So it's 2019, we have taken back control from international food conglomerates, city bankers and corrupt governments...
Only kidding, that's not really happened.
But, in other more important and exciting news we have expanded the Vanillaism operations across Bali and have a whole new series of exciting announcements to make...
Following the successful crowdfunder, these monies have now been allotted to their respective farms/co-ops in the jungle during my most recent trip. Expanded planting areas with more cuttings will help to secure the local landscape from soil erosion and water run off almost immediately from the time of planting. It still seems crazy that the magical Vanilla vine has such huge capabilities in the region to help farmers help us by working in harmony with nature not against it.
We are happy to announce that we are now zero plastic and zero waste in regards to how we manage the rainforest. So no more plastic twine, cable ties or any such thing will be used and where practicable we will remove any existing plastics too. Whilst this may seem like a small step for most we truly believe that we must lead by example. Therefore we are working on a few packaging solutions at the moment, but we plan to be the world's first zero plastic Vanilla business by the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2019.
We are trying to bring "innovation through tradition" so we are working very closely with our woodworking expert on the island to create a range of eco-friendly wooden packaging solutions. For those of you who have seen our reusable bamboo straws you will already be familiar with Wayan's work and we look forward to innovating our way towards a plastic-free solution very soon.
After concluding discussions with local tribal elders we have elected the very first "Vanilla Village" near Sideman in the East of Bali to become our Tourism HQ for visitors and guests to the island. The aim for operations here is to provide learning and training opportunities to our villagers from working in hospitality to interacting with guests directly. There are a whole host of initiatives we plan to establish before the end of the year. But we are starting with Tourism in Vanilla Orchard 1. My very own orchard will be dedicated to receiving visitors and showing them first hand how we apply organic farming principles, promoting polyculture and truly working in harmony with the rainforest to grow this magical vine and subsequently there will be opportunities to see all other parts of the operation. Being the only company who does true #rainforesttofork Vanilla production we can show you every part of the process. Nobody else can do that as nobody else controls every part of the journey of the pods from Forest direct to you. We believe by bringing people to the village to see our operations we can really make a difference to the whole community. Allowing many people to prosper is the ultimate aim of Vanillaism. It's not about me selling pods or making money. That is a happy coincidence. It's about us helping people. Truly making a difference. The whole reason for me starting the project was to allow you, our supporters, to actually #bethedifference.
Over the course of this coming year we will also be breaking ground on the very first Vanillaism Eco pods to be built in the jungle amongst the vines of the forest. A fully Immersive experience to opt for digital disconnect, live in relaxed eco friendly luxury whilst enjoying the natural beauty and tranquility of the surroundings. From our own natural spring, where water spouts direct from the volcanic land beneath to enjoying an indulgent, healthy breakfast of forest fruits and coconut we have the chance to really enjoy some positive food therapy.
All too often in the West we forego our health, whether physical or mental at the behest of our careers and demands of life. Here we will allow you the opportunity to redress the balance and take time out for you.
Our pod will be operational before the end of the year, and the plans are to use the profits from this pod to actually finance the building of multiples of these spaces to allow maximum visitor numbers in the village. Our aim is to eventually offer you the 100% vanillaism experience.
Come, live, work, eat, sleep and breathe the magical, organic, world of Vanilla and be the envy of all of your friends.
We will be announcing some other exciting news with regards our Yoga retreats as well hopefully soon.
Currently in development we are working with local and international partners to create some of the finest yoga, meditation and positive food therapy vibes anywhere in the world. Bound up with laughter, tears and fun times across beautiful Bali.
A rare opportunity to take some time to meditate or spend a silent moment in a secluded family temple is offered to those who wish to take the opportunity to disconnect from their world and plug in to this unique, magical, remote natural world.
If you have any questions or want to come to one of our retreats, reach out to me and I will add you to our list of founding members who will get all the news first before we preview it to the world!
As another developing part of the project we will also look to build a coffee and juice bar, retail space, and a small roadside Warung (café/restaurant) in the local area as well. Also offering bike rentals to tourists who wish to cycle around the local area and take in the naturally beautiful breathtaking beauty of the volcano Mount Agung which dominates the skyline of the locale. On a clear day you can see why the locals have honoured the volcano for providing everything from security, to fertile soils, to fresh water and always a majestic backdrop to any person who has the foresight to look up and behind them. The rewards of the natural beauty here remain truly unspoiled. However the region is developing and sadly after the initial construction phase and a few local staff post build the monies which are made are then shipped out of Indonesia. There are few opportunities here for locals. We hope that by providing these jobs that we may be able to attract and retain young people in the area. It's a real problem for rural communities across Indonesia that once kids leave school they must go to the city to find further education or employment. Upon moving to the city sometimes from as young as 12 years old the rural, slower pace of life in the village is often forgotten and the older generations are left without being regularly reinvigorated by returning youthful citizens.
This brain drain is a real problem for our village in particular. So we are working with the community to learn of the problems, what opportunities are lacking and helping them to facilitate the businesses which will sustain the local communities in years to come.
From bike rental to walking guides, retail to hospitality. We aim to provide platforms for as many locals to integrate with Vanillaism's aims and objectives. As long as they subscribe to our ethos we will bring them along on our journey.
In my wildest dreams starting out 14 months ago I could never have foreseen such riches ahead for me and my team.
I believe we are almost a family now with strong bonds that will last forever.
My own personal journey I hope to document on the way for you all to read about, perhaps we will podcast them one day and give you a real insight to our journey together...
For those of you who have supported me from day one in my madcap notions I thank you.
For those of you who are reading about us for the first time, I thank you for sharing our stories and our work.
For those of you whom are yet unmet I look forward to welcoming you to the Vanilla village.
Come see magic happen.
Come be a part of the magic.