In 2011, Kwami had his sights set on becoming a rocket scientist. Emily was in the midst of her third year of studying development economics at Harvard, frustrated by the disconnect between the academic literature and the realities of poverty on the ground.
Coming from different worlds and backgrounds, they traveled to northern Ghana together with MIT’s D-Lab. There, they were united by a desire to take on the challenges smallholder farmers face daily without access to patient capital, quality inputs, technical training, or guaranteed markets.
During their time in Ghana, Kwami and Emily were introduced to what was known locally as “the miracle tree.” The tree thrives in arid climates. It helps the crops around it grow better. It can be intercropped with subsistence crops mitigating risk to farmers.
The leaves, with more vitamin A than carrots, more protein than eggs, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach have the potential to end malnutrition and provide a stable food source to farmers.
The oil seeds, rich in anti-oxidants and moisturizing agents produce one of nature’s finest cosmetic oils for hair and skin care.
The solution to poverty, malnutrition, and hunger was growing in their own backyards.
The more they learned about the harmful chemicals in synthetic cosmetics and hair relaxers, the more passionate they became about bringing conscious consumers a natural alternative that actually worked. Putting their engineering and business acumen to work, they went back to Cambridge to devise a proprietary extraction system that could be brought closer to the farmers, adding value and jobs on the ground, and producing the highest quality natural oil nature has to offer.
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