Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak and Pornthida “Palmmy” Wong are cofounders of Jasberry, an organic superfood rice maker that transforms lives by solving farmer poverty. The brand works with smallholder farmers in Thailand to offer an alternative farming approach that seeks to address the root causes of poverty for these populations and enable them to succeed.
“Ultimately it comes back to understanding that farming is not a job, it’s a life for these people. They have been farmers for generations. They farm first to feed their family, then what’s left over they sell,” said Dejkraisak. “When you look at the cycle of deep poverty. You start to see that it’s the system that’s designed to keep them poor, no matter where you look: ingrained in how they get the fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides.”
Jasberry works to empower these farmers and take back control of their farms, providing education on fertilizer, certification training, and the jasberry rice seed. In addition to providing economic freedom to these farmers, it also puts these farms on track to become more sustainable, creating a win-win “future where food the farmers produce is good for them, the consumer, and the planet,” shared Dejkraisak.
The brand is currently stocked at Whole Foods Market, a goal for their entry into the domestic marketplace because of the retailer’s emphasis on sustainable, equitable agricultural practices.
“My biggest dream for the past 10 to 12 years we’ve been on this journey is to see our products on Whole Foods shelves. That is happening right now, and all the products you see came from us thinking about what kind of product we want to see, what we want to consume, and what we want our loved ones to eat,” said Wong.
Wong is excited by the U.S. market’s interest in sustainable practices.
“Consumers and brand owners [In the U.S.] are aware of regenerative agriculture. For me, that’s exciting, especially coming from a country [Thailand] that considers farming one of the least ‘sexy’ types of businesses,” she said. “It’s exciting to see that [shift] happening on the other side of the world.”
Dejkraisak emphasized their desire to be stewards of regenerative agricultural practices, adding that they would like to be the “Patagonia of food” wherein they disrupt a category by enabling positive social, economic, and environmental change. They hope to continue with the mission and disrupt other categories in the future.
A word of advice: “As a consumer, you have more power than you think to make a difference. In our marketing we join the hand of a farmer with that of a consumer to highlight that relationship,” said Dejkraisak.