2 plane rides, 1 train adventure, a bus ride and 6 hours waiting in an airport later, ZENKO’s founders arrive in Bihar, India.
In an interview with our passionate founder Wouter Duyck, we dove deep into the culture and spirit of Bihar to learn more about the source of ZENKO’s powerful water lily seeds. From ZENKO’s founders’ first visit in Bihar, they could immediately tell it was not like the rest of India. Our founders agreed that the most outstanding part of Bihar India was undoubtedly the passion with which everyone was committed to their work and their purpose. While in other parts of India, people looked at them curious and confused by their presence as foreigners, in Bihar, no one questioned why they were there. On the contrary, everyone was too engaged with their work to notice they were passing by.
When asked for help, the locals in Bihar were incredibly kind and generous with their time and knowledge. Whether they could understand the requests or not, they always made an effort to provide a helpful answer, and put our founders on the right path to determine the answer they were seeking.
As soon as any of the locals were introduced to ZENKO’s mission to create a sustainable seed to snack practice in Bihar, where Makhana would be exposed to and celebrated all over the world, they immediately invited ZENKO’s founders in to their homes to hear more. They offered whatever they had to offer - milk and tea, cookies, makhana. Their goal was to create an environment of comfort in their home, for everyone.
Inspired by the honest spirit and generosity of the locals in Bihar, ZENKO is trying to reflect that attitude outwards by sharing the treasure of Bihar - Makhana or Water Lily Seeds - with the world. Their first visit inspired two more, which were full of even more kindness, inspiration and relationship building with each of the locals they worked with to harvest, roast and pop the perfect Makhana seeds for ZENKO’s first product; Water Lily Pops.
As the visits to Bihar continue to stack up, ZENKO continues to be impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of the locals they meet there, and become even more driven to make sure the process of producing Makhana is protected and sustainable at every step.
ZENKO’s mission is to re-discover the superfoods which carry deep cultural history and significance from regions all over the world. ZENKO’s first mission was to explore the beautiful region of Bihar, India, where we re-discovered the ancient Indian superfood Makhana. Read more about the cultural identity Makhana represents here.