When Hurricane Tomas ravaged the local community in Saint Lucia’s agricultural breadbasket, six women were determined to rebuild it, one grain at a time. Rain Forest Foods is located near Soufriere Town, Fond St Jacques is a small agricultural village with roots in sugar plantations. Today it is a vibrant community growing various crops. But that wasn’t always the case. In 2010, Hurricane Tomas passed 40 miles south of St Lucia devastating the island. The small community of Fond St Jacques was the hardest hit. A massive landslide killed a family of four and devastated crops. It was feared that some parts of the district would never recover. In the aftermath, six locals bounded together, determined to bring prosperity back to their village. Lydia Cazaubon, Magdalena George, Shernell Joseph, Mary Steva, Roseabelle Josep and Michaela Phillip partnered with local farmers to create Rainforest Foods Ltd, the first all-women run business in the community. Their goal was to create a sustainable income for the women of the community, by producing handmade batches of cereal. Rainforest Foods now produces five granola products made of locally grown sweet potato, breadfruits, coconut, coconut oil, honey and spices. In addition to using seeds, they’re planting some as well, ensuring their business promotes growth in their community. Proceeds contribute to the education and capacity building of their employees, to which they provide training in business management, marketing, food safety and IT.
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