It’s Organic September and my inbox has been full of news of brands and products supporting organic. Great news! The benefits of organic farming and production stretch from soil, planet and wildlife, to farmers, products and consumers. Everyone’s a winner. Which is probably why sales of organic products hit £22billion in 2017 up 6% from 2016.
One email stood out and that was Clipper Teas‘ organic tea production in Southern India with a small peek behind the scenes. If you’ve ever wondered how tea is cultivated organic, here are nine things I discovered about how Clipper Teas does it in the Nilgiri Mountains:
- In this region, 40% of the total population works in the tea industry (source: wessanen uk)
- 60% of workers have emigrated from Northern India, for the better pay and working conditions
- Tea plants (Camellia Sinensis) are fertilised with nitrogen from cow manure
- First, cow dung arrives at the plantation and dried. Then it’s mixed with thousands of worms to help aerate it. This means bringing oxygen into the manure. The compost is then rotated until it’s ready to use
- The plantations are also experimenting with an algae farm as another way of cultivating organic – read the science behind how and why algae is used in organic farming here. It’s basically a cost-effective and eco way to boost plant growth
- Plantations are also trialling compost from local food waste
- Plant, insect and bird life are thought be 50% more abundant on organic farms compared to non. Locals say there are now more bison in the area
- Fewer pesticides and genetically modified ingredients not only benefit the soil and environment but the workers too, who no longer have to put their health at risk when spaying plants with chemicals
- Not just certified by the Soil Association, the majority of these plantations are also Fairtrade (Clipper Teas was the UK’s first Fairtrade tea company in 1994) and more are in the pipeline,helping to provide workers and communities with additional funding for healthcare, education, better pay and employment benefits, such as sick leave.
So next time you kick back with a cup of tea, choose one that’s organic for the benefits of the environment, wildlife, and most importantly, the tea workers and villages who are better off because of it.
Now, here’s a snapshot of the people behind your tea!
Picture credits: Clipper Teas