A big thank you to Teatulia for contributing this post. Read on to see what tea, cattle and poverty alleviation have in common.
We at Teatulia have a simple mission: to sustain the land and the people while producing great-tasting organic tea. A lofty goal, yes – and one we’re proud to have achieved. Our organic tea garden is cultivated using only natural farming practices, and our innovative education, health and cattle-lending programs provide a bright future for the Bangladeshi families who help produce our tea. By nurturing both the land and the people, we are able to produce a top-quality tea and make a positive impact in the Bangladeshi community.
Because we own our OWN tea garden in northern Bangladesh (one of the largest organic tea gardens in the world at over 2,000 acres), we take extra steps to farm in the most sustainable ways. We follow the “Do Nothing” farming method, developed by Japanese farmer Masanoba Fukuoka. This method ensures that the land is empowered to constantly enrich itself – relying on rainwater alone for irrigation, native trees and ground cover for shade, organically grown herbs and plant extracts for pest control, and organic fertilizer from cattle. More than ten years since its inception, our “virgin” garden, developed on fallow land, is now a thriving, closed-loop ecosystem teeming with once endangered plant and animal species.
In addition to Teatulia’s efforts to help the environment through organic farming methods, our cooperative, the Kazi Shahid Foundation, is making large strides to give back to the Bangladeshi community. Our foundation gives the employees and people living in surrounding villages the opportunity to become educated in organic farming, provide nourishment for their family, and generate income, all without monetary loans. To this date, it supports roughly 1,749 members and continues to grow!
Our foundation also provides primary education classes for children in the community as well as IT and literacy training, medicinal shots, safe hygiene material distribution, and medicinal plant distribution. In total, we have helped 435 women finish our literacy program, 214 students finish high school, and 59 students to enter college and work on their bachelors degrees.
The foundation’s first program started as a cattle-lending program, which allowed members to pay for their cows by selling the dung and milk it produced. The dung is then used as compost in the garden.
Teatulia co-founder Dr. Kazi Anis Ahmed explains the cattle-lending program:
“Teatulia’s Cooperative began with an innovative method focused on dairy. Co-op members receive a milking cow, for which they pay back not in cash, but with milk and cow dung. Members pay only one liter of milk per day, keeping the rest for their children and the calves. They pay 10 to 20 kgs of cow dung per day, keeping a measure for their own use. This easy “barter” form of payback takes off the pressure of cash payments, making the co-op a practical alternative even to the micro-credit operations for which Bangladesh is now famous. Most members manage to pay off their cow within two to three years. Best of all, they keep any calves that the cow bears, doubling or tripling their cattle wealth!”
Since the beginning of the program in 2000, the foundation has served over 1700 members and has lent over 1800 cows!
We are a company committed to supporting communities worldwide. At Teatulia, we strive to partner with organizations that bolster strong ethical and environmental missions, which is why we greatly value our partnership with the Whole Planet Foundation.
Co-founder and CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas, Linda Appel Lipsius commented:
“We are confident that any support we give to the Whole Planet Foundation will be used in helping the greater good, and we value that tremendously.”
In addition to our monthly contribution of $166 to the foundation, we regularly supply organic tea for events, and have even crafted specialty cocktails for the 2014 Whole Planet 2014 Pre-Grammy Party. We look forward to taking part in many more exciting endeavors with the Whole Planet Foundation, and greatly anticipate seeing the huge impact their works have in communities all over the world.