA and TCHO for two total cards.

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    37 backers
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    A Special Thanks

    You will receive everything from the “The Chocolate & Vanilla Special” reward level PLUS a 4-oz. bottle of pure vanilla extract, and custom video thank-you from one of our farmer partners in Madagascar!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Make Rice & Powder Up

    You will receive everything from the “A Special Thanks” reward PLUS a 15-oz. bag of Lotus Foods organic Madagascar pink rice, a 1-oz. jar of LAFAZA’s delicious and versatile pure ground vanilla, and a sample of our new vanilla sugar. You’ll also get a sweet upgrade to the 60-gram TCHO chocolate bar. Add one more digital recipe for three total.

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    35 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    LAFAZA Supersized

    You will receive everything from the “Make Rice & Powder Up ” reward level but with an even more souped-up LAFAZA product line: a jar of 5 premium vanilla beans, an 8-oz. bottle of double-strength pure vanilla extract, a 4-oz. jar of pure ground vanilla, and our new 8-oz. jar of vanilla sugar. We’ll also plant an additional 4 clove trees for farmers in your name (for a total of 5).

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    9 backers
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    Pledge US$ 275 or more About US$ 275

    The Baker’s Special

    You will receive everything from the “Happy Planting” reward level AND 4 gallons of single-fold vanilla extract, delivered to your business. Your business will also get a custom video thank-you from one of our farmer partners in Madagascar!

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    An Evening with LAFAZA

    You will receive everything from the “LAFAZA Supersized” reward level AND we’ll take you, a friend and other campaign supporters out for dinner and dessert to taste LAFAZA products in one of our favorite New York City or Bay Area restaurants. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Madagascar and our work with farmers--directly from the LAFAZA team! You’ll also receive a digital recipe for the dessert of the evening and a signed copy of the book Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World's Favorite Flavor and Fragrance by Patricia Rain, aka The Vanilla Queen. AND we’ll donate 2 books to a rural community library.

    OR instead of dinner for two, you can choose to receive everything from the “LAFAZA Supersized” PLUS 2 LAFAZA gift sets (a jar of 2 premium vanilla beans, a 4-oz. bottle of pure vanilla extract, a 1-oz. jar of pure ground vanilla, and our new 8-oz. jar of vanilla sugar).

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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    The Library Special

    You will receive either the dinner for two out OR 4 gift sets from the “Evening with LAFAZA” reward level PLUS you’ll become an official sponsor of one of the rural community libraries that Peace Corps volunteers, Rotary Hyde Park, and LAFAZA have built together in Madagascar. We’ll also plant an additional 5 clove trees for farmers in your name (for a total of 10) and donate 4 books to a rural community library.

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    Limited 2 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    A Top Culinary Experience

    You will receive everything from “The Library Special” reward level AND you and a friend can participate in a group professional cooking class in San Francisco with the LAFAZA team and an award-winning chef (in place of dinner for 2). We’ll also plant an additional 5 clove trees for farmers in your name (for a total of 15) AND 5 gift sets.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    Party with a Culinary Experience

    You will receive everything from the “A Top Culinary Experience” reward level but now bring 3 friends to participate in a group professional cooking class in San Francisco with an award-winning chef and the LAFAZA team. You’ll also get a signed copy of the book Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World's Favorite Flavor and Fragrance by Patricia Rain, aka The Vanilla Queen. We’ll also plant a total of 20 clove trees for farmers in your name and donate 8 books to a rural community library, PLUS a special video tour of the coastal village of Imorona.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 7,500 or more About US$ 7,500

    LAFAZA Visits You

    You will receive everything from the “The Library Special” reward level AND get a traditional Malagasy meal prepared for you and 5 friends at a location of your choosing (U.S. only). Enjoy a presentation on Malagasy history and culture, the spice trade, and Madagascar's unique environment by members of team LAFAZA! We will also plant a total of 25 clove trees for farmers, donate 10 books to a rural community library, AND give you a special video tour of the coastal village of Imorona.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    The Ultimate Trip to Madagascar!

    You will receive everything from “The Library Special” reward level, AND a 7-day guided trip for one person to Madagascar with members of the LAFAZA team. (International flight not included, but lodging, food, and all local transportation and tours are included.) You'll spend 2 days in and around the capital of Antananarivo, 2 days visiting farmers in Mananara, and 2 days exploring the idyllic island of Ste.-Marie. You’ll also have the opportunity to help LAFAZA plant your own clove trees with farmers (depending on the month of travel).

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Funding period

- (34 days)