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20-year-old chef wins a U. N. environmental award for helping cacao farmers

Chef Louise Mabulo has been named by the United Nations Environment Programme a "Young Champion of the Earth."

BY RSVP September 25,2019

The "Young Champions of the Earth" award recognizes seven young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 for their ideas on environmental change. Awardees receive seed funding, mentoring, and communications support for their projects.

According to a press release on the United Nations Environment Programme's website, Louise is the founder of the Cacao Project and the Culinary Lounge, a farm-to-table kitchen studio. With the Culinary Lounge, Louise promotes homegrown food with high-quality ingredients sourced from local farmers.

In the aftermath of the 2016 Typhoon Nina which devastated her hometown in Bicol, Louise noticed that a lot of cacao trees remained intact. Under the Cacao Project, Louise helped train more than 200 farmers using agroforestry techniques to plant over 70,000 climate-resilient cacao trees in over 70 hectares of land. 

A former Junior Master Chef finalist, Mabulo also established Culinary Lounge, a by-reservation kitchen lounge that sources high-value ingredients from local farmers and encourages home-grown food.