Frederick Schilling: Holding It Down for Smallholder Farmers at Big Tree Farms [Ep. 88]

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If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview

Frederick Schilling founded Dagoba Organic Chocolate in 2001 and sold to The Hershey Company in 2006. He currently serves as partner/co-ceo of Big Tree Farms, a sustainable/organic supply chain company based in Indonesia. They develop supply chains for value added exotic and premium commodities/ingredients that are sold into the international organic/natural/specialty markets.


Big Tree Farms’ products include: coconut palm sugar, cacao/chocolate, coconut water concentrate, exotic peppercorns, Balinese sea salt, exotic & rare honeys, cashews, moringa and other ingredients for the raw food market. In 2007, he co-founded AMMA, with Diego Badaro and Luiza Olivetto, a vertically integrated artisan chocolate company located in Salvador, Brazil; the first premium artisan chocolate company in Brazil that is fully integrated from farm to finished product. While primarily focused on the South American market, the specialty chocolate products will be available to the international market. AMMA Chocolate was voted “Product of the Year” by O Estado Sao Paulo, in Brazil, for 2010 and have won numerous awards since then.

Frederick was founder/CEO of Big Tree Climate Fund, which he has since decommissioned during the recession of 2008.  BTCF was a carbon sequestration project developer and marketer of Fair Carbon™; holistic carbon credits that balance social & environmental aspects of carbon market project development.  The projects that BTCF developed generated greenhouse gas emission reduction credits, which we sold into the voluntary emission offset market in the US, Europe, Indonesia and Brazil, to businesses or individuals. The revenue generated from the selling of these credits was used to further the development of other projects, while 10% was given to the Big Tree Community Fund, which went to the communities in the zones where our projects existed.


Some highlights from Kevin’s interview with Frederick include:

  • Overcoming perception of business as the root of all evil to realizing it can be used as a force for good

  • The rippling beneficial impact of empowering women through supply stream decisions

  • Big Tree Farm’s voluntary choice to steer clear of harmful agrochemicals prioritize their environmental and social mission along with their economic goals

  • How Frederick finds a sense of fun in viewing business as a puzzle










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Kevin Bayuk works at the intersection of ecology and economy where permaculture design meets next economy organizations intent on meeting human needs while enhancing the conditions conducive to all life. He is a co-founder and  partner with LIFT Economy, the Senior Financial Fellow at Project Drawdown and a founding partner of the Urban Permaculture Institute.  LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinbayuk or email him