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Mar 12, 2019 • By

Supporting women, one vanilla bean at a time

Before you take your next bite of our sweet, creamy Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, we invite you to think about who grows the vanilla for this delicious treat, and how you are supporting that farmer’s livelihood.

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The vanilla in your ice cream may have been grown by a woman in Madagascar, according to Positive Planet. The tiny island produces more than 80 percent of the world’s vanilla.

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General Mills uses real vanilla grown in the Sava region of Madagascar as the primary source of the premium vanilla used in our Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

Because we care about the people who grow vanilla for our products, we invest in Positive Planet, an organization that supports smallholder farming communities through programs to empower farmers (many of whom are female), improve farming practices, establish farmer cooperatives and improve food and nutrition security.

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Learn more about the program works, in this video.

This partnership builds on our company’s century-long history of working closely with farmers around the world to promote sustainable agriculture, and to reach our commitment to sustainably source all vanilla used in our products by 2020.

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“Through our work with Positive Planet, hundreds more female farmers are able to access programs that help them improve their agricultural practices, increase their farm profits and engage in peer savings and lending,” says Nicola Dixon, associate director of the General Mills Foundation. “These community program investments not only enhance the capacity, resiliency and well-being of smallholder farmers and their families, but also help to ensure that high quality vanilla can continue to be sustainably produced by these communities for many years to come.”

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“Thanks to General Mills, we have been able to address the needs of women in vanilla producing communities in northern Madagascar,” says Agnes Hiere, Indian Ocean regional director, Positive Planet. “Through the savings groups that Positive Planet established, women have the ability to have money during the lean season. Some farmers have been able to diversify their crops, and grow produce other than vanilla.”

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Hiere adds that the partnership between General Mills and Positive Planet was developed with respect to the habits and lifestyles of the communities they are serving, and that it has made an instrumental difference in the living conditions of the smallholder farmers.

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