Multiple Organics Celebrates 10 Years; Brightens the Future of
Andean Quinoa and Cacao Farmers by Providing Solar Power
About 200 organic farmers living in the harsh, high altitudes of the Andes
Mountains in Peru will soon be seeing a light of hope, quite literally, thanks to
Multiple Organics, an international wholesale supplier of over 100 varieties of
strictly organic ingredients. In honor of its 10-year anniversary and in gratitude for
the partners it works with, Multiple Organics—named one of the fastest growing
businesses by Inc magazine and the San Francisco Business Times—recently launched
a project to install solar panels on the homes of organic quinoa and cacao farmers
in remote mountain areas of Peru that
have no access to electricity.
Without these solar panels, farmers
have to travel hours in cold winters to
the closest town to buy candles or
kerosene, whichever is cheapest at the
time. Flickering light is also hard on
eyes, making it challenging for children
to do schoolwork. This solar technology
is about the size of an iPad, allowing it
to be easily transported, yet it draws in
enough energy from the sun to provide
steady light for up to 60 hours at a time.
These sustainable lighting systems can
be used as both a ceiling fixture for inside their one-room homes, or can be
detached to double as a flashlight.
Dave Lanstein, founder and
CEO of Multiple Organics, installed the inaugural solar panel
on the home of one of the co-op
managers this spring, following
a village celebration attended by
the local minister of agriculture.
By mid-September, 100 farmers who are most in need, such as those with children, ill or elderly family members, will be outfitted with solar panels, and the
company expects all 200 panels to be installed by the end of 2011. Follow up is an
important part of this program, and local field teams who regularly visit these
farms will play a key role in surveying farmers to see if assistance is needed, if
grades have improved, etc.
In addition to leading community projects, over the last 10 years Multiple Organics has also helped lead the movement for safer food through the development of Multiple Organics Safety and Testing (MOST). This program includes
visiting suppliers with a food safety expert to complete rigorous audits as well as
testing each lot for harmful pathogens at a third-party lab prior to release and
performing stratigic random testing for pesticides, heavy metals and radiation.
“In the last decade, we have built long-lasting relationships with dedicated organic supplier partners from around the world and worked together with them to
create stronger communities. We created a comprehensive food safety program,
so that our products are not only organic and sustainable, but also as safe as possible. For us, these are the true measurements of success,” says Lanstein.
Founder Dave Lanstein with the first farmer to receive solar electricity, photographed after the farm celebration.
International News Briefs
From Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates’ News
& Policy Updates for the Organic Industry
• Authorities from Central America
and the Dominican Republic have
drafted a common regulation for organic agriculture in seven countries—
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras Nicaragua, Panama and Dominican Republic. The regulation,
which should be announced by the
end of 2011, will facilitate a regional
organic market and position the countries for equivalence discussions.
• Local governments in the Philippines
are outlining their programs for The
Republic Act 110068, known as the
Organic Agriculture Act of 2010,
which is designed to encourage organic agriculture. To help promote organic, the Department of Agriculture
has allocated P900-million (
approximately $20 million U.S.).
• The African Union called on the
African Union Commission and its
New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating
Agency to establish an African organic
farming platform based on best practices to support development of organic and improve seed quality. The
AU also expressed concern about exploitation of organic farmers in Africa.
• Products certified according to standards or regulations approved in the
International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movement’s (IFOAM)
Family of Standards will meet the requirements of Saudi Arabia’s organic
regulations, said its Ministry of Agriculture in a letter to IFOAM. The NOP
and Canada Organic Regime, as well
as 53 other government and private
sector standards are on IFOAM’s list.
• A new report from the National Organic Program assesses organic certification in China, including information
on its regulatory and research system.