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This is How We Do It: Transparency

In November 2017, I traveled to India on the company’s first direct-sourcing trip. I met farmers and producers of tea, and I fell in love. I fell in love with the time, patience, ritual, and art of growing tea. I fell in love with the prayer each farmer says over their crop upon first harvest. 

Mirk, Darjeeling turmeric farmer

I fell deeper in love with golden, juicy turmeric rhizomes. I fell in love with the cutest, greenest, most fragrant tea buds. I fell in love biodiversity and nutrient-rich soil. I fell in love with ethical commodities trading, on farms that go beyond "Fair Trade" or "Organic certified."

Founder Lisa Govro with organic turmeric

Take a minute to imagine the number of hands that touch your tea before it gets to your cup.  

The hands that till the land, that plant the seed, that prune the plant, that harvest the leaves, that wither, roll and dry, that package the tea, that move the package, that receive the package, that blend the tea, that sell the tea.

I came back with a deep sense of obligation and commitment to the herb/tea growers, producers, importers, and friends I made along the way. Life-changing? Can I say that? I mean, I did change the company’s whole trade policy so sure, yeah, YOLO.

I’m still navigating this new space but, in the interest of being fully transparent, here’s what I now know:

Big Heart Tea Co. is committed to sourcing herbs and tea that are grown, processed, and traded with respect to human time, energy, and well-being. Human respect and dignity lead to a higher quality product for you, as well as a higher quality of life for the producers. That means:

– Farm workers (a majority of whom are women) are paid a fair wage, and are protected against harmful agricultural practices (like toxic herbicides and pesticides).
– Farmers, producers, importers, and buyers are all equally included in trade negotiations.
– Big Heart Tea Co. is committed to being fully transparent with its customers as we grow, and we’re leaning in hard to support women at all levels.

Allen Tamang, Elyse Pearson, Yankhu Tamang, and Lisa Govro in Darjeeling, India

Yanki Tea, Tealet, and Big Heart Tea Co. making our first direct-source deals

I think it’s important that I share this new direction with you, because if we expect our business partners to be transparent with us, then we must first be so with you. And here’s the realness — we’re not there yet.

Our entire “Tea, Tea” line is 100% traceable, but our herb program has a long way to go. Sadly, the herb and spice market is extremely secretive. We know that our herbs are certified organic and we know their country of origin, but that’s as deep as our importers will go. Don’t we want to know that the herbs we use to heal us are grown with dignity? I know that I personally do.

This is why Big Heart Tea Co. is working with our partners at Tealet to change the way our herbs are traded, starting with our three best friends — turmeric, ginger, and tulsi. This fall, we’ll begin to fulfill our promise within our herb program, and that’s a really cool, empowering thing. We hope you think so too.

Big love,

Lisa

Founder, Big Heart Tea Co.

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