Conservation & Biodiversity Efforts in Peru

With a dedication to conservation, Don Maximo and his wife focus on orchids, and they cultivate around 185 different species. 
by on Monday, April 3, 2023

Lessons in Conservation, Flowers, & Loving the Earth

Don Maximo is the guardian of the orchids of Peru.

Near the small town of Oxapampa in Peru, where the climate is neither extremely hot nor cold, you can find an orchid conservation garden filled with common and exotic species of the orchids of Peru. Don Maximo and his wife Donato are part of the same Pension 65 as Senora Fausta, who you may remember as the Guardian of the Native Potatoes. With similar dedication to conservation, their focus is on orchids, and they cultivate around 185 species and have a total of around 3,000 plants. 

So much of our work at Producers Trust revolves around transforming supply chains and creating sustainability through data validation. The heart of our work comes from the desire to empower small farmers all over the world and connect conscious consumers with producers whose work aligns with their values. So much of our day to day work is virtual, developing the technology that will drive us forward into our supply chains of the future. 

Fortunately for us, we are continually inspired and reinspired by the humans who work on the ground level of change, the people who get their hands in the dirt, not only to provide food to the world, but also to maintain biodiversity and conserve beautiful parts of our planet. 

A Virtual Tour of the Orchid Farm

Maximo spoke to us with such ease about his love for the plants, the flowers, and the earth. Even spending just a brief moment with him on a video call was enough to brighten my day. I can only imagine how bright it would be to take a stroll among the thousands of orchid plants and flowers. 


In Peru there are around 3,000 species of orchids. Don Maximo, who is 80 years old, has worked many different jobs in his life, including agriculture and even as a chauffeur. As he has aged, he began devoting himself to gardening and began his work with orchid conservation nearly 10 years ago. 

He says he hopes to keep doing it until he is 100. How many orchids will Don Maximo be able to preserve in the next 20 years? 

“Because we live in a rural area surrounded by forest, we began to find orchids near where we live, many of them were just tossed away and nobody was interested in them. I felt the obligation to save them so I brought them to a safe place here to see if they would flower. And from there I began to realize the importance of conservation of the orchids, and the mission to grow and care for them. So I continued collecting them. There are so many orchids in the forest that will grow anywhere. But there are others that are more exotic and they are harder to find, so we go and rescue them when we can. ”

Finding Joy in Conversation

The purpose of Maximo’s orchidiario, or orchid farm, is purely conservation. They do not sell orchids to other people and actually the selling of them is prohibited in Peru. The orchidiario is open to visitors and they do receive some tips from visitors, although they do not see visitors every day, or even every week. For example, in the past month they have received two visitors. 

We asked Maximo what he would like for the world to know about their orchid project, and his wish is that everyone knows they are invited to visit his humble piece of land.  

While we were only able to catch a glimpse of the orchidiario on the video call, we could hear birds in the background and see some of the beautiful orchid flowers. Don Maximo’s joy in his work and love for the earth is contagious, even from miles of distance. 

“Do you have a favorite orchid?” we asked Don Maximo. 

“The truth is no. I love them all the same. I love them all, and I blow them kisses because nature understands.”

A Sweet Reminder of Why We Love to Build Connections at Producers Trust

There are many reasons why I enjoy the work we do with Producers Trust, and today’s interview with Don Maximo reminded me of the top one: the connections. To connect with a joyful soul in the heart of Peru who spends his days rescuing orchids fills me with a feeling I can’t quite name. The world is full of inspiring humans, beautiful flowers, rich soils, and men who blow kisses to orchids. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but the earth is still thriving. 

Our vision at Producers Trust is so large and it all comes back to this, building honest and transparent connections. Healing. Regenerating. Connecting humans and our food, consumers and producers, people with people. 

I wish everyone the privilege I just had–to receive a bit of joy from Don Maximo and see his blooming orchids. If you find yourself in Peru, swing by and say hello and tell him Producers Trust sent you.

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