A Cup a Day is the Sustainable Way
Fair Trade Tea Gardens in India Envision Sustainable Futures
It can be easy to forget that small steps can make a big impact. Throughout Fair Trade Month, we are asking you to make Every Purchase Matter. We see the effect that Fair Trade purchases in the United States are having on small-scale farming communities around the world and we want our daily choices to support efforts to alleviate poverty and protect the environment. All of us need to contribute to this goal to make a sustainable impact. Two companies here in the U.S. and two tea estates in India, are doing exactly that.
"Our experience at Ambootia leaves no doubt in our minds about the close association of organic and biodynamic farming, Fair Trade, and social welfare. It has developed a well-integrated, self-sustaining, ecologically balanced and economically viable community." — Ambootia Tea Garden
This Darjeeling garden, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas was established in 1861. With a strong resolve to work with and not against nature, Ambootia transitioned to 100% organic and biodynamic production in 1992 and earned Fair Trade certification in 1994. Organic cultivation not only contributes to environmental sustainability and the growth of hearty tea bushes, but also creates a healthier environment for workers. Biodynamic farming methods have led to the discontinuation of the use of agro-chemicals and pesticides, ensuring cleaner drinking water and fresher air for Ambootia workers.
Traditional Medicinals commitment to sourcing Fair Trade Certified tea from Ambootia has contributed towards community development premiums. Ambootia members have chosen to use these Fair Trade funds to hire additional teachers, repair school buildings and provide scholarships for higher education. Also, thanks to Fair Trade, Ambootia members started a reforestation program that includes planting 50,000 shade trees per year to reduce soil erosion in order to keep their villages on solid ground and protect against dangerous mudslides.
"We give our tea plantation constant and natural assistance with biodynamic techniques. One look at our land, even to the unschooled eye, will show a forest teeming with wildlife and plant life, a bounty of the sky with butterflies and birds, and all these synergistic life forces show up in the cup."— Rajah Banerjee, Makaibari Owner and Manager
The Makaibari tea garden lies in the Darjeeling hills of Northeastern India. In continuous operation since 1859, Makaibari is one of the oldest of all Indian tea gardens and a pioneer in innovative management. It has been 100% organic and biodynamic since 1991 and earned Fair Trade certification in 1994.
Over the years, Honest has built a strong relationship with Makaibari. During this time, the Fair Trade premiums they’ve paid have supported many important initiatives, including:
- Computer Center - In 2004, Makaibari purchased 2 computers and 1 printer for a computer education program that benefits nearly 100 children.
- Microcredit - Makaibari's workers have chosen to create a community loan fund. So far the fund has made more than 100 small loans for housing, medical needs, education, livestock and small business. Educational and medical loans carry no interest, and the fund enjoys a 100% repayment rate.
- Scholarship Funds - Several young tea garden members have received scholarships to study horticulture at a center in Darjeeling.
- Village Electrification - Workers of Makaibari have installed electricity in their homes and villages.
Make Every Purchase Matter using our Fair Trade Finder to find Fair Trade Certified™ tea in your neighborhood.
Want to learn more? Visit Fair Trade USA’s website: www.fairtradeusa.org