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Our Story

"Kaibae" means, "Hello, how are you? Are you well?" in Kusaal, the language spoken by our harvesting partners in Ghana






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 wild plants once considered Lost Crops™ to promote health, beauty, community and the environment.


Thomas Cole founder with community harvesters I KAIBAE



Inspired by the Baobab (bao-bab) tree, they partnered with communities in Northern Ghana 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 long recognized as a part of the local diet, the harvesting of Baobab is a critical new source of revenue. This greatly improves the community’s access to education, healthcare. and prevents food insecurity.  


KAIBAE's mission is to give wild plants a voice as powerful catalysts for improving health and beauty, advancing social good, and preserving biodiversity.   

 KAIBAE photo of women harvesting seaweed from the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar


Regenerative and Ethical 


By working in direct partnership with communities, we ensure the regenerative 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 our community partners and biodiversity.


There is an emerging movement in health and beauty towards the importance of regenerative practices, preserving biodiversity and recognizing that sustainability is simply not enough when it comes to how a product is made. Biodiversity is essential to human well-being and the long-term health of the environment. We are learning that modern living, urbanization, pollution and deforestation continue to threaten and degrade biodiversity in both the human and global biome.


Kaibae's regenerative agricultural principles are not only sustainable - meaning they are good stewards of the natural systems and resources that their community partners rely on - but they are taking it one step further by ensuring that their practices are actually preserving local biodiversity, strengthening ecosystem services, empowering communities and increasing resilience to climate change.


Meet The Founders 

 Meet the founders Thomas Cole, Dr. Luc Maes and Barbara Berger Maes I KAIBAE




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 KAIBAE, The Lost Crops Company.

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