The Yakum Foundation, with its mainseat in London, was founded in 2018 by Nick Ovenden, a British biologist and educator, inspired by the idea of rainforest regeneration with local people as a solution to climate change. His brother James, an ecologist, suggested working with indigenous people in Ecuador.
He left his job in education and travelled around the Amazon to learn from local communities about deforestation and loss of indigenous culture. A Shuar community heard about their idea of reforestation with Amazon food plants. After a meeting they agreed that building a small tree nursery was a good place to start.
The nursery in Las Palmas was a great success, so this became the starting point for future projects. Over the next six months, 50,000 seeds of over 100 useful Amazon plant species were collected and planted in 15 pilot tree nurseries in 10 communities. The Yakum Foundation is now training up local experts in agroforestry so the project can expand organically and independently within the indigenous communities of Ecuador under their own direction.