by Kate Gaskell, Managing Director for Liberation Foods
How many people know that 22 October is National Nut Day? Perhaps a few more than the number that know that 9 October is Mouldy Cheese Day or that 25 October is Greasy Foods Day; but I digress.
National Nut Day has its origins in the USA – no one seems to know who started it but I cynically suspect that it was someone in the large scale, government subsidised, powerful, profitable US peanut industry.
Ironic perhaps that we at Liberation Foods picked up the mantle and launched the day in the UK in 2011. Ironic, as we are not in the business of well-subsidised large scale farmers – we exist because small-scale nut farmers from Bolivia, El Salvador, India, Malawi, and Nicaragua joined forces to form their own company. A company that means they can do business on a level playing field. A business that means that they can make a decent living from selling their nuts – to sustain their families and communities, and plan for the future.
Our shareholder farmers work their socks off to grow great tasting nuts and export them in tip top condition. Take the Brazil nut gatherers featured in our new film, Changing the world nut by nut, who spend days and weeks camping in the rainforest whilst they collect the crop each December. Then the race is on to transport hundreds of tonnes of Brazil nuts (in their shells) on foot, by river and by unpaved road on the 1500 mile journey to the port for shipping – before rainy season kicks in and roads and rivers flood.
It’s the least we the team here in the UK can do to spread the word. It’s not such a difficult job – the nut market is growing at around 10%, while savvy consumers are getting wise to the nutritional benefits of healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals and the sheer convenience, tastiness and versatility of nuts. That’s not to mention the relatively low environmental impact of nuts production when compared to intensively produced protein sources like meat.
Back to those Brazil nut gatherers – when you munch on a Fairtrade Brazil nut you’re actually helping to save the rainforest – yes, as long as small-scale gatherers make a good living from selling Brazil nuts, they will continue to fight to protect their patch of the forest from the ever-present threat of logging and de-forestation. We even get a helping hand from recent academic studies showing that regular consumption of nuts increases life expectancy!
Do our products just walk off the shelves?! Well, it is not as easy as that – we operate in a highly competitive market, and we are a tiny company with next to no marketing budget. So, we launched National Nut Day to help us spread the word about nuts, and in particular about nuts from small-scale producers. Producers who simply want a fair reward for their labour. Producers who are proud to own their own company and feel connected to consumers. After all, Liberation’s mission is to bring nut producers and consumers of the world together so that everyone gets a better deal.
Get involved on the National Nut Day and help spread the word by tweeting us using the #NutDay15.
Check out our brand new films and recipes by visiting our You Tube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx26g1YTUYOGF7v7PgTPYLA?view_as=subscriber