Get Ready, Get Set: VASI launches its crowdfunding campaign on Tuesday, January 19th

Dear Friends and Family,

From the hot humid jungle island of Iquitos, we have exciting news: Tuesday, January 19th, VASI launches its crowdfunding project, and we need your help. On the 19th, lets make VASI go viral. This is the project we have been working on over the past years, the one that combines, science, conservation, sustainable development, education, and chocolate—yes, chocolate!

VASI – An Amazonian Vision for an Integrated Sustainability (Visión Amazónica para la Sostenibilidad Integral) (Click here to see our Video)

VASI is Empowerment – The Goal: to contribute to conservation and sustainability of the Peruvian Amazon and the United States through legal, sustainable, business opportunities, increased access to higher education, and scientific information to inform both local, national, and international policy and development decisions.

  • 9 Peruvian communities (with plans to expand)
  • Peruvian University students
  • Peruvian and international scientists
  • US and Global Businesses

A significant portion of the world’s chocolate is produced by forced child labor and slaves

Cacao–>Chocolate, an Agroforestry project

In addition to scientific research and scholarships for higher education, VASI’s agroforestry project will produce organic, wild and heirloom varieties of cacao (for chocolate) along with traditional foodstuffs, exotic fruits, and rare tropical hardwoods. These rare cacao varieties will not only provide unique flavor profiles, they will also contribute to the conservation of genetic diversity in cacao and the availability of good chocolate! The Amazon is the home of Cacao.

Predictions are that global production of cacao soon will not meet demand for chocolate.

Peru and the United States

VASI has established connections with 3 ethically and sustainably focused craft chocolate makers in Northern Michigan.

  • Presently Securing Business Relationships with additional:
    • Chocolate businesses in Peru and throughout the world
    • Peru’s top chefs
    • Specialty food providers in both the US and Peru

The Amazon

The vast majority of Amazonian residents live in extreme poverty. This, despite it being one of the world’s most important regions in terms of fresh water, health related discoveries, bio-diversity, impact on climate, and origin of many loved foods: brasil nut, pineapple, acai, cacao…

Increased pressure on the resources and communities forces residents to turn to increasingly unsustainable and/or illegal activities (indiscriminate timbering and fishing, mining, and coca growing amongst others).

Support VASI

Contribute: Large numbers of donations on January 19. The more early donations the more likely the project will get direct attention from Indiegogo, promoters, media, and then go viral. Donations of all sizes matter and are deeply appreciated. Our webpage (under the To Donate/Para Donar Tab) has a list of items and services we need. And, of course, all donations are tax deductible (in the US). Please, contribute on Launch Day.

Share: the link as soon as we launch, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, on Linked-in, etc., and via email, and talk to others. If each of us shared it directly with 8-10 people, our goal would be met.
Refer: Please send us the names of people or organizations that may provide matching grants or donate rewards to inspire others to donate. Throughout the 6-week campaign, we will announce special rewards and matching grant opportunities.

Join: If you feel particularly inspired by the project, we invite you to join our campaign team. Campaign team members spread the word. You share the project throughout the campaign, contacting traditional media, bloggers, and others to help us get the word out. In return, you will be eligible for extra rewards.

Thank You! Whether you have money to donate, feel comfortable reaching out to others, or have expertise, services, or other ideas you can contribute, VASI thanks you for helping us make this project a success.

Please let us know your pledge amount, any referrals we should have, or other ways you want to participate in advance of the launch. Having this information now will help us to plan. If you can, your employer, or you know of other individuals, or funding organizations that can offer a matching grant please let us know as soon as possible. Just before the 19th, we will send an email with the announcement, links, and sample text you can share with your contacts.

To follow and see photos, visit our webpage, twitter @proyectovasi, or Facebook (Click here to see an accompanying photo album).

I hope you are having a great beginning to the New Year, and Edgardo and I send all of our best, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
Best Wishes,
Nancy, Edgardo, and Javier

VASI Coordinating Team
PS. Last Friday we presented the project to the scientific community in Iquitos, Peru and, as a result, have already arranged for a couple of significant collaborations. Sunday, the 24th, we will be hosting a public event in Lima. All details will be on our Facebook and webpages. We would love to see you, or your friends, there.


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