Unrooted Drinks: How & why we protect the incredible "tree of life"
At Unrooted Drinks we love baobab. Its one of the world’s most nutritious superfruits, we use it in all of our drinks, and baobab trees themselves are iconic. We’ve spent a lot of time working on how to make sure the trees continue to thrive and are pleased to share some of what we’ve learned with you here.
Baobab trees, also known as the “upside down tree” or “tree of life” are long-lived, with some known to be over 2,000 years old. Despite never being grown agronomically or domestically, over the many years of the baobab’s history a plethora of uses have been discovered and developed using its fruit, seeds, leaves and bark, ranging from traditional medicinal uses, nutrition, and personal care.
Its bark has astringent properties that have been known to help cure the common cold and fevers. Its leaves can be used as an antiperspirant and has been known to treat bladder and kidney diseases. Both the leaves and wood are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. So you can only imagine the type of fruit that this miracle tree can produce! It is what is commonly called a “superfruit,” the one fruit to rule them all. In this case, baobab fruit certainly deserves this title.
Due to climate change some of the largest and oldest trees of the species are dying. And although there are efforts to protect these trees in Southern Africa, mining, large-scale agricultural and developmental issues are still cause for concern and encroaching on the growth of these wild trees.
When the trees are young they are very susceptible to wild animals like baboons and domestic animals seeking the roots for food. It also takes anywhere from 60-200 years before the tree can bear fruit, and because of this it risks being destroyed before the tree can be sustainably used. To make sure that the trees survive their first years, they need protection, dedication and nurturing.
How Unrooted helps
All our baobab fruit is wild harvested and FairWild certified, meaning that no cutting or harming of the trees take place. Instead, because of the need for the long-life of the tree we go out and source the fruit where it grows naturally and sustainably.
The survival of these trees is then an integrated approach with the community that lives with and supports them. There is an incentive to protect the local baobabs so the trees continue to thrive, and so local communities can benefit from the sale of the fruits.
Unrooted has partnered with EcoProducts on their Baobab Guardians Programme – a unique tree-planting program. Our simple aim is to plant more baobab trees in the collection areas of Venda (northern South Africa) where climate change and livestock risks affecting the survival of young baobabs. The program employs rural women to tend to the growth of these trees to make sure they make it past the most vulnerable first 3 years or until the trees are 3 metres high where they can then be redistributed back into the wild to prosper.
Each tree we plant is a journey, it is not just a planting of a tree, but a tending of a tree. It takes dedication and support from the local community as well as our partners on the ground. Every purchase you make with Unrooted Drinks is directly supporting this project and the community to which it is linked.