Despite being located in the sleepiest part of the UK, with possibly the slowest train line known to man, more fish and chips shops than sushi bars and absolutely no IKEA stores, never let it be said that Planet Frugi doesn’t have global awareness.
Working with 1% For the Planet enables us to monitor where every single penny of the 1% of our turnover that we donate to specially chosen grass-roots environmental project goes. And with well-established manufacturing links with India, it was kind of a no-brainer for Pan UK to be one of those projects.
We’ve been supporting Pan UK’s Growing Hope Project for the last 3 years, helping to fund many organic cotton farmers in Benin, West Africa to find a way to farm organically without having to use nasty chemicals and pesticides.
The clever guys (and girls) at Pan UK have developed a novel pest management tool for organic cotton. They’ve concocted a food spray that attracts useful insects to cotton plants, who then munch the nasty little pests that find cotton plants so tasty. They’ve spent 2 years testing their nifty new spray, as well as training farmers when to use it, and have found it to be so successful that they can now start to wind down the project. Hurray!
But we want to continue supporting Pan UK’s excellent work. So, from now on, we’re going to be supporting them by funding Neem Oil-making machines.
Neem seed extract is one of the most effective bio-pesticides for the Benin organic cotton farmers. Neem trees grow wild all over the country, meaning the raw material is free! Turning neem seeds into oil is a community affair, with all the local farmers coming together to collect the seeds and grind them up. But the grinding process is slow and hard work, needing several days to make enough neem powder to last the season. And this is where Frugi’s money comes in!
We are initially going to provide one machine for each of the 5 major organic cotton growing regions where Pan UK works. These mechanical grinders make making Neem Oil easier, faster and more efficient. Brilliant!
The other project we fund is a bit closer to home. Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Strandings Network brings together a group of dedicated volunteers, passionate about researching marine mammal strandings on our beaches.
Their untiring work is so important in helping us to understand how and why these deaths of dolphins and other beautiful marine mammals occur, so that some day, some very clever person might be able to come up with a cunning plan to help prevent strandings!
More on that project another time!