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Superfoods Have a Superhero

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Aduna, a Positive Founding Member, has a Resounding Commitment to Change, and Embodies the Values of the Positive Compass.

Positive Impact Community: Aduna

95% of people have never heard of baobab. If there was a global demand for it, the circular economy would flourish, degraded soils would regenerate, and over 10 million families across Africa lifted out of poverty.

Before he heard about baobab, Aduna co-founder, Andrew Hunt, began his career in advertising. Selling things that he didn’t care about to people who didn’t need them. Aged 24, he was clinically depressed. Then, one day, out of the blue, his phone rang. He was called to volunteer in The Gambia.

Andrew recalls,

“After 6 months of unsuccessfully trying everything from anti-depressants to faith healers, it took just 3 weeks in the warm embrace of The Gambia to bring me back to life”.

Here, the idea behind African superfood brand, Aduna, blossomed, and baobab introduced to the Western world.

Baobab is the fruit of the majestic African baobab tree, also known as The Tree of Life. You may recognize it from The Lion King. The fruit is large and oval-shaped, holding kidney-shaped seeds in a dry, pulpy matrix. Baobab bakes in the sun for 7 months and is the only fruit to dry whilst still hanging on the branch. It boasts exceptional levels of antioxidants, high fibre, and 6x more vitamin C than an orange; as a natural source, it is far more easily digested and more bioavailable than manufactured supplements. Baobab is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

Aduna’s mission is to bring this natural vitality of Africa’s ancient ingredients to the Western consumer and global market. Meanwhile, crucially: creating sustainable livelihoods for small-scale producers from rural African households. These are superfoods of the superlative.

On an environmental scale, Aduna supports the Great Green Wall of Africa initiative, regenerating depleted soils in the Sahel, whilst promoting biodiversity. Planting millions of trees from Senegal to Djibouti, this Green Wall is reversing desertification and climate change, as well as reducing mass migration, transforming barren land back into profitable, life-affirming land. Once complete, this wall of trees will be the largest living structure on the planet: 3x the size of the Great Barrier Reef. Aligning with this Regenerative purpose, Aduna has initiated a community land restoration programme, cultivating 12,000 new baobab trees across the region.

The social impacts of Aduna are manifold. At Positive, we question: How can we co-create regenerative opportunities with local actors? How can we nurture and care for communities? Aduna have this transformational purpose nestled deep into their organizational DNA.

Currently, Aduna works with 1,823 women baobab producers across Upper East Ghana and Centre-Sud Burkina Faso. Their team has streamlined the harvesting process and eliminated the opportunity for middlemen to cheat locals. As a result, household income has increased tenfold, paying for better education, food, and healthcare for their 11,000 dependents.

Baobab producer and mother of 6, Batebe Atesu, reveals how Aduna has impacted her life:

“The baobab tree is a big blessing. In the past we did not know it was this valuable. The fruits used to drop and we didn’t even bother picking them. Life used to be really hard. Today we sell the fruits and make a lot of money. Our lives are transformed. I sell Aduna my baobab and I work in their processing centre. We get support and training in many areas.”

National Geographic estimates that global demand for baobab could yield 1 billion dollars a year for rural Africa. Yet, without a growing market or supply chain, this prized fruit simply goes to waste.

What’s more, Africa has an abundance of unique products bursting with nutritional value — undiscovered in potential. As well as baobab, Aduna is supporting a global fair trade demand for the ancient nutty super-grain, fonio, cultivated in West Africa for 5000 years. The Dogon people of Mali believe the entire universe was born out of a single grain of fonio, whilst an article from The Guardian hails it: ‘the grain that would defeat quinoa as king among foodies’. Naturally gluten-free, diabetic-friendly due to low GI (Glycaemic Index), rich in iron and vitamins B1 and B3 for optimum mental health — the health benefits are universal.

Aduna also has a range of Super-Teas, uniquely crafted blending the highest quality active botanical ingredients. Each cuppa is brimming with organic superfoods, simultaneously fuelling your body and immune system whilst creating a sustainable income for rural African families, allowing you to sip with purpose. Their maxim: drink tea, feel good, do good.

Clearly, Aduna embraces its role as an advocate for the 5 Ps of the Positive Compass: Planet, People, Places, Partners, and Purpose. Helping to reverse desertification and climate change they are in the right relationship with nature; they elevate human potential through supporting and training local producers; they empower communities by championing African biodiversity; they provide resonant value for producer and consumer alike. And they are driven by a powerful life-affirming.

Aduna means ‘life’ or ‘world’ in Wolof, one of the main languages of The Gambia and Senegal. It encapsulates a philosophy of wholeness — embracing integrality, self-sufficiency, and interconnectedness (recent breakthroughs in quantum physics corroborate this connected worldview). As consumers become increasingly conscious about the products they choose to buy, it is necessary to consider this philosophy of Aduna; to appreciate each transaction within its wider economic sphere. This will help to compound communities and futures which are not menial or exploited, but regenerative and auspicious.


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