Regenerative farming is a practice that works to leave land in a richer, more diverse and resilient state as a result of agriculture—rather than in spite of it.
Peru is one of the many countries where Lush is working with local farmers to create and sustain land that does just this: improving biodiversity, topsoil, water cycles and the ecosystem as a whole.
With these projects, we had three main goals in mind:
1. Put more trees in the ground
2. Put more money in the hands of farmers and factory workers
3. Build an ethical business that can grow ingredients with 100 percent transparency
To start, we plan to harvest and grow three main crops that make up some of the ingredients in your favorite products—including rosewood oil, Brazil nut oil and cupuaçu butter.
Roughly 1,100 square miles of Peru's forests are cut down every year—and 80 percent of this logging is done illegally. Forest loss hurts much more than the trees and Peru's amazing wildlife; it also accounts for nearly half of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Worldwide, deforestation and land degradation are the largest source of carbon dioxide, after the burning of fossil fuels.
To combat this, we’ve launched one of our newest farming projects deep in the Amazon: a 200-hectare farm, established in early 2018. This is where we grow a rich, diverse agroforestry system that currently includes rosewood, and we hope one day the area will play host to over 16,000 certified trees, interspersed with native tree species and diverse crops like cupuaçu. Over 40 percent of this growth is not used for products, but rather simply to promote biodversity.
Why rosewood, Brazil nuts and cupuaçu?
Thanks to uncontrolled logging and extraction in the 80s and 90s, rosewood is now a critically endangered species. Growing, harvesting and exporting it is now highly regulated so we felt it was vital to prioritize this important indigenous species.
Next on our list is Brazil nut oil and cupuaçu butter. We hope to start processing these on our newly constructed oilseed processing site this year. As we wait for our own farm to finish the full harvesting and planting processes, we’ll purchase the raw materials from local, like-minded farmers. The farm will begin producing cupuaçu seeds and rosewood in about four to five years, with Brazil nut production starting a few years after that.
What’s next for our regenerative farm?
In 2019, we hope to acquire a 2,000 hectare forested area, on loan from the government to improve land management. Here, we hope to harvest Brazil nuts which could provide Lush with 90 percent of our needs, while creating a vital biological corridor to protect a wide range of large cats, primates, birds and reptiles.