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Last Forest Enterprises: An Organization with True Inspirational Values

In the current era, the continuous use of chemicals & toxic elements, resulting in low-quality food, health, and personal care products with a harmful impact on human health, has steered people to find an alternative solution that is natural and healthy. Due to this, organic products are witnessing great demand globally, and the scenario is no different in India. The organic products market in India has been growing at a CAGR of 25 percent and is expected to touch Rs.12,000 crore by 2020 from the current market size of Rs.4,000 crore, according to a report produced by ASSOCHAM.

Contributing to this growth while offering organic products of world-class quality to the global market is Last Forest Enterprises a Kotagiri based wild forest produce and an organic farming company. Under the headship of Mathew John…

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10 experiences to have in the Nilgiris

With temperatures cooling and mist in the air, the hills are calling your name. If you’re wondering which spot in India you should explore for a quick getaway, look no further.

A unique ecosystem that starts in Tamil Nadu and spills into Karnataka and Kerala, the Nilgiri biosphere includes the Nilgiri plateau and its surrounding area that extends over 5,000 sqkms. At a distance of roughly 270kms from Bengaluru and 550kms from Chennai and home to a rich biodiversity, cuisine, local initiatives, cultural and boutique experiences, it is a rewarding getaway with forests that are splendid through the year and come alive during the monsoons…

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       16 sustainable gifting ideas for Diwali

Gone are the days when a box of sweets did the job, for everyone is now mindful of their health and weight. Apart from a tribe of those tracking what they eat, is a growing community of people who are ecologically conscious and mindful of the brands they endorse and purchase. Here are some sustainable Diwali gifting ideas that will help you navigate the complexity that is gifting in 2020.

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Last Forest: Balancing Business And Conservation In The Nilgiris

The Blue Mountains are a jewel in the crown of the Western Ghats. They are home to a wealth of endemic floral species and to many indigenous tribal communities including the Irulas, the Kattunayakas, the Todas and the Cholanaikas - pastoralists, hunter gatherers and shifting cultivators who are more or less completely dependent on the natural resources available within the reserve.

Traditionally, wild foods such as fruits, roots, leaves, tubers, mushrooms and small wildlife foraged from the forest lent tribal diets a complex diversity. Today with large sections of the region under threat from plantation agriculture, infrastructure projects and degrading forest quality, the sources of these wild foods are shrinking...

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Last Forest Enterprises is a marketing initiative of Keystone Foundation – it aims to spread the message of: small indigenous farmers and gatherers, value added organic produce, biodiversity and food security, indigenous knowledge, traditions and crafts, sustainable harvesting & farming methods, local employment & markets and Fair Trade principles.

Last Forest is a brand that represents organic and forest based products brought out in collaboration with the indigenous communities of the Nilgiris. The products boast of age old methods of gathering and preserving with modern cottage industry processes to provide the widest range of pure and authentic natural products...

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The Birds and the Bees: Basic Lessons from a Social Enterprise

Talking to Mathew John, managing director of Last Forest Enterprises (LFE) can be a bit like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie: there are multiple intersecting storylines that he weaves in and out of effortlessly.

Sitting in his well-ventilated office, he talks about the issue of the latest standards for honey from FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) that does not include honey with more than 20% moisture in it. “It’s ridiculous,” he says, transitioning from the story of how he and his friends got interested in honey, “this is a tropical country and of course our moisture content will be more.” Leapfrogging on to other pieces of his work, the conversation encompasses...

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The Park Chennai teams up with Last Forest and Slow Food Nilgiris for a slow food festival

Slow food has a reputation for meals that take a tedious four hours and then some. Deep pockets of flavour, yes. But doable on the daily? Probably not. Six ‘O’ One at The Park Chennai gives us an instant reframe to this notion with their new festival — Go With The Slow. This is in association with Last Forest and Slow Food Nilgiris. Here ingredients are sourced from, well, the original source — the forest. Mise en place is at a minimum “because ingredients need to be at their freshest,” executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar stresses. And cooking utensils for a handful of dishes like the Chicken Biryani and Lamb Nilgiris Khorma will be in earthen cookware.

We got to experience a special degustation menu with ingredients sourced from Last Forest — a market intermediary for wild forest produce that is harvested by indigenous communities. Some of these ingredients…

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Choosing Diwali gifts has become a task these days.When I was growing up inChennai, it was a simple process. On Diwali morning, my brother and I would take plates of home-made sweets and savouries to neighbours after the traditional oil bath.Our neighbourhood “maamis” would return the favour with home-made snacksthat we devoured. That was it. Today, I sit in my apartment in Bengaluru with a veritable pie-chart of gifts:what to give to neighbours, friends, relatives, business associates, et al. So it begins, this competitive gifting. Boxes arrive with macaroons and Marconaalmonds. Gift hampers filled with olives, jams and other food items that have as little to do with Diwali as an Italian olivepress...

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Organic Lip Balm: Beeswax Lip Balms From Last Forest Are The Bee's Knees

Beeswax is a valuable byproduct of honey harvesting. It forms a natural base for various balms and ointments, and helps to seal and protect the skin. Unlike petroleum-based products, which harm more than nurture, beeswax has a wonderful nourishing effect on our skin, as it possesses natural moisturising properties.
br>The rich beeswax used in Last Forest lip balms comes from the indigenous honey bee, Apis dorsata, commonly known as the Giant Indian Rock Bee. The wax is processed in a manner that its natural oils are not lost.

Organic olive or organic coconut oil is blended with the beeswax and natural extracts to enhance the flavour and bind the balm together naturally...

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The Sweet Taste Of Success The Last Forest Story

A small taluk in the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu produces 20 tonnes of forest honey a year. Kotagiri is home to social enterprise, Last Forest, which makes all things bee-related, with honey as its flagship product.
The company impacts 6,500 indigenous persons across 150 villages.

Last Forest has been incubated by a civil society organisation, Keystone Foundation, which commenced operations25 years ago. Located in the pristine forest ranges of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Keystone works with the indigenous communities residing in the area to provide them with livelihoods, ensure their wellbeing, and impart training on sustainable harvesting and organic agriculture...

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Organic products You Can Trust

Confused about where to head for organic foods and products? Below are a few legit options...

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Last Forest Enterprises — Providing a marketing platform for organic and fair-trade products

The enterprise focuses on developing the market for untapped and under-valued sectors. 68 organic, fair trade or indigenous products are procured, quality-checked and branded by the enterprise from eight production clusters and sold at three enterprise-operated retail shops, supplied to retail dealers or marketed and sold on e-commerce portals.

The marketing platform focuses on quality control, fair trade, sustainable harvesting and integration with small-holder producers, farmers, forest-dwellers and the indigenous community. Products include honey, timber products, garments, organic tea and handicrafts...

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Presenting: The Better India’s Best of 2020 Noteworthy Businesses

Located in the heart of the Nilgiri mountains, Last Forest Enterprise is an intermediary platform to market forest produce sourced by indigenous communities since 2010. Today, with stores in Coonoor, Kotagiri and Ooty, its founders Mathew John, Pratim Roy, and Snehlata Nath, say there was “a 200% increase in revenues from e-commerce and a 5000% increase in exports this year”.

Meet the Honey Hunters of the Nilgiris – the Men Who Risk Their Lives for Your Sweet Jar of Honey

The sun is just peeking over the Southern hills known as the Nilgiris – The Blue Mountains – because of the Rayleigh Scattering Effect phenomenon, where tiny electrons are oscillated by sunlight, making the hills appear blue before our eyes. Plus, these mountains are blanketed by the blue Strobilanthes flower, and looming clouds often bathe the hills in a blue smoky haze. From a distance, the sun illuminates the faint blue faces of these hills. Yet today, atop the mountain and canopied under the umbrella of the Shola forests, the sight is green.

He rises early. He gathers with his team, the other honey hunters—those who fulfill their ancient duty and forest stewardship. But it is not time to move. Not yet. They must sit with the village priest...

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This Awesome Honey Doesn’t Harm the Bees & Helps Empower Thousands of Tribals!

38-year-old Maheshwari is a former daily wage labourer in the tea estates of Kottagiri, in the Nilgiri District. While tea plantations look inviting during a holiday, there is no vacation for labourers like her. They toil on the deceptively beautiful but treacherous terrain of the estates. While the opportunities for labour are many, their wages are uncertain. For all the hard work she put in, Maheshwari earned just Rs 60 per day.

So after many years of this instability, when the opportunity for a steady income came her way, she was excited and weary. Maheshwari joined Last Forest Enterprise, a company that believes in shifting power to the producers. Since then, things have changed…

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Slow food festival held in Kotagiri

The “Terra Madre” slow food festival was organised on the Keystone Foundation campus in Kotagiri on Friday.

The festival, which featured hundreds of participants from tribal communities across the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, was conducted to highlight the importance of local cuisines and locally-sourced produced food and the roles they play in reducing our carbon footprints.

Aritra Bose, head of communications, Last Forest and manager of ‘Place to Bee’ here, said that the slow food movement, which was born in Italy in 1996, was initially a reaction to the growth of fast food...

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Last Forest- Kotagiri

Supporting indigenous communities while giving you the right kind of products.

The blue mountains are a visual treat and a preferred holiday destination. But beyond that, they are also home to many indigenous communities and a treasure trove of flora and fauna. It has been reported that there are about 2700 plant species in this region which are of medicinal value. Last Forest, a social enterprise from this massif, incubated by the Keystone Foundation brings you the best of the blue mountains while ensuring a better life for the communities within.

From wild honey to organic jaggery to exotic products like ‘Organic Amla Cider Vinegar,’ Last Forest gives you a range of environment-friendly options to choose from. The enterprise also works with farmers, beekeepers, honey hunters and local artisans giving them sustainable incomes and better market opportunities. The enterprise reinvests 30% of the profits earned in community development related projects…

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Last Forest - A case study on profit

Last Forest is a social enterprise in India by Keystone Foundation, a not for profit civil society organisation. All profits are reinvested in the business (with a focus on growing social impact), invested into projects (including through the parent foundation) or distributed among producers and staff. With sales of over €0.4 million, they are based in Kotagiri in the heart of Nilgiri mountains.

They focus on market opportunities for producer groups and communities that are working on forest and agriculture produce which are natural, wild and local. Last Forest procures from over 45 groups across the country and sell through over 100 outlets including three retail shops in the Nilgiris...

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Last Forest is providing livelihood to over 6,500 tribals in remote Nilgiris

Nestled in the heart of the gorgeous mountains of Nilgiris, Kotagiri is located near Ooty and Coonoor, popular hill stations in Tamil Nadu. On the drive to Kotagiri, one can see the tea plantations scattered all over.

Kotagiri, which falls under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and also houses a rich reserve of natural resources. It is also home to different tribal groups like the Todas, Kotas, Irullas, Kurumbas, Paniyas, Adiyans, Edanadan Chettis, Cholanaickens, who are native to the region. A perfect example of cultural diversity...

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