Whole World Botanicals

Whole World Botanicals Solar Energy Project

Whole World Botanicals’ Vision includes the Promotion of Sustainability

Founded in 1996 by a Peruvian midwife, Elena Rojas, and an American anthropologist, Viana Muller, the Company strives to produce premium quality certified organic and wildcrafted botanicals in the most ethical and harmonious way and bring maca and other therapeutic botanicals to the U.S. market.

Sustainability is a key element of the founders’ vision. But as social entrepreneurs, we take our mission to foster social justice seriously and have started programs to make a real difference in the lives of our Peruvian partners. In an effort to alleviate the hardships of these indigenous people while promoting Green Living simultaneously, Whole World Botanicals initiated the pilot Solar Energy Project.

Whole World Botanicals’ Solar Energy Pilot Project with the Maca Growers

Two years ago, the Company initiated a pilot solar energy project with maca-growing communities to demonstrate solar cookers and in the summer of 2006 Whole World Botanicals continued the solar cooker demonstrations and provided a workshop on building a solar space to heat their homes. Below is a description of some of the aspects of this exciting, on-going project.

At 14,000 feet above sea level, the sun’s radiation is intense but the cold and wind make living high in the Andes a struggle. Don Alejandro and his wife Dońa Dastia have a house above the tree line in Alto Cunas, Peru. Don Alejandro and his wife are the leaders of a community of maca growers who sell their maca to Whole World Botanicals. They were eager to explore the possibilities for improving their quality of life which harnessing solar energy offered and invited maca growers from five communities to their home for a two day solar energy workshop.

Solar Ovens

Solar ovens take advantage of the unimpeded radiation from the sun at that high altitude. Fresh trout from a nearby stream, freshly harvested maca roots and potatoes were cooked in the cookers. Dońa Dastia was amazed with the ease of solar cooking and the food’s flavor passed her taste test. Many villagers now want solar cookers for themselves.

Solar Cooker with Food Solar Oven Solar Oven

The next step is to bring a solar oven expert from the Grupo Fenix in Nicaragua to lead a solar cooker construction workshop, using recycled materials. Nicaraguan women who were taught how to build the basic model have made ingenious improvements to it, especially adapted to their circumstances.

Solar Spaces

Whole World Botanicals is thrilled to partner with Dr. Richard Komp, a solar energy expert with lots of experience in Third World solar projects, ranging from inexpensive solar-powered photo voltaic cells to solar powered cookers to passive solar house heaters. Whole World Botanicals’ project is to help the communities of maca growers, with whom we have been partnering for more than a decade, learn how to make their own passive thermal solar energy collectors out of inexpensive local materials.

Solar Spaces

Don Alejandro, who is also a carpenter, was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the home solar space. He put in the postholes for cement the day before the workshop. With glass and lumber that WWB had purchased, he and men from several villages learned how to construct a simple lean-to structure as an addition to their houses.

The solar space can be as simple as a lean-to made out of glass (or transparent plastic) with wooden frames or it can be an actual very small room. The solar space which the maca growers built adjoining Don Alejandro’s adobe house wall is warmed up by the sun during the day. The heat in the space slowly travels through the adobe wall and radiates into the rest of the house, with the maximum warmth reaching the inside of the house 12 hours afterwards—that is, when the temperature is the coldest.

Solar Spaces

Don Alejandro was pleased with the solar space and added a window and a door to the basic design. Now his house has a space that is comfortable to live and work in for the whole family, especially for his grandchildren and older family members.

As a next step in carrying out its role as a responsible social entrepreneur, WWB plans to set up its own 501C non-profit organization in order to be able to accept contributions from its customers and others who want to participate in the full implementation of the Company’s environmental and social justice mission.