What started as a personal journey for Jacqueline Hansen, travelling around the world to find her roots, has now turned out to be the foundation for this unique, natural and nutritious product, while together we support local communities in The Philippines.
I was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, with a Filipina mom and a danish dad who passed away when I was 12 years old. Being my mom’s only child, we often spent time with my Filipina aunties, uncles and cousins on the other side of town. Having so many first and second cousins as playmates was amazing, but I still felt i like i didn’t quite fit in as I was the whitest in the clan (I loved their dark excotic look) and i couldn’t really speak my heritage Filipino language (tagalog).
“When I was around 3-4 years old, my lola (grandma) brought me back to her province, Leyte, Philippines and I remember loving the playing on the beach with huge waves and eating fresh fish and coconuts.”
Despite my amazing experience, it would take years before I would return. I have later thought about that this ‘gap’ has given me the motivation to really dig into my identity and my roots and plays a major role for trying to bridge my two worlds, The Philippines and Denmark.
I didn’t return before the age of 17 on a 3 week vacation with my mom and I completely feel in love with the Philippine islands. After several years of visiting the Philippines and relatives on holidays, I decided to live in Manila for 6 months for my first internship with Amnesty International.
One day, taking a walk in a fairly middle class area of Quezon city, Metro Manila, i saw small kids from the slum area, which was just a few 100m away. They were having a bath in the gutter, looking happy, yet clearly malnourished. I was shocked that a few steps away, a beautiful avocado tree had plenty of ready-to-eat avocados. But no one touched it. I couldn’t figure out if this was because they don’t eat many avocados in the city or didn’t want to take because it was private property. Nevertheless it was here I first started to wonder why a country so full of natural ressources, excotic fruits and vegetables, struggles with epidemic poverty and malnutrition.
Having an increased interested in Entrepreneurship, led me to study Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship master at Copenhagen Business School. And it was here I met my Co-founder and best friend, Daniel Alonso.
One cold, dark, January morning in class, I started to pay attention when a professor talked about poverty reduction through entrepreneurship and I was introduced to Social Entrepreneurship, which then became the core of my education and I knew I wanted to become a Social Entrepreneur myself.
The turning point came when the super typhoon hit the Philippines in 2013 and it affected over 10 million people – the worst affected province was Tacloban, Leyte where my grandparents are from. Daniel, whom I’d already shared many ideas and projects with, was in Manila at the time and travelled down to the area. What he saw was an infinite landscape of destroyed coconut trees. Coconuts are the local farmers’ main source of income and it can take up to 8 years to grow a tree to harvest. However, he saw the Moringa tree (locally known as Malunggay) standing strong in the middle of the devastation and we learned:
“The Moringa tree is a fast-growing crop, drought-resistant, with highly nutritious leaves and because it is a multipurpose tree, we learned of its huge potential for creating sustainable livelihoods.”
Since Daniel and I shared a growing interest in natural healthy foods, sustainability and the Philippines, we founded Roots Food to provide the modern consumer with easy and nutritious products that boost your health, mind and spirit, while creating a sustainable and empowering solution for the local communities in the Philippines.
Ultimately, it’s all about spreading more happiness in the world, by sharing stories that are Rooted in Goodness. We call this our
“Eat Happy, Be Happy” philosophy and we hope you’ll join us in our adventure to re-green the world!