Q&A with Loving Earth Founder & MD, Scott Fry
Loving Earth are supporting the upcoming Sydney Small Business Workshop through providing their incredible chocolate in the goodie bags!
Loving Earth Founder & MD, Scott Fry:
Scott Fry is the founder of Loving Earth.
Loving Earth is an ethically driven company that believes Food is Sacred. Our vibe is bean-to-bar whole food chocolate from really raw cacao. And because you can’t eat chocolate all day, we’ve got grain and gluten free activated breakfast toppers and snacks, cacao and coconut products and a whole heap more. Our passion is real relationships with grower communities around the world.
What was the inspiration behind launching Loving Earth?
When I was living in India studying yoga in 2000, I was working with Adivasi rice farmers on the outskirts of Mumbai. They were selling their topsoil and cutting down their trees to make bricks. While I was sitting on a bus reading David Suzuki’s book “Naked Ape to Super Species”, I had an epiphany. I realised I needed to create a way to help these farmers protect their way of living with the land.
Six years later, after living in Mexico with our Creative Director, Martha, and working with several large indigenous cooperatives, I saw that to really support these communities, the key was having a brand in the marketplace. Finding a way to support these people meant finding ways of commercialising their commodities in a way that not only honoured them, but also allowed them to do what they'd been doing for thousands of years.
When we moved back to Australia I was full of inspiration. I’d brought back the ingredients to create the very first chocolate bars and it was in our rental house in Coburg that Loving Earth was born. The spare room as the HQ with night shifts at a local bakery for manufacturing. We couldn’t keep up with demand and it wasn’t long before our first employee, Richard, came on board. Richard still manages production today!
I’d love to know a little about you. How would you describe yourself?
I jump around the place quite a bit and always enjoy exploring new ideas and new things as I tend to get impatient with more of the same. For me, connection with nature is really important and drives a lot of what I do, I love to be able to spend time being active in the outdoors and be out in the ocean or bush.
How do you go about sourcing ingredients for Loving Earth products?
In the years since Loving Earth began, we discovered that indigenous communities around the world are subjected to the same cancerous process that the Adivasi rice farmers were facing. These marginalised communities are often left watching outsiders come in and destroy their natural assets for minimal, if any, short term benefits, while the long-term value of those assets has been completely destroyed.
We create meaningful relationships with these communities that take so much more into consideration than simply a supplier/buyer dynamic.
We helped the Ashaninka community in Peru, who we source our cacao from, become certified organic and set up a bank account so that they could trade their beautiful cacao. We pay them a higher than fair trade price for the heirloom Amazonico Crillo cacao whose entire harvest we buy every year. They grow this cacao in a regenerative agroforestry system supporting the Ashaninka to protect the forest that they have been guardians of for generations.
We are so lucky to have such a connection to the Nyul Nyul community up in The Kimberleys who harvest the Gubinge, which we then dehydrate and grind down into a powder.
One day, about ten years ago, Bruno Dann, the Traditional Owner, walked into the health food store in Broome. The store had some of Loving Earth’s Goji and Camu Camu raw chocolate bars, Camu Camu being a very high Vitamin C berry from the Peruvian Amazon. The woman working in the shop knew him and so she said “Hey Bruno! Check this out! These guys have this stuff from the Amazon that's real high in Vitamin C, but that Gubinge, it's much better, you should get him onto it!”. Bruno contacted us and I went up there during the Gubinge harvest and had a great time, camping out on the land, picking Gubinge up in trees for hours, fishing and living off the local bush tucker...and it all went from there.
Their connection to the land is palpable with such rich history and care still carried forward today. Something that needs to be respected, treasured, and protected.
How do you spend your days at work?
I spend a lot of time walking around talking to people and am spending less and less time at my desk. Obviously, there are meetings but checking in with people and being down in the factory playing with product or seeing what’s going on with the equipment usually takes up most of the day.
What has been a stand-out / memorable moment for Loving Earth in it’s journey so far?
I think it has to be seeing the product in lots of stores around New York. It’s been really significant for me, but also seeing the potential for the future of Loving Earth as it becomes a global brand. In the US at the Trade Shows, people have quite audible/vocal moments tasting the Cheesecake chocolate, in particular. It’s always great to hear people getting excited by the taste experience – it’s quite unique.
Another stand out is Bruno getting the native title. We’ve been in the background for many, many years and it was so great to see such a result for the community, it is really symbolic of what we’re trying to achieve.
What are your 3 favourite products from the range?
It’s a tough choice, but at the moment it has to be the Buck’n Berry chocolate, Raspberry chocolate, and the Gubinge powder.