The Founders of Pines International envisioned the Wilderness Community Education Foundation (WCEF) before the company itself was formed. They saw PINES as a profit making company that would use its profits as a means for accomplishing the goals of the non-profit Foundation. Those goals include protecting land from unenlightened development and supporting sustainable environmental practices. Our main goal is to help provide good nutrition, especially for the poor.
The WCEF Restores Native Prairie
The picture above is of a field the WCEF converted to native prairie grasses. The Foundation identifies potential erodible fields on lands purchased and converts them to native prairie when possible.
Establishing Permanent Wildlife Refuges
In the 1980s and 1990s, most of the contributions to the WCEF came from PINES itself. The WCEF used those funds to purchase more than 700 acres of woodlands and prairie as a permanent wildlife refuge owned and protected by the WCEF. PINES purchased more than 1,000 additional acres for its organic farming operations. The company brought all these lands into certified organic status within three years from the date of purchase.
Another 5,000 acres of woodland and native prairie are owned by the University of Kansas Endowment Association. Those tracts are contiguous to land owned by PINES and the WCEF resulting in one of the largest expanses of undeveloped land in Northeastern Kansas. All the land is supported by sustainable organic practices.
WCEF’s Role in the Kansas Riverkeeper Program
Another major project for the Foundation and Pines during the first two decades was the Kansas Riverkeeper program called the “Friends of the Kaw.” More than half of its permanent endowment came from Pines, the WCEF and our shareholders. Friends of the Kaw invested the endowment. Income from it ensures a permanent Riverkeeper in perpetuity to protect one of Kansas’ most beautiful and threatened resources. The Kansas Riverkeeper travels the river to report pollution. She also serves as a lobbyist with the legislature to prevent commercial activities that might damage or pollute this precious waterway.
More than $135,000 in Contributions During Last 8 Years
In more recent years, the WCEF has depended primarily on contributions from stockholders and bequests. Since 2008, the Foundation has contributed more than $135,000 to various organizations dedicated to causes that support the Foundation’s objectives.
Contributions to Environmental Causes
The Foundation provided significant funds to the Kansas Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Kansas Land Trust and Friends of the Kaw. Pines is an outspoken critic of agribusiness in other parts of Kansas for wasting and contaminating the precious and once-plentiful ground water supply known as the “Ogallala Aquifer.” That water is nearly depleted and contaminated with pesticides from growing animal feed for the meat industry and GMO corn for the ethanol industry. Besides speaking out against using what little remains of this resource, Pines grows its crops in areas that do not require irrigation. Instead, we depend on natural rainfall.
Contributions to Organic Agriculture
Contributions to Feeding Programs
PINES has provided millions of Pines Wheat Grass servings to feeding programs worldwide. The Foundation has supported local feeding programs with cash contributions. Those programs include Lawrence Meals on Wheels, Kansas Food Bank, ECKAN/Just Food.
Other Contributions to Programs for the Poor
The Foundation has also made cash contributions to other programs that help people in need. Those include the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity, Health Care Access, Heartland Community Health Center and the Lawrence Community Shelter.
In addition, the Foundation has also supported scholarship programs with Bastyr University of naturopathic medicine, the United Negro College Fund and the American Indian College Fund. We also have provided cash contributions to our local fire department, the Jefferson County Fire District.
Like most natural food companies, PINES also contributes to Vitamin Angels. Unlike other natural food companies, Pines has also taken a strong stand against the use of petrochemical plastic. We feel it is wrong for many reasons to package natural foods in plastic. We are the only company to follow the growing and harvesting standards of The Father of Wheatgrass as well as his packaging standards. His packaging standards involved using only amber glass bottles with special metal caps. That is the only kind of packaging that allows us to remove the oxygen for each bottle. That safeguard protects sensitive green superfoods from the oxidation that devitalizes similar products in plastic containers. Our products are available at leading natural food stores or through a shopping cart on this website.
Our Logo Reflects Our Goals
PINES selected the Pine tree as our logo because it reflects or philosophy. The Pine tree is an international symbol of the peace found in nature. We are proud to have fulfilled and to continue to fulfill the mission we established more than 40 years ago.
Starting in 1976, more than 100 individuals invested an average of $200 each. Those small investments helped PINES and the WCEF become a reality. These investors supported our efforts not because of an expectation of a large financial return but because they believed in our values. Even so, they have also shown a good return on their investments.