For us, 2011 marks ten years of bringing you Fair Trade Certified™ teas!
As the first tea crafter in North America to offer Fair Trade Certified™ teas, supporting our partners and their communities in the developing world has long been a priority of ours. Before tea became a Fair Trade certifiable commodity, Choice Organic Teas sent additional funds to benefit tea workers, specifically for improving living and working conditions. Working with TransFair, we initiated the development of the Fair Trade certification for tea that has become the present day standard.
Today, Fair Trade premiums are worker-managed to support a community’s specific needs. In the Chamong gardens of India’s Assam and Darjeeling regions, workers receive social security, medical and maternity benefits, and have built hospitals and schools. The Sewpur Tea Estate constructed a new school and recreation building and has made improvements to workers’ homes in the form of cooking stoves and mosquito nets. The Putharjhora gardens have used premiums to not only fund education and healthcare, but a mother’s club that educates women about illness, medicine, and other family issues. The Oothu Singampatti Tea Estates have used premiums toward healthcare, education, women’s programs, and retirement.
In China, the Da Zhang Shan cooperative has built a school, library, computer classroom, and student dormitory and created a training program to preserve organic agricultural practices. The Jingmai Mangjing Tea Association has used their Fair Trade premiums to subsidize school expenditures such as desks, chairs, teaching equipment, teachers’ bonuses, and scholarships. Choice Organic Teas is proud to support the Fair Trade programs that have made these innovations possible.