By selling nuts, Regenature hopes a community’s economy can bloom and its environmental health can be regenerated. Baru nuts, considered a Brazilian superfood, are good for the body and good for the environment according to Regenature, the Brazilian company hoping to popularize the food in the United States. Baru nuts are the seed of the baru tree, or Baruzeiro, and are indigenous to the Cerrado region of central Brazil, south of the Amazon.
According to Fabricio Riberio, Regenature’s Chief Commercial Officer, baru nuts have been harvested in the Cerrado for generations. In recent years however, climate change is threatening the Baruzeiro. Regenature aims to support the environment and the economy of the Cerrado by expanding the baru nut’s popularity.
Planting native flora like the Baruzeiro contributes to “the preservation of the biodiversity, generates income for local farmers and communities, avoids rural exodus, and protects and perpetuates their secular traditions,” Riberio tells Food Tank. The biomass of the Cerrado, a region with an area equivalent to England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined, is expected to disappear within 20 years, according to Riberio.
The practices used by Regenature’s farming partners are also supporting local and Indigenous people. With support from the Nova Era Institute, Regenature’s farming partners share a regenerative approach called Their method seeks to mimic the natural progression of ecosystems, only at an accelerated, financially viable pace.
By pairing the Baruzeiro with other indigenous companion plants and fauna, the farming communities enjoy “increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health for farming and local communities,” according to Riberio. “There must be a global switch that addresses better farming practices that regenerate abused soils, offers an important solution for climate change, and sequesters carbon in the soil,” says Riberio.
Supporting the local economy is also essential to Regenature’s mission. The company intends to not fix the price it pays its farmers for baru nuts. “We believe in paying a fair price and improving the lives there [in the Cerrado],” Riberio tells Food Tank. If the value of baru nuts increases up with newfound popularity, Regenature will ensure that farmers’ pay increases up as well.
Regenature hopes to capitalize on a continuously expanding market for organic foods in the U.S. Not only are Regenature’s baru nuts organic, but they are also a rich source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and a plethora of micronutrients. They can also be processed into bars and butter.
“Americans are always one step ahead when we talk about nutrition and healthy food habits, therefore we are confident that baru will soon become popular,” Riberio tells Food Tank. Regenature and its partners planted more than 100,000 in 2019 to preempt a rise in demand and contribute to regenerating the Cerrado.
The company plans to expand imports of baru nut across the United States, as well as other native ingredients. New products will include Babassu oil, a product similar to coconut oil, and the Ora-pro-nobis, a versatile but uncommon ingredient in Minas Gerais. Riberio is confident in Regenature’s ability to scale up sustainability, in part, because of the lifecycle of Baruzeiro. It takes 4 to 5 years for trees to fruit, giving the company more time to monitor demand and set prices according to the market.
“At this moment we are working on an Alliance for the Cerrado together with the most prestigious and committed institutes in the country…by 2020 we will be able to cover a more vast area of the Cerrado, bringing the socio-biodiversity back to where it belongs. That is what moves us,” Riberio tells Food Tank.
Photo courtesy of Regenature