Reseverage Organics Announces Landmark Partnership With Kuna

Business agreement will allow for development of a sustainable industry
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A sacred health practice that inspired a natural product line dedicated to the health benefits of cocoa has also inspired a landmark partnership.

Reserveage Organics, maker of CocoaWell products, has entered into a sustainable business agreement with the indigenous Kuna of Panama. Delegates from each of the Kuna's 49 communities—the Kuna General Congress of Panama—voted to approve this decision as part of their world-renowned democratic process.

Reserveage Founder and CEO Naomi Whittel signed the agreement inside a Panamanian hut in the Yansibdiwar community of Kuna Yala on October 30, marking the first time the Kuna have agreed to allow a company to use their images to promote a product and work together for their mutual benefit.

"The Kuna are very proud, traditionally minded and spiritual people," she added. "They have welcomed me to their communities knowing I want to help them to develop an economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable industry."

Whittel launched the CocoaWell brand of products in March 2011 after learning about Harvard researcher Dr. Norman Hollenberg's 20-year-study of the Kuna's sacred practice of drinking cocoa regularly. Hollenberg's team observed that the Kuna maintain normal blood pressure as they age and enjoy exceptional heart health, though they eat a high-salt diet. "The Kuna culture is devoted to cocoa," Whittel said. "They drink it like water."

"I feel strongly that because this sacred Kuna health practice inspired our CocoaWell products, we have a responsibility to partner with them and give back in ways that support their communities and their needs," Whittel said.

CocoaWell combines organic whole-food cocoa with plant flavanols in a single serving. The product line currently includes three nutritional supplements that help provide cardiovascular protection, support cognitive function, and help sustain energy.

"Each bottle of CocoaWell purchased will support the Kuna in their goals," Whittel said. "We will do all we can to significantly reduce poverty and malnutrition among them."

Reserveage and the Kuna have agreed to work together for these mutual goals and benefits:

>> Make the world aware of the Kuna as an example of a healthy culture because of cocoa consumption;

>> Establish an innovative form of fair trade;

>> Make a positive impact on the Kuna nation with a target goal of investing three percent of net profit from the sale of CocoaWell products to support the Kuna Yala Institute for Research and Development's sustainability and social initiatives.

Whittel said her goals include helping the Kuna restore natural cocoa production and preserve the cocoa farmer's livelihood so they can develop a sustainable economy.

"We want to support them in protecting and improving the well-being of current and future Kuna generations," she said. "We can do this by fostering economic self-sufficiency and designing innovative social programs."

For more information, visit cocoawell.reserveage.com.