It’s Organic Septemberand 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
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!
Every September the Soil Association celebrates going organic– for food, fashion, health, beauty, even holidays – and 19th September is officially the start of Organic Beauty Week, where we get to big up brilliant brands doing great things with natural ingredients and better farming methods (organic produce is grown with no synthetic fertilisers and lower levels of pesticides, which is better for farmers, the soil, the environment, the end product and ultimately our health).
In beauty, the focus is on labelling. Next time you need to buy a new moisturiser or change up a skin or bath product, instead of turning to any pretty packaging with a leaf or floral print, look for a certified label instead. This proves the brand has been regulated and accredited with rigorous scrutiny across the whole of its supply chain to prove every element is as sustainable as possible – accrediting bodies like Soil Association really put brands through their paces so that stamp is well earned!
Organic this and organic that. From tea and coffee to cotton and clothes, it’s like a buzzword that’s everywhere. So what’s all the fuss about and why should beauty be organic too? Organic Beauty Week part of Organic September backed by Soil Association, is a time to celebrate the beauty of organic and promote the organic in beauty.
Why? Because pesticide-free farming is kinder on the earth, the farmers and workers and ultimately on us. Oh, and it makes beauty products that little bit better too as plants are usually grown in healthier, nutrient-rich soil making their power more potent.
But the word organic (and natural) has been banded about so much and stuck on labels wherever possible, even if a product carries only small traces of organic ingredients, paying lip-service to an important movement and maybe even misleading consumers. So the Soil Association launched a Campaign for Clarity to help people make some sense of the minefield that is organic and natural beauty.
Being an organic brand truly reflects a company’s commitment to the environment and being accredited goes that one step further in building trust. Always look for an official stamp of approval by Soil Association or another body such as EcoCert (they will soon all merge under the umbrella name of COSMOS so look out for that in the near future too).
My favourite organic brands are included in my Healthista article so do check it out, and if there’s a brand that isn’t on there and you think it should be, let me know! Give me a shout on Twitter @YanarBeauty.