At this moment, THE GOOD SPICE consists of me, myself and a dream. So, who is ‘me’? I’m Iona Mulder. I studied History, International Law and Genocide Studies. Even though I’m educated as a researcher and worked as consultant, I have always been a doer with a big passion for food. The latter has led my way to the professional kitchen. The idea for THE GOOD SPICE started around a year ago when my partner brought me a piece of cinnamon from Hongkong. The taste of this cinnamon was so different than any other I had tried before. That was the moment the questions started bubbling through: why do we know so little about the spices we use? Why are there so few choices in variety? How can it be that we cannot be buy more flavourful spices anywhere?
Through volunteer work at a coffee specialist I first encountered the concept of direct-trade. In this concept the number of steps in the supply chain will be drastically decreased. The anonymity between farmers and buyers will dissolve. The farmer will keep ownership, because the products are sold under their own brand name. Moreover, the limited number of steps in the supply chain will ensure less money will disappear in the pockets of middlemen who add no value. Moreover, it will be easier to respond to specific wishes of customers in relation to flavour, appearance and sustainability. In short, direct-trade will contribute to a more equal relation between buyers and farmers, which enables them to support each other in their businesses.
I’m convinced that when the concept of direct-trade is properly executed it will have a positive impact in spice-producing countries, economically as well as on the environment. A proper instrument to measure impact will be essential for the development of direct-trade. It will also help to break with the negative perception that exists between the developed and developing countries, which is fed by imbalanced economic relations. Initiatives that apply direct-trade are rapidly growing in the field of coffee, tea and cacao, but in relation to spice there is little activity.
So, I thought F*CK IT. I will just give it a go.
We are now one year and a traineeship social entrepreneurship later. I read a trillion (almost) books on spices, and my spices cabinet is running over with all kinds of cinnamon, curcuma, peppers and cumin. I won’t call myself a specialist yet (the more you know, the more you know what you don’t know), but a passion is born. My ultimate dream is the development of an established segment of high-quality spices, guided by a thought through grading system. I hope that these trade norms will eventually be the new normal, so that I won’t have to call my business a ‘social enterprise’ anymore.
Read more about the first step of this dream and how you can join.