You've probably seen the fair-trade logo on many of our tea offerings, but you might be wondering what it really means. Fair-trade tea is the kindest choice in consumer products for tea farmers, consumers, and the environment. When a tea has the fair-trade logo, it means that the estate where that tea comes from has shown their commitment to the safety and well-being of their farmers and to protecting the environment.
Tea farmers often have very hard lives. Many are from developing countries in Africa, Asia, India and South America. There are around 80 million tea farmers in China, 3 million in Kenya, and 2 million in India—making 85 million in total-that's a lot of people!
Although fair-trade is becoming more popular, most of these farmers still work on non fair-trade tea estates or plantations. They depend on their employers for their family's basic needs, and they usually receive very low wages that keep them and their children in poverty, unable to build a future. Fair-trade helps these farmers by giving them things they would not have on a regular tea farm: a safe working environment and work schedule, a fair wage, and income stability.
Instead of relying on their employers for everything, fair-trade tea farmers are part of small groups of area farmers. These farmers even own part of the tea company. Their farming groups get a guaranteed set minimum price or the market price for their items, whichever is higher. They also get extra money for the organic products they make. They can then invest this money into strengthening their community. By buying fair-trade items, you're helping to end the cycle of poverty for tea farmers around the world.
The environment is protected by fair-trade practices, too. Fair-trade encourages farming practices that are gentle on the environment. ”Slash and burn," used in conventional tea farming, is banned with fair-trade. Fair-trade products are all free of genetically-modified ingredients, and most are organic. Erosion control, water and energy conservation, and the protection of natural vegetation areas are all part of fair-trade farming, making it the safest choice for the environment.
We at California Tea House are strong supporters of the fair trade movement and source our tea only from fair-trade tea estates where available, all over the world. When you buy fair-trade organic tea, you are purchasing the purest tea available that will give you maximum health benefits. You will also be making the kindest, most ethical choice for the future of the environment and for the long-term wellbeing of tea farmers.