While we were on our first offshore cruise around the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, as ‘poverty-stricken’ sailors, we were always thinking of ways to earn a small income and continue sailing through the Pacific. We didn’t need much, just enough to buy a few pineapples from the local markets and a few bits and pieces to keep our boat ship-shape. This is the story behind how we started using our small sailboat to support organic agriculture in the South Pacific.
Our Island Connection
Before we got our sailboat we have both spent a lot of time in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea working with the local communities in conservation sustainable planning and participatory video projects with The Nature Conservancy. Our philosophies aligned with their simple and subsistence way of life. We also saw the damage that a transition to a more western lifestyle is doing with imported junk food, plastic rubbish, and pot bellies. We vowed to ourselves and each other that we would go back to Solomon Islands, this time by boat, to visit our friends and that we would do what we could to help them take pride in their traditional ways of life, craft and gardening.
Permaculture & Organics
We also both have a passion for Permaculture and became agricultural tourists, taking pleasure in visiting remote communities and touring their gardens and plantations, and learning about the different traditional ways of growing food and commercial crops. We were a quarantine officers nightmare on our first trip back from the Solomon Islands carrying bags of loose cacao beans, coconut oil in random containers, bush knives (the gardening tool used for everything), and baskets and bags woven from bark and vines.
We had an ‘aha moment’ just before we left Fiji in October 2015. We have a boat… and we can bring in so much more goodness from the Pacific Islands!
From there the idea was born. We found the products we wanted to buy along the way, usually the Vanilla grower, for example, also grew black peppercorns, and the cacao plantation had connections to Kava processors.
Rather than unconsciously giving gifts to the people that could have a detrimental effect on the environment, like plastic toys and one use items that they don’t have the capacity to dispose of easily, we thought we would contribute and support their agrarian lifestyles by buying what they grow and craft themselves, and giving them what they were asking for their products.
Sail Powered Transport
Ok, we don’t have a giant cargo ship that can hold container loads of stuff, but we like that we are a ‘little shipping co.’ and we are getting the most out of our little sailboat and not relying on thousands of litres of fossil fuel, but only the free, clean and abundant wind power! We may take a little longer to get to our destination, but it’s not by much, and you can be assured that we have taken care every step of the way: from seeing the products growing, paying a fair price to the grower, packing in and designing conscious biodegradable packaging, and actually manning our market stall so we know what we are selling and can answer your questions.
The following products are limited and can be purchased in our online shop. We currently only ‘ship’ to Australia and New Zealand.
Certified organic cold-pressed coconut oil and high potency kava from Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu (sold out).
Organically grown raw cacao beans from Malekula Island, Vanuatu.
Pure vanilla extract made from organically grown Vanilla Beans from Aneityum Island and Absolut Vodka from the duty-free shop, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Handmade coconut oil soap (that lathers in saltwater, ideal for dirty sailors like us), made the old fashioned cold-process method with no added chemicals, and no artificial fragrances.
Get in touch if you are an organic grower in the South Pacific wanting to connect with a market, or you have an idea of something in demand we could transport.