Big Tree Farms
Deliciously responsible cacao and coconut products.From all things raw, to working to build sustainable livelihoods for their farmer partners, to being good stewards of ecology, Big Tree Farms is a champion for a brighter future in food and it's an ethos that starts right at the top.Ben Ripple, one of the founders, had set a foundation of six long years in sustainable agriculture on his small Balinese farm but, in 2006 things quickly began to evolve towards the company as it is today, when Big Tree Farms started to work with a small group of cacao farmers on Western Bali. The goal was to create more transparent market access for these farmers, by helping add value to their cacao and selling to the global premium chocolate market.It was pure serendipity that Ben was introduced to Frederick Schilling, the founder of Dagoba, an innovator in gourmet and organic chocolate. With Frederick's expertise, and a lot of hard work, our cacao program flourished and became the global model for a transparent sustainable cacao program. The next question was, "how can we add more value to the cacao and not just sell the bulk beans?" The answer was clear, our marvelous beans transformed into deliciously responsible chocolate products. Big Tree Farms operates what we call sustainable supply chains on more than 10 islands across Indonesia’s archipelago of 17,000 islands and atolls. These sustainable supply chains are actually deeply involved social relationships with individual farmers and community farmer groups. The producers involved become part of our tight-knit community and their needs, hopes and dreams become integral to our corporate vision.When Big Tree Farms first began growing bio-intensively in the central highlands of Bali, the vision was to create a sustainable model of small-scale agriculture for growers in the humid tropics. An immaculate cultural heritage of sustainable farming had been nearly wiped out years before by transnational campaign extolling the market-oriented virtues of the new commercial farm culture. High input use and overly intensive production systems were established and quickly zapped the strength of the fragile tropical soils.The beautiful system of old simply didn’t work economically, and the precepts of “new” farming simply didn’t work ecologically. Small farmers were becoming disenfranchised and anything began to look better than the choice to farm. The key to the model developed by Big Tree Farms was creating the power of choice. By creating a model that worked both economically and ecologically, small farmers were able to celebrate the unique attributes of their agricultural heritage while still succeeding in the marketplace. The farms are finally “working” for the farmers.