Regenerative agriculture, Part III

Taking natural and organic cosmetic ingredients to the next level

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

One of the main focuses of the Familia Luna Farms is the production of botanicals and essential oils, many of which can be used for cosmetics and personal care ingredients.

Indeed, one of the major investments in the farm’s current business plan is a to enhance its onsite biorefinery capabilities in an effort to up essential oil distillation, as well as juicing, drying and pressing of oils.

Currently the farm is producing more than 300 types of plants, many of which could become an important part in the botanical extracts ambitions for the project.

Biorefinery blueprint for project
Biorefinery blueprint for project

Why regeneratively sourced ingredients count

“In view of the vast variety of plants being grown, the scope for our essential oils and botanical extracts is enormous,”​ said Tom Newmark, founder of Finca Luna Nueva, one of four farms in the Familia Luna Farms stable.

“We want consumers to support regeneratively sourced ingredients,”​ Tom then went on to explain when asked about the project's ambitions to engage with the cosmetics and personal care industry.

“The ingredients that sustain and enhance their personal lives should also sustain and enhance their planetary home. We want to see billions of hectares enrolled in regenerative agricultures as that term is in the process of being defined by the soil carbon initiative of the Carbon Underground.

“We want to stimulate millions of farmers and ranchers to adopt these practices. We don’t expect this to be linked to the organic movement – it has life of its own, and we need to create momentum that sweeps across the planet.”

Building on an expansive portfolio of extracts

As well as the two extracts discussed in the video - Lippia Alba, an extract that can be used as for skin toner formulations, and Annatto, an extract that can be used as red color for lipsticks - the list of extracts also includes Cacao, Vanilla, Allspice, Tumeric, Ginger, Galangal, to mention just a few.

“Lippia Alba is a species of flowering plant of the verbena family is native to southern Texas, Central and South America,​” explained Finca Luna Nueva founder, Steven Farrell.

Lippia Alba - courtesy of Wikipedia
Lippia Alba - courtesy of Wikipedia

“This is one of the of ten varietal of the plant and is known to be high in lemon oil, giving it antimicrobial properties that can help soothe and calm the skin.  Indeed it has been sourced by a leading skin care brand for a tonic product that is sold in the United States.”

“We were a part of the process that started this. It spread out to a group of small farmers who have a co-operative project that grows and supplies to this company in the United States.”

Lipstick color, the natural way

The farm is also hoping to shine a new light on a natural ingredient that has been used by women to put color on their lips for hundreds of years. 

“This is the first source of lipstick, from more than 100 years ago, derived from the Annatto, which is also a food coloring,”​ said Tom, who demonstrates the extract's application in the video with undisguised enthusiasm.

“Annatto is an orange-red colouring that is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. The color is derived from various carotenoild pigments, specifically bixin and norbixin, that is found in the reddish waxy coating of the seeds.

“The use of this for lipstick went out of favour, but now it’s coming back as part of the big growth in natural cosmetic products.”

**Watch out for Parts I and II in this series. Published over the last couple of day, Part I looks at the vision for regenerative farming and the advantages for botanical crops​, while Part II will look at how crucial soil health is to regenerative farming​.** 

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