Colombia has been long known primarily for cocaine. Netflix’s NARCOS is a reminder of Colombia’s complex and evolving cocaine history, which has left poor Colombian farmers victims of violence, displaced from their homes and families, and with limited access to public health and education. Colombia hopes that with the recently signed peace accord, rural populations will at last have better and safer lives.
Corry van Gaal and Luis Meneses, a Canadian couple living in Colombia, started a botanical skincare company called MAMO Botanics. MAMO is short for Madre Monte a Colombian mythical goddess that protects the forest. This social business aims to help Colombian farmers grow environmentally sustainable crop alternatives to coca, the plant used to make cocaine.
“Colombia is the 4th most biodiverse country on earth with over 13,000 plant species, and with over 100 different indigenous communities”, says Corry van Gaal “MAMO Botanics hopes to study the beauty benefits of these natural treasures, and work directly with small-scale farmers to bring them to the world in a way that helps sustains Colombian forests and native habitats”
MAMO Botanics has launched a new facial oil called Oro de Cacay. The Cacay nut is grown on a magestic tree that can reach 40 meters and is found in the Amazon and Orinoco regions, both are meccas of biodiversity and areas where deforestation is an issue due to illicit coca crops.
The oil from this nut is rich in anti aging properties and it is quickly being coined a miracle nut by beauty enthusiasts. High end spas are charging over $200 for treatments that incorporate this anti aging oil. The nut is wild harvested in small batches by Colombian indigenous communities. As a result, this precious oil warrants a hefty price tag compared to other oils, but MAMO invests 15% of profits into reforestation and environmentally sustainable livelihoods.