Darin Olien Fights Illegal Biopiracy, Strengthens Peru Superfoods Supply Chain
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 15, 2015 – Superfood hunter Darin Olien and a multi-corporation operations and research team toured Peru in June on a mission to explore new Peru superfoods, work on sustainable supply chain management for known superfoods maca, sacha inchi, and yacon, fight biopiracy, and create vertical supply chain integration between farmers, suppliers, and the consumer (ensuring every part of the process maintains the quality and efficacy of the food before it is eaten).
“We needed to develop existing and new relationships with the growers and continue to innovate and help improve the growing conditions,” said Olien, often called the “Indiana Jones of Superfoods.” His efforts have been profiled numerous times by Treehugger, Business Week and more, including on a previous trip to Peru documented by O Magazine.
“What I saw (and ate) there changed the way I think about food, and cleared the path to even greater health,” O Magazine editor-in-chief Susan Casey wrote in the article following her trip.
Olien, founder of SuperLife, Malibu, Calif., and author of “SuperLife: The 5 Forces the Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome,” is a renowned authority on nutrition, hydration, and the potency of foods and herbs. He works closely with thousands of international farmers, growers, and manufacturers to get high-quality, fair-trade superfood and herbal commodities out to market.
Superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that provide a unique, dense mix of plant chemicals and nutrients including antioxidants, polyphenols, phytochemicals, omega-3, vitamins, and essential minerals that go beyond what is normally found in foods and seemingly promote greater health and wellness.
“To create and expand the growing and procurement of these indigenous Peru superfoods takes a dedicated level of involvement. On this trip, I was encouraged at the level of commitment many of the people we met with have to quality and care,” Olien said.
“Since I started my career it has always been a dream of mine to formulate with superfoods that have been grown with this level of transparency and sustainability and commitment from the whole supply chain. This has been 10 years in the making since I began traveling here,” Olien shared.
In addition to developing existing and new relationships and create better quality standards, the team’s goal was to share improved growing methods for indigenous crop that honor historical approaches but create ways to ethically supply the global market.
Even simple changes such as planting the seeds instead of sowing them by hand can increase crop yield of Peru superfoods such as maca by more than 30 percent. With a skyrocketing market demand, building production capabilities for indigenous superfoods is critical.
Shortages have led to biopiracy and illegal export of some superfoods, and combating this was another mission for Olien and his team while studying Peru superfoods. Biopiracy is taking knowledge and genetic resources (seeds) from indigenous farmers and seeking illegal control (often through patents) of the resource for profit without approval from the country of origin.
The popular superfood Maca was originally domesticated in central Peru, yet its health benefits and global demand have tempted China and other counties to illegally obtain the seeds and begin growing the product in their countries without the Peruvian government’s permission.
Testing has shown these products to be inferior medicinally and chemically and often laced with pesticides and other environmental toxins.
“We are very focused on assisting the Peruvian government in its fight against biopiracy and work preserving indigenous crops, including maca, in their native lands,” Olien said.
“Quality assurance, I believe, is radically misunderstood and taken for granted, which is why I show up in the countries, why I work with the people, and follow-up on and test everything,” Olien says. “I want to protect the reputation of true, pure superfoods for the amazing impact they can have on the human body. Cheap, inferior ‘superfoods’ grown only for profit will destroy that.”
He and his team believe the only way to offer superfoods, no matter if it costs more or takes more time, is as a clean, healthy, effective, ethically-sourced product. “Superfoods will never be the same as a regular item on a store shelf,” Olien says. “They require so much more care and commitment including traveling to the country of origin, testing everything, and working with the indigenous cultures who produce these treasures.”
Olien will be traveling to Mongolia and Siberia in 2015, continuing his pursuit to make ethically sourced, quality superfoods and herbs available to everyone.
About Darin Olien:
Nicknamed “The Indiana Jones of Superfoods,” Olien is a widely recognized exotic superfoods hunter, supplement formulator, and environmental activist who travels the planet discovering new and underutilized medicinal plants. He works closely with thousands of international farmers, growers, and manufacturers to get high-quality, fair-trade superfood and herbal commodities out to market. Since 2005 he has sourced more than 300 foods and ingredients from around the world, working directly with the people of Peru, Bhutan, the Amazon region, the Himalayas, the South Pacific, and many other countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Olien is a renowned authority on nutrition, hydration, and the potency of foods and herbs, which he writes about in his new book, SuperLife: The 5 Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome. The book offers resources for simple lifestyle changes that create long term-health. It is a fad-free, myth-busting, individualized approach to health developed from Olien’s 20+ years of travel and research around the world.
Darin Olien’s health and wellness company, SuperLife, headquartered in Malibu, CA, shares resources and breaking research that demystify health, fitness, nutrition, and longevity into simple daily actions. Olien’s fad-free, super simple rules of healthy eating and living create life-long wellness and the opportunity to live a SuperLife – the greatest expression of life possible!
For more information, to schedule an interview, or to receive high-resolution photos, contact:
Heather Young, Editor-in-Chief, SuperLife