Vetiver Solutions began in Minnesota in 2016 and is composed of a team of passionate individuals with a vision of a better world.
In 2013, CEO Jesse Abelson traveled to Haiti for the first time to volunteer at a hospital in Port-Au-Prince. During that week, he witnessed countless deaths and illnesses as a direct result of extreme poverty and malnutrition, which continues to plague Haiti. Returning home to finish his studies at the University of Minnesota, he was determined to find long-term solutions for critical problems in Haiti that were leading to the human suffering he had observed.
The opportunity to make a difference arose when Jesse’s friend, Leeore, invited him to take a Grand Challenge course offered at the University of Minnesota. In the course, they met Dalton, who would become the Chief Financial Officer of Vetiver Solutions. With the mutual goal of creating a self-sustaining business that was both profitable and impactful, the team launched the original plans for Vetiver Solutions in 2016.
By March 2017, Vetiver Solutions was awarded its first funding through the University of Minnesota to implement its pilot project— a business that turned vetiver grass into a cash crop, while simultaneously improving farm fields and roads in rural Haiti and also providing Haitian farmers with a new source of income. This support from the Acara Institute and later the Institute on the Environment allowed the team to make two more trips to Moreau, Haiti for research and development of vetiver fiber products.
In spring of 2018, Vetiver Solutions participated in the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge, a national competition for over 150 student-owned businesses sponsored by the University of St. Thomas and Best Buy founder Dick Schulze. Over the course of the three day competition, Vetiver Solutions won the Social Impact prize and Fourth Place overall and $25,000 in cash prizes. This incredible award allowed Vetiver Solutions to officially launch as a public benefit corporation in Minnesota, and has allowed the company to focus on product development, environmental impact, and our social impact model rather than fundraising.
Vetiver Solutions is the first company in the world to process vetiver fibers in an innovative way allowing for finished goods using the fibers. Working closely with the community in Moreau, we ensure the vetiver fiber products meet their needs, while gaining their feedback every step of the way. Dr. Jeff Losier, a resident from Moreau that has advocated for the community internationally, has been a key partner and close friend every step of the journey.
During one of our recent trips to the village in January 2019, our partners proposed another way to grow our business and support their sustainable farming efforts — bee products. The Farmer’s Association in Moreau is a cooperative group that works together to provide for the community and innovate solutions for the environmental and economic challenges they face. The head of the Farmer’s Association, Citadel, began raising bee populations this year to supplement his income and improve the health of his crops. He has partnered with us to sell the honey and beeswax from his hives in the U.S., to invest in his farming efforts and increase income for the Farmer’s Association.
This brings us to today — Vetiver Solutions is excited to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community in rural Haiti. We incorporate vetiver, honey, and beeswax into many different types of products, continually investing in sustainable farming that improves soil health and reduces the effects of deforestation.
Mission and Vision
Our mission is to incentivize communities to develop sustainable agricultural practices by investing in natural products that protect the environment. Our vision is to grow a poverty-free Haiti.
Our partner farmers are our priority. Our operation focuses not only on providing value to our partners, but on making sure all are treated with equity and respect. This includes the earth with which we work: our environmental impact is critical to our business model.
We add value to our partner communities by offering monetary investments and financial stability that allow farmers the economic freedom to practice sustainable agriculture. We do not tell farmers what to do or how to spend their money – we believe firmly in empowering with economic autonomy.
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Jesse co-founded Vetiver Solutions after traveling to Haiti on multiple occasions as an EMT. He is currently a medical student at the University of Minnesota.
Chief Science Officer
Elizabeth has a degree in Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Minnesota. She has worked on sustainable agriculture everywhere from rural Indiana to Eastern Africa.
Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder
Leeore graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Genetics. She is currently a medical student at the University of Missouri.
Chief Marketing Officer
Brie graduated from the Carlson School of Management in 2019. She comes from a long line of Midwestern farmers and is passionate about sustainability and science communications.
Dr. Jeff Losier
Dr. Losier was born in the village of Moreau and serves as our in-country coordinator. He received his medical degree from the Dominican Republic in 2012, returning to Moreau to found his own non-profit, MIJABA. Dr. Losier is an invaluable member of our team and a dear friend.
Becca graduated from the Carlson School of Management with degrees in both marketing and supply chain/operations management.
Board Member and Co-Founder
Dalton co-founded Vetiver Solutions. He has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing a masters’ degree in data science.
Measurement & Evaluation Specialist
Makayla is a graduate of Macalester College and is passionate about the role of data in global development work.
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If you have any comments or questions, we'd love to speak with you. Please don't hesitate to reach out!