It's been short of two months since our return from the lush jungle and warm weather to winter in Pa. There has not been a day that some piece to this puzzle hasn't been put in place....or at least moving it in the right direction. As you can imagine, there are many hoops to jump, especially establishing a 501(c3) in another country, not to mention an export business. Here are a few things that have happened:
the required bylaws, forms and pertinent guidelines for our 501(c3) Sowing Seeds in Belize is ready for submission – the Board of Directors have been established and we even had our first meeting! It was awesome by the way.
the business plan for the export arm is finished
we have received our offshore account which is required to be able to open a Belizean bank account, which is required to conduct business in country
we received FDA shipping certification
Yes, yes and yes!! Eric did the brunt of this and has learned so much that he might just hire out – just saying!
Friends Stepping Up to Help
Three high school girls at a local school are taking it upon themselves to do a “Books and
Backpacks for Belize” project. Their goal is to collect at least 400 backpacks filled with a
notebook, pencils and crayons and as many books as possible – way to go Lauren, Claire and Annie!
Friends with connections to the Launch Box at Penn State University are making arrangements for us to meet and use their services. The Launch Box connects with the community to help business start-ups. They walk through every necessary step, providing networking for every aspect pertinent to the business down to designing websites and logos – thank you SO MUCH Herbert and Angela! This is a HUGE hole being filled for us because this is foreign territory to our minds as we begin to tackle all the necessary elements of what is needed to make this work succeed.
A friend who wants to get some of his fishing clients to travel to Belize to be part of our work while finding some of the best fishing spots in the world!
A local coffee roaster/coffee company is offering advice to the Belizean farmers to enhance the production and quality of their coffee. They have roasted the green coffee we brought back with us (THANKS SO MUCH!) and are willing to sell the coffee at their shop when we are ready to export.
We have had many offers of help, from serving at our Harvest Dinners, helping collect items, reviewing and advising on documents, connecting us with others who have expertise where we don't, and an interest in joining us in Belize to experience what we are experiencing.
Last year, we offered harvest dinners at our farm from June to October to raise funds for this work. We didn't know what kind of response we would receive, and we were surely blown away when we had to add a few extra dates to accommodate the interest! Every dinner was a special evening of great people, great conversation and lots of locally sourced, wood-fired food. Dates for this year have been set aside and we have added an additional five dates and are expecting a large response from our friends, family and customers. Eric has been working tirelessly adding onto our outdoor pavillion so that we can accommodate more bodies, especially if we have wet weather. Beautiful hemlock tables and benches have been built with painstaking care by Ken Baxter, a great friend of ours – THANKS KEN! We are ready folks – come on out for a great evening together. You can make reservations on our web – sowingseedsinbelize.com or call me (Cindy) at 569-8339. Eric and I donate all foods costs so that 100% of donations can go directly into Mission Imprint, our 501(C3). Yum on a plate, ya'all!
Across The Seas
Things are moving at a rapid pace in Belize as well. Salucio, our in-country counterpart, has been working with the San Pablo farmers, managing the 500# of turmeric that has been planted. He has been seeking out and talking with farmers who have an interest in growing coffee, moringa, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, saffron, and allspice. He has built a solar drying unit as a prototype for drying the spices and has started a nursery on his farm for vanilla and saffron – he is one busy dude! He is so valuable to us – he is a hard worker, has the mind of a businessman, understands there are many levels to this endeavor, has construction and electrical experience, has many connections to many people, and is a praying man. Salucio has been drying 300# of turmeric for us which will be ready for shipment in the next several weeks – this will be our first official shipment of this yellow gold! We will be selling it in dried form and also as a paste for 'golden milk', which is a delicious 'tonic' drink made with turmeric, coconut oil, spices and maple syrup. You add a teaspoon of the paste to your choice of milk – coconut, almond, rice, goat or cow milk; heat it up and you have yourself a cup full of amazing nutrients. If you are curious about the health benefits of turmeric, just google it – there are many studies that have, and are, being done on this super antioxidant spice. We feel we have the best of the best to offer – the turmeric is grown in volcanic soil, adding to it's nutritional quality, raw, hand harvested, sun dried and hand ground – no irridation, added chemicals or preservatives. The coconut oil comes from ….. of course, the Belizean jungle as well – made to order. In fact, I was to help make it but we were late getting to Carolyn's house, so it was just being bottled when we arrived. Pure. Raw. Unadulterated. Wildcrafted. Wow. Wow. Wow. Want some? Call us at 569-8339 or email us at info@sowingseedsinbelize.
We have also made arrangements to partner with a camp facility to use their kitchen for the washing, grinding and packaging of turmeric. We will be ready to process the first harvest in February 2018; however, most of the harvest will be replanted ….. and that means in 2019 we will have enough turmeric to fill a cruise ship – we're talking about 30,000#!! Do you think we better get busy seeking distribution markets?!!
Our hearts and mind are constantly working on the next step(s) and we are excited to return in October for a couple weeks to begin the paperwork on the Belize end and to meet with the farmers and continue making more connections. We will return after the first of the year for as long as we are able. What a ride this is! It is consuming, exciting, fulfilling, confusing, heartwarming, overwhelming and extremely rewarding! As my 2 year old granddaughter would say, “What the World?”
To sum it all up, as Zenovia (from our previous blog) has said - “God take care of we”