Continued from page 1
To keep things moving at a viable pace, Daugherty has implemented a type of work ethic code, making very clear criteria to be met. "We allow a three-strikes-you're-out rule in everything we do and everyone we work with," says Daugherty. "We're very helpful, even if you're out. At same time, people are very different in fact that every single thing they do, their heart is so poured into it. I mean, energetic quality of these crops and food are off Richter Scale with most people who are testing them and eating them."
Permaculturing... Part of criteria for a growing operation includes strict permaculture procedures to ensure that once an operation has been brought into production line, it stays there permanently. "We're setting up a four-stage system where every single associate that we're working with in our projects are only allowed to sell to us if they are permaculturally-based," says Daugherty. "So they're not just mono-cropping. Where we're working at our projects, people are having perennial and annual crops that are being harvested at various times of year, allowing for all of their land to be covered in something green and growing, to be watered and nurtured, and to provide a healthy ecosystem for preservation of land and for future of any growth there."
What does permaculture look like? "There's a canopy, and then there's something growing under that canopy--usually a smaller tree--which is sometimes taken out after larger canopy trees are in full bloom and growing to their full capacity. Then we have crops growing down at bottom--various medicinal herbs and fruit and vine crops. We are intervening slowly chicken tractors and goose tractors; cows and goats, and that type of animal through all of these crops, so they're doing all our cleaning, and naturally fertilizing as they go along."
Challenges and joys... Daugherty gets a lot of interest from neighboring farmers who see how productive these methods are, and want to join up, which presents its own set of challenges. "The main challenge is just lack of education," says Daugherty. "Luckily, follow through on buying end hasn't been so hard. Another challenge is testing to prove that our product is better on an alchemical structure in States, which we have been overcoming by biting bullet and just paying for testing. But main challenge is that economy is very stressed in Peru, and health is very stressed. Most of people, although they are full of heart energy--a very amazing people--they live in an environment where there are no catalytic converters, purified water, air quality monitoring, those types of things."
Within challenges lie joys, and true reward, not only personally, but socially. "One of our joys is to empower these people to work through a system, and they come out on other side feeling empowered--that's whether we're here or not. They now have a better quality product that has been brought to market that has fair market value placed on it. It has all spec sheets, analysis, and clear projections. So they feel they have a future involved in what they're doing," says Daugherty.
Local promotion... To spread gospel of sustainable agriculture to cities, Daugherty's team presents periodic conferences, through three certifying agencies and through two educational organizations where Daugherty's partners are on board. "We have an 'All-Organic Day,'" enthuses Daugherty. "We get organic catered food and organic drinks to a church or whatever facility. We usually collect 50-100 people at a time--and about 20% out of that stay online and start creating info loop. We definitely let people realize we're not from States to be some big overbearing company, we're being a conduit. Once we know that your criteria is fulfilled, and we know that you are really in synch, then we are your financier. We cash crop your product, and help you in all your phases, not just relying on your end sales. We buy your boxes, your bags, we finance harvesting, we finance processing. We finance it pre-shipment, so it's a different type of buying than most American companies who just buy based on what they receive."
Daugherty has run into zero resistance from other commercial farmers in Peru. "They think we're crazy," he says matter-of-factly. "We really follow through and money is there when we say, and boxes are there. We keep following through and pushing them for more information, which they like, and they're very receptive. The skepticism tends to fade as we intervene more and follow through." The word gets around various farms and villages: "How much did you get for your corn?" "Oh, I cut mine down--I couldn't get anything." "Well, we just got 38 cents a kilo."
Future expansion... "There are easily over a thousand new items we will have over next three years--new things that have never been heard of before," claims Daugherty.
Currently Essential Living Foods is co-packing for five Whole Foods Stores regions, through a New Jersey co-packer warehouse. "He's been doing that since we started--one of my first accounts," says Daugherty. ELF products can be found in such brands as Soy-Delicious Ice Cream With Pecans, Campbell's soup is buying ELF's hot peppers for their Spicy V8 Juice, and Whole Foods Blue Corn Chips participates. Daugherty keeps on networking, "There are a couple of larger companies we are working with, so slowly, little by little."
What can interested conscious consumers do to support ELF's efforts beyond buying organic products? "We're setting up a tiered system of buy-packages for groups that you can invest in. We're also going to be accepting donations for what we are working on. Plus, people trying out these new products, sharing with us their true heart-found responses--not just 'yes, that's interesting, that's energetic'--but more what it can be used for, helping us to figure out ways to get it into mass market's eye."
To augment ELF's regional outreach, Daugherty is supplying Casa De Milagros Orphanage in Peru with organic foods. The orphanage is partly supported by actor Woody Harrelson, and rock band, The Black Crowes. Subtle Energy Solutions and Transformation Enzymes are also providing therapeutic products for these children.
"ELF is one aspect of our company," says Daugherty. "We're also creating a line of medicinals called Indigenous Medicinals. You could call it 'Phyto-therapy from rainforest.' All grown sustainably."
Boyd is the webmaster of www.subtleenergysolutions.com and the newsletter writer for that site. He enjoys a wide range of experience both in the ways of the internet, alternative medicine, environmental issues, and in freelance writing. An active, professional drummer, Boyd performs in the Portland area with several area blues and R&B bands.