Grabbing a snack or sitting down for a meal is like second nature to us. Often times, we don’t think about where our food is coming from, who the people are that grew it or made it, or if our choices in food could have an impact on others around the world.
Well, what if I told you that your choice in a snack could impact the lives of women in East Bali? That it could empower women through employment and education? That it could be an investment in the lives of children half-way around the world? Wouldn’t that be totally nuts?
East Bali Cashews is a company located in, well you guessed it, East Bali. Aaron Fishman, who deems himself an explorer, ended up in Bali working for an organization during the time of Bali’s cashew season.
While teaching the public health staff about wound care and nutrition, Fishman learned all about cashews, which is where his idea of East Bali Cashews came to be.
In East Bali, Fishman saw an opportunity to provide jobs, training, and to produce a product in the exact location it’s grown. In only a few months, Fishman was able to gain support from local investors and launched a company called East Bali Cashews.
In only the first year, the company was able to provide 130 new jobs, employing a 90% female workforce. Its mission is shaped around the idea of providing employment and professional development opportunities for women while producing delicious, high quality cashews for the international market.
East Bali Cashews is the first large-scale cashew processing facility in Bali and one of the first village-based facilities in Southeast Asia. The company buys directly from farmers and processes the cashews in the village — unlike the majority of cashew companies that ship miles away to processing factories. Bet you never thought about where your cashews have been sitting before they end up in your pantry.
East Bali Cashews was awarded the 2015 U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence on March 1, 2016, for the societal impact it has made since the birth of the company. Each year, this award is given to an American company that is a leader in responsible business conduct worldwide. In order to be considered, a company must make an important contribution to the growth and sustainable development of local economies.
Sustainability is exactly what Fishman has in mind when it comes to growing his business. Not only is Fishman focused on the small rural village where East Bali Cashews was created, but he also aims to create a business model that can be replicated throughout Eastern Indonesia so that additional income and development in cashew-growing regions can be achieved.
Basically, when you chow down on these cashews, you could be making a big difference in other countries that desperately need it.
Now we know how awesome Fishman’s idea is, but you might still need a little more convincing to go and buy a bag of these nuts. Hold on, there’s more.
East Bali Cashews offer a variety of cashew flavors that can be found in grocery stores and on the company’s website. Flavors include: Sea Salt, Chili Crunch, Garlic Pepper, Sesame Ginger, Raw and Chocolate. Yup, I said chocolate. Who doesn’t love the combo of chocolate and nuts? And who doesn’t love devouring a bag of chocolatey-nuts while helping out people in need?
So if this story of a start-up in East Bali hasn’t got you daydreaming in Econ class about entrepreneurship, then I don’t know what will. Still not sure what the big deal is about a plain bag of nuts? Then check out these recipes for cashew milk, cashew pasta, and cashew mac ‘n cheese so you can learn how to fancy up a bag of cashews in your pantry. (Don’t forget to buy the ones from East Bali.)
But seriously, go order some nuts and help make a difference in the lives of these nuggets.
East Bali Cashews are currently in stores located in Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia. To see more locations, click here. The company does plan to expand in stores throughout the U.S.