Our Origin Story
Our Founder, Ariana, grew up in cosmopolitan Hong Kong, far away from agriculture and forestry. In 2015, she left her management consulting career to seek ways in which the private sector could leverage its resources to drive positive and lasting change. While working with an NGO in Ethiopia, Ariana witnessed the complexity within agriculture systems and was inspired to find opportunities to build and strengthen equitable, sustainable supply chains all the way from farm to table.
During a project focused on combatting deforestation in the Majang Forest, she discovered one of the most complex but fascinating market systems she had yet seen. She met with farmers, traders, exporters, government, and buyers involved in non-timber forest products and became intimately aware of a missing piece. The alignment of each party's incentives needed to benefit more than just the market players themselves, it needed to increase the value of the environment on which the market system was based.
Intuitively, most people understand that trees and forests are critical to climate change mitigation and ecosystem health. We know that deforestation causes land degradation, soil erosion, polluted water, carbon emissions, and jeopardizes all life. However, forest-based livelihoods and market systems require much greater patience than traditional, commercialized annual agricultural systems. As these traditional agriculture systems/plantations, illegal timber sales and home settlements promise quick gains, the time cost of sustainable forest management poses an understandably high barrier to conserving forests and protecting biodiversity.
And that was the genesis of Forested Foods. At heart, Ariana is a massive problem-solving nerd, and figuring out how to conserve forests (which requires the buy-in of people from every facet of business and society) is complex enough to imagine a life’s worth of figuring out. The driving force behind our vision has been the harmonization of forest conservation and a more equitable world for forest-based communities.
Forested Foods’ business model is a catalyst for good. We’re relentlessly optimistic that we can change the way people and global systems work in favor of a more socio-economically and ecologically regenerative world.