Forced into the highlands for centuries by conquistadores, settlers and the coca wars, the Arhuaco indigenous community has recently returned to their ancestral lands and sacred sites at the Caribbean shores of La Lengüete.
Here, they are initiating the revival of a select tribal cacao culture that was almost extinguished hundreds of years ago when outsiders mistakenly thought a rare white cacao was infected and cut the trees. Luckily, some old cacao trees survived in the shade of the wilderness and the Arhuacos recently started to harvest their precious cacaos again. One they named “Businchari” which means “new beginning” – and that’s exactly how the Arhuaco view their work with Original Beans on the Arhuaco Businchari chocolate.
Know your bean: Arhuaco Businchari
Some cacao genetic scientists believe that the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta could have been the birthplace of the ancient criollo blanco, from where it dispersed south into the Amazon and further north to the Maya forests. The Arhuaco farmers are determined to preserve the ancient cacaos, since they fit perfectly with their traditional philosophy and lifestyle based on organic and forest-friendly farming.
One bar : One tree @Arhuaco
With ecosystems ranging from coral reefs to rainforests to snow-clad mountains, the Arhuaco ancestral lands are a gem of nature. Our project empowers the Arhuaco tribe to make a better living, while protecting one of the most biologically diverse rainforests on Earth. So here is what we do since 2015 on the ground:
Research and map flavorful cacao trees in the Arhuaco territory
Establish nurseries for these cacaos and for native wood species
Establish cacao forests that function as in-situ cacao clonal gardens and a forest-friendly land use model
Train the locals in fermentation and drying, organic farming, and pest control
Support the preservation of virgin rainforest areas through conservation agreements
Establish a demonstration farm for the high school in Bunkwimake, where 150 children go
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