• Inter-Nation Cultural Foundation

  • Visit Guayakí website for more information.
  • The Guayaki Story

    Inter Nation Cultural Foundation, Guayaki Yerba Mate, and Change For Balance Productions have teamed up to create a documentary on the preservation of indigenous peoples and the restoration of our precious Rain Forest through the cultivation of a sacred plant called Yerba Mate.

    Guayaki Yerba Mate's dedication to making this world a better place is both inspiring and innovative. The Guyaki mission is to provide over 1,000 living wage jobs and restore 200,000 acres of Rain Forest by 2020 through their "Market Driven Restoration" business model.

    Change For Balance Productions saw an opportunity to create a documentary that would not only be a great story but also inspire others to include philanthropy in their business model. CFBP's goal is to:
    • Create a documentary that tells "The Guayaki Story" showing how one group of individuals can make a profound difference on this planet.
    • Inspire others to get involved both locally and globally. Taking responsibility and action in making this world a better place.
    • Raise awareness for conscious sustainable business practices.
    • Create a Perpetual Endowment Trust that will serve as a financial resource for indigenous peoples all over the planet.

    Guayaki Yerba Mate has a very unique story. One that is best told by co-founder, David Karr.

    Meet the Guayaki Team

    In 1996, Guayaki was seeded in the central coast of California by two university buddies; Alex Pryor from Buenos Aires, Argentina and David Karr from Northern California. As good friends and passionate mate drinkers, David and Alex set out to share the yerba mate plant with the world recognizing people were in need of a nourishing source of energy and a healthy dose of optimism. As good fortune would have it, co–founders Alex and David were swiftly joined by three other pioneering seeds to round out the original founding group: don Miguel aka the "journeyman", Steven Karr aka the "shape shifter" and Christopher Mann aka "chairman of the gourd". These five ambitious seedlings aka the "semillas" channeled their activist mentality into the creation of a new restorative business model, calling consumers to action by voting with their dollars.

    The Semillas rooted themselves in the fertile grounds of San Luis Obispo, CA, nestled comfortably between Santa Barbara and Big Sur. The pulsing coastline riddled with good surf breaks provided the perfect backdrop for many extended mate gourd sessions while combing the coastline looking for surf. As passionate lifestylers, the Semillas group was intimately committed to a holistic lifestyle and business practices which were philosophically aligned with their love for nature, adventure and spirit.

    In a blend of the West coast pioneer spirit and Argentine hospitality, the inspired band of Semillas took to the road to share mate with all those who would listen. Headquartered in the central coast, hours from any major city, road warriorship became our destiny. Traveling in a mix of VW vans, pickups, and RV's, David, Steven and don Miguel took the wheel in the one hand and mate in the other to all four corners of United States. With a strong brew of mate, good tunes, flowers and genuine hospitality, the Semillas encouraged keen North Americans to develop a relationship with the yerba mate plant.

    Since the inception of Guayaki, our passion has been fueled by mate grown in the rainforest. We feel strongly that the best mate would naturally grow in its natural habitat. And while it certainly does require more expertise, effort, and man power, we know it's worth it. Even though the mate trees grow slower and yield less, we understand that all good things take time and more isn't necessarily better. Best of all, we think rainforest grown mate has the most flavor complexity, nourishing properties and balancing energy. Hey, that's why we drink mate after all. However most importantly, we are committed to sourcing mate responsibly. For Guayaki, our responsibility includes our commitment to an intact biodiverse ecosystem, socially just working conditions and just plain human dignity.

    Our team of six committed, passionate people in our GLAD division (Guayaki Latin American division) are led by native Argentine and co–founder Alex Pryor. We know first hand what is going on with our supply projects. Unlike most, we do not rely on brokers or importers. Instead, we carefully choose our supply partners and develop our relationships over time based upon mutual respect and collaboration.

    Today, Guayaki has grower partners in all three yerba mate producing countries: Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Our relationships span from small growers, to cooperatives, and to indigenous communities, like the Ache Guayaki in Paraguay. We provide technical assistance to all our partners so they are successful in delivering certified organic, rainforest grown mate. And every project has a nursery filled with native species and hardwoods so we can fulfill our reforestation promise together. We are very fortunate to have supply partners who subscribe to our mission of Market Driven Restoration.

    We are very honored to work directly with the Ache Guayaki people in a revolutionary project — one of the first indigenously run, sustainable preserves. This project is an inspiration for other indigenous communities as they see the Ache Guayaki flourish. As we come together to create the sacred yerba mate beverage, we find a common ground of respect and collaboration and a shared pride knowing that we are part of something revolutionary. Thanks to Kim and Magdalena Hill, American anthropologists, who lived within the community over the past 27 years, we have cultivated a close relationship with the Aché. The Kue Tuvy Preserve borders the 150,000 acre Mbaracayu Biosphere Preserve. The Kue Tuvy Preserve sustains 35 families of indigenous Ache Guayaki people and is protecting 12,500 acres of Interior Atlantic Forest. The Ache Guayaki are the last hunters and gatherers remaining in the Atlantic Forest. This particular community believes in not cutting the forest down and is motivated to discover new alternative sources of income in order to keep the forest intact. We are a part of an economic alternative for the Ache Guayaki community by offering a market for sustainable management practices and certified organic products. In June of 2009, the Aché harvested their first yerba mate crop which is now for sale thru Guayaki. Guayaki SRP, Inc. and the Kuetuvy Ache Guayaki community are now working together with the Ache chief, Margarita, to manage their first mate reforestation project. Guayaki has a vested interest in the medium to long range goals for the community to develop their own income without damaging their resources. We have an agreement to cultivate 40 acres of shade mate and then purchase the mate thus generating income for the community. Today, we are rejoicing in a rich brew of yerba mate from those trees. Guayaki is one of the key elements in the long-term sustainability of this project.

    Not only do we regularly pay 2–3 times the market price for our mate, but we are very proud to be the only Fair Trade certified yerba mate company in the world.

    The Guayaki Story is one that can and should be paralleled in the modern business world. By implementing business practices that focus on sustainability, environmental consciousness, and respect for the indigenous world Guayaki Yerba Mate is on the cutting edge of the green movement and quickly becoming one of the most beloved tea/energy drinks on the planet.

    If you feel compelled to donate to this project or simply to inquire about the progress of all things Guayaki Yerba Mate and Change for Balance related please contact us at .