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SUSTAINABLE FOOD

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Problem

Doselva was founded on the premise of providing value chain alternatives for coffee and grain farmers in Central America facing a livelihoods crisis due to climate change and price volatility in major commodities. Smallholder coffee and basic grain farmers are highly vulnerable to climate change as their crops are sensitive to rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. Rising temperatures also are known to negatively affect coffee growth, flowering, fruit set, and bean quality. High temperatures and drought conditions also have negative impacts on the flowering and yields of maize and beans. Since smallholder farmers in Central America depend almost entirely on rain-fed agriculture, they are vulnerable to extended droughts, irregular rainfall patterns, and extreme rain events which can significantly reduce yields and exacerbate food insecurity and poverty.

Solution

Spices represent one of the highest-value, lowest risk crop alternative on small plots, and are in their majority more resilient to climate change than coffee and basic grains. Vanilla, black pepper and cinnamon can be easily intercropped with coffee and cocoa on a given farm. Spices are neither capital nor technology intensive in production and post-harvest, but rather dried and cured on or close to the farm by farmers themselves using simple, traditional techniques. This value addition is convenient and accessible to smallholders, allowing them to capture more margin and get out of the poverty trap of selling raw material at the farm gate. Spices are light weight and do not require cold-chain management. Their long shelf life makes them easy to store and transport. Vanilla and black pepper are shade tolerant epiphytes that also require live support trees for development. With a shade canopy and support trees as its principal architecture, spice farms begin to look more like forests. 

Doselva’s target market to generate revenue from the sale of its products is the global spice market. From a product sourcing and social impact perspective, Doselva’s target market are smallholder farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Jefferson Shriver

CEO and Co-Founder

Jefferson Shriver is the CEO of Doselva which he co-founded in 2017, specialising in turmeric, ginger, vanilla and cardamom, sourcing product from smallholder farmers with a processing plant and export function based in Nicaragua.

Jefferson owns and manages Gaia Estate, an organic certified agroforestry farm in Nicaragua with annual production of vanilla, coffee, turmeric, fruits and vegetables. He served for 8 years on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Food Lab, a consortium of business, non-profit and public organizations accelerating the shift to sustainability in the food industry.

He received his BA in International Studies from Whitworth University, and his MA in Global Environmental Policy from American University. Jefferson is a U.S. citizen and 22-year resident of Nicaragua residing in Granada.

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Aaron D Sachowitz

Co-Founder

Aaron Sachowitz, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Media Technologies and Culture, Vice-Chair of the Academic Senate, and Director of the January Term program and Masters of Arts in Intercultural Communication at Saint Mary’s College of California. Dr. Sachowitz specializes in the intersection of media technologies and culture with a primary concern for the examination of power, particularly as it relates to traditionally marginalized positions. Among his other published research on media and representation, he has published award winning scholarship on topics as diverse as queer family and food justice, in addition to works on hip-hop, film, and media theory. In addition to teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in Communication, he's taught five courses on food justice both in the U.S. and Nicaragua, and traveled with students to Costa Rica, Japan, and India.

Aaron entered the arena of social entrepreneurship, combining his interest in social justice, his experience with organisational governance, and his passion for food justice to co-found Doselva.

Company Background

Doselva is a Central American organic spice company which is founded in 2017. It is committed to reducing barriers to entry for small holder spice production in Nicaragua by serving as an anchor business for the provision of plant material, agriculture technical advisory and financial services, and market access.

Doselva helps hundreds of mostly coffee farmers in Nicaragua earn 3 to 5 times more with spices than with coffee and basic grains. Doselva processes and sells the spices to premium markets in the US and Europe, capturing more value in country and providing positive social, economic, and environmental impacts to its small farmers.