Once a staple food crop of the ancient Maya civilization, ramón is the seed of a neotropical canopy tree
called Brosimum alicastrum. The seed is packed with nutrients including fiber, calcium, potassium, folic
acid, iron, zinc, protein, and Vitamin B. Most commonly, ramón seeds are dried, roasted and ground
and then used as a gluten-free flour complement in baked goods or as a caffeine-free coffee alternative.
Since 2011, the University of Minnesota has been researching ramón seed’s viability as a market-based
solution to promote conservation in the community forestry concessions of the Maya Biosphere Reserve
in northern Guatemala. This ongoing research collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance is a part of the
Climate, Nature, and Communities in Guatemala (CNCG) program.
Click here to learn more about the Rainforest Alliance’s work with ramón.
Ramón Research Opportunities
Ramón-related collaborations with the Rainforest Alliance offer a variety of unique research
- Value chain analysis
- Market development
- Food science and nutrition
- Economic and financial analysis
- Marketing and public relations
- Neotropical ecology
Descriptions and links to past students’ ramón projects are included below.
- In 2013, UMN students and researchers carried out a complete value chain analysis of ramón. Find the final report here.
- In 2016, a group of Master's of Development Practice (MDP) students travelled to Guatemala. Their ramón-related work encompassed a range of topics including an updated value chain
analysis, a financial analysis of ramón bakers, and a synthesis of research related to ramón’s nutritional attributes. Find the final report here.
- In 2017, a second group of MDP students travelled to Guatemala. They conducted interviews
with ramón harvesters, performed a market analysis, and developed a cost analysis toolkit and
marketing materials for ramón producers. Find the final report here.
- In 2018, UMN researchers explored potential market pathways for ramón in the U.S. health food
market. The study employed a variety of methods including interviews with health food market
stakeholders, preliminary price evaluations, and UMN research collaborations. Find the final
Brochures and pamphlets outlining the story and benefits of ramón are linked below