Infuse your life with organic, fair trade tea

Infuse your Life with Organic, Fair Trade Tea

Coffee isn’t the only morning beverage that needs a green makeover. Many of the same social and environmental problems faced by java drinkers are also prevalent in the tea industry, making the choice of what tea you sip every day an important part of any green lifestyle.

Organic farming has many benefits, not only for the farmers, but also for the future generations of the communities dwelling there. Organic methods protect the soil and water against infiltration by cancer-causing pesticides and other chemicals so that many more generations can lead healthy lives. According to a National Cancer Institute report, farmers who use herbicides regularly were six times more likely to contract cancer than other people. Organic tea also ensures that soil erosion is prevented, water quality remains good, and biodiversity is preserved.

Biodynamic farming is another green method of getting delicious tea leaves without harm to the planet. The biodynamic method is a closed-loop one, requiring that no “outside” influences (like pesticides and herbicides) be used. Instead, these farmers make use of things like cover crops to improve soil health. They also employ homeopathic preparations (containing plants, animal manure extracts, minerals, and compost) to the soil, while following the natural rhythms of the cosmos to determine when to seed and when to harvest. In many ways, biodynamic is one step more serious about environmental-protection than USDA Certified Organic options. Demeter US is the certifying body for this type of gardening.

Like coffee drinkers, tea sippers are serious about flavor and the quality of their tea leaves. Here again, organic has the advantage since organic teas are said to have better flavor. The smell and taste of a delicious cup of organic green tea or mango berry tea is richer and deeper than conventional options.

Additionally, organic tea is often also fairly traded. The Fair Trade Federation, which helps to certify organic teas, ensures that farmers are given a fair wage (at least $1.26 per pound), that workplace safety laws are in place, and that families of farmers receive education and health care. It also helps to stimulate local economies so that they can develop self-sufficiency.

When shopping for your organic tea, look for a total of two labels: one for how the tea was grown, and one for how it was traded. Either the Demeter US label or the USDA Certified Organic will ensure your tea is grown in an earth-conscious fashion, and the Fair Trade logo will guarantee that farmers were treated fairly in the trade. Together, you’ll have a truly sustainable morning (or evening) fix.

So add organic, fair trade tea to your organic food shopping list this year to make a difference for farmers and the planet, too.

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