Acacia trees encroaching on grassland in Namibia are being sustainably harvested to make high quality charcoal.
Namibia, on Arica's south west coast, is home to the world's oldest desert, the highest sand dunes, the world's second largest canyon and the famed Etosha National Park. There are also a huge number of acacia trees.
Enter The Good Charcoal Company - which is certainly living up to its name. Launched in 2020 by Ben Jablonski and Rob Silverman, the company's mission is to create chemical-free charcoal, help Americans experiencing food insecurity, support farmers in Namibia, and restore grassland for the benefit of wildlife. It's certainly a win win scenario.
The charcoal is derived from acacia (which is denser than oak or hickory) and is a high quality product as it burns cleaner, hotter, and longer - so not as much needs to be used. In Namibia, acacia trees are encroaching on open grassland, which is bad for people and the cheetahs who need the grassland to be clear for hunting.
Working with The Good Charcoal Company, dozens of farmers are harvesting the acacia, allowing them to make a living while protecting the grassland. People in the United States are also benefiting, as the company partners with local community groups to host free barbecues once a week for people in need or living in food deserts; so far, the company has provided more than 33,000 meals in several states, including Texas, Georgia, New York, and Tennessee.