Plantation of organic memories
Oil on canvas, 104 H x 98 W cm / 40.9 H X 38.6 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Ando identity in 2015.

It’s awesome to see your vision turns into reality, but sometimes it does not.
Everyone knows that commodities prices are volatile. Due to growing global demand for chocolate, and forecasts of shortages in production in the future, Cocoa prices climbed higher in 2013-2014. My internal ideas bulb flashed. I thought I had identified a business opportunity, but more than that, I was excited by the potential of this opportunity to take me back home to my favorite place on earth, the Dominican Republic. With a background in commodities futures trading, I knew something about how these markets function, and I thought that my thorough acquaintance with the countryside and culture of the Dominican Republic, will give me an edge in identifying Cocoa Plantation opportunities. The Dominican Republic is the world leader in Organic Cocoa production and well known for its high quality fine flavor beans. My plan was to acquire existing neglected plantations and rehabilitate them. For more than a year, I dived into the subject, talked to global experts, and wrote the business plan. I also visited the Dominican Republic, toured many Cocoa plantations, met with local growers, experts, and government authorities in the field. I even got the Dengue fever, probably in one of the plantations!
I did find some great opportunities no one else did, and I had some interest from big investors, but I failed to close any deal, mainly because I adopted the Cocoa Agroforestry principals, and also insisted on doing it the natural, organic way, which benefits the soil, the planet, and the local communities. Then Cocoa prices crashed, my 2nd child was born, and I put aside the idea until further notice. Other than a better understanding of Cocoa strains and flavors, various farming techniques and their potential influence on the environment, what I was really left with, was the inspiration from the Cocoa plantations and the vision for a healthier sustainable planet. Maybe one day I will make this vision a reality, perhaps on a smaller less ambitious commercial scale. Until then, I will keep looking up to the trees for their beauty and wisdom and will keep dreaming. That’s what dreamers do.