Our Story

It all started with the Baobab tree

women in ghana with their harvest of organic wild baobab fruit powder for kaibae

This is a true story about indigenous crops not widely known to the outside world. It is the story of a naturopathic doctor and a botanist-humanitarian, and their driving desire to make the world a better place. It is the story about how they came to know the potential of Lost Crops to promote health, beauty, community and the environment.

Inspired by the Baobab (bao-bab) tree, we traveled to Northern Ghana and visited local communities who have cherished the Baobab for centuries. Known as "the Tree of Life", Baobabs grow wild throughout the African Savanna. Northern Ghana has very few opportunities for economic development, and while Baobab’s benefits are recognized as a part of the local diet, the harvesting of Baobab is new source of revenue. This greatly improves the community’s access to education and healthcare.

"Kaibae" means, "Hello, how are you? Are you well?" in Kusaal, the language spoken by our harvesting partners in Ghana. Our mission at KAIBAE is to give wild plants a voice as powerful catalysts for improving health & beauty, advancing social good and preserving biodiversity. Once considered Lost Crops™, these wild plants and their rediscovered benefits now promote economic development in regions of the world where natural resources grow abundantly and poverty is widespread. 

Meet The Founders

Kaibae baobab founders

KAIBAE founders Tom Cole, Barbara Berger Maes and Dr. Luc Maes

The Naturopathic Doctor 
With 30 years of experience in plant-based medicine and the natural products industry, and as Director of the Maes Center for Natural Health Care clinical practice, Dr. Luc has an abiding interest and keen insight into understanding health and skincare, real consumer needs and best practices product development. His private research includes the study of medicinal plants throughout Africa, Central and South America. His public interest fuels his desire to take what he learns and share it in a global view towards solutions for people and the planet. 

The Botanist Humanitarian
With more than 25 years embedded in sustainable agriculture, human livelihoods, community development and humanitarian response work across Sub-Saharan Africa, Thomas is uniquely positioned to develop working solutions to every part of the supply chain. Currently at work as an agroecology and drought management advisor for global USAID food security programs, Thomas has a close-up perspective of the needs of these communities and the ability to create and build networks of opportunity for all. Aptly, Thomas is responsible for KAIBAE supply chain management and community relations and is Dr. Luc’s trusted travel companion across the globe. 

The Curator 
With 30 years experience in advertising, marketing and business development, Barbara’s keen “eye” captures unique properties and experiences in health and beauty. Barbara’s journey includes work as a curator and project manager for the cities of Chicago and Portland’s 1% for the Arts Public Programs. She manages the administration of the Maes Center for Natural Health Care in Santa Barbara alongside her husband, Dr. Luc and together they are a natural couple of global conscientious citizens. Barbara is responsible for new business relations, day-to-day operations and for content development for the KAIBAE Lost Crops company.  

Sustainable and Ethical

By working in direct partnership with indigenous communities, we can ensure the sustainable and ethical harvest of our ingredients. When you purchase a KAIBAE product, you're doing more than just supporting your own health; you're supporting the livelihoods of these community members. The income they generate by harvesting our ingredients grants them year-round stability and better access to education and healthcare. It's good for the environment too— Lost Crops™ like Baobab, Cacay, and Kappaphycus now have economic value and are protected, contributing to the greater preservation of Earth's biodiversity. It's a win-win-win for your health, our harvesting partners, and our home planet.