We believe in business that strays from the norm. Money is complicated, but social and economic systems depend on it, so we have to deal with it. If we look to ecological processes and systems we can find that relationships between different elements provide the foundation for mutual benefit for those that cooperate and even for those that compete. With this perspective we aim to demonstrate a business model that reinvests, recycles and reinvigorates through the provision of goods and services.
If we can approach the concepts doing good and business differently from the status quo we can begin to harmonize economy and ecology, all of which have to do with taking care of one’s home.
Belipola’s social enterprise is based on the following activities:
UFGP focusses on offering agricultural products from the ecological farm at Belipola. The farm is recognized as organic by the Good Market Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). UFGP has been working with producers from the area to educate and create incentives to produce organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. The producers group has gone through one round of inspections with the Good Market PGS, and unfortunately has not been able to organize well enough to pass the inspection. We are now in the process of re-energizing the group and re-applying for recognition under the PGS system. Learn more about the Good Market PGS here.
In early 2015 Belipola was approached by a French company called Double Sens and our local implementing partner Peddlar’s Trails to start up a program for community based service tourism. We LOVE this concept. It has provided us and our community with so much enrichment, connection and joy. The concept is simple - have a holiday, give back to the world and have a good time. The groups come to stay at Belipola for 7 nights and during that time we “heal the wounds” of the environment inflicted by poor land management. We develop organic gardens, plant trees, and engage with village life. We have developed a whole watershed perspective to this work and the travellers actively contribute to the restoration of this severely degraded. Each group works on a small area and over time we hope to restore the health and vitality of the watershed, the soil and the community. And what a great way to have cultural exchange and a fun experience.
Since 2014 Belipola has been hosting guests and volunteers at the center. We take an educational approach to visiting. Everyone gets to experience the forest for its asthetics, but also to learn about the issues facing forests and landscapes in our area. We teach the basics of Analog Forestry and organic farming to everyone who visits Belipola and people often learn about trees, plants, biodiversity, forest garden processing and they get to eat from the bounty of the forest. Many people who visit also have an interest in participating in village life so we offer tours to the local temple, visits to the school and clinic and to the home’s and garden’s of our friends. We are also fortunate to have other commercial organic farms in the village and so visitors can go and see how big and how far the organic movement has spread in Mirahawatte. Volunteers get to get their hands dirty in the farm, the forest or help out in the kitchen. Everything is a learning experinece and a chance for exchange. We love when people come to stay!
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