Lady Bonin’s Tea sources from several farms that follow sustainable organic farming practices as well as community development.
Our Rooibos is sourced from a cooperative of 74 farmers in Neeuwoudsville in the North-Western Cape of South Africa. We have chosen to use the sustainably Wild grown Rooibos for a few simple reasons:
The Wild Rooibos are rehabilitated plants that maintains the biodiversity and supports the Fynbos ecosystem. These plants, rotated yearly, are between 30 and 50 years old, verses the cultivated plants that have a 4 year life cycle. With the increase in demand for Rooibos and Rooibos products, commercial farmers have scaled production unsustainably leaving a wake of environmental and societal damage in its wake. It is important for us that we source plants that are farmed mindfully, using indigenous knowledge that understands the inner workings of the ecosystem. The plants are not only adapted to climate change, but withstand fires as they have a strong nodule system which converts nitrogen in the air to a usable substance in the soil for the benefit of other plant life, beyond itself. This also means that the plants hold a higher nutritional content, making them healthier and more flavoursome. There are also no pesticides or chemicals used as they are left to grow in their natural environment. Note, it is very important that wild harvested plants are done so with sustainable practices that take into account the requirements of the plant, adapting to its processes. For example, the wild rooibos “fields” are circulated every 2 years, giving each area a proper opportunity to regenerate and maintain their strong foundations. If we are going to thrive on this planet we have to work with nature, not attempt to bend it to our will. Everything exists within a harmony, and it is important that we follow these same principles. Just like the Rooibos works to balance and create harmony in your body through the benefits of its age-old uses.
Taking the community into mind allows us to make sure that every person benefits along the way. Just as the environment is potentially abused to meet demand, so are people in the pursuit of high profits and decreased expenses. The Rooibos industry sees a lot of monopolies dictating prices, replacing labour with machinery and paying poor labour. The cooperative we partner with is made up of a group of farmers and incredibly passionate people who truly desire the welfare and happiness of the community. Jobs are created through the biodynamic, organic and wild farming processes that require more human interaction. They rotate work extending the harvesting process to ensure people have jobs for more months of the year. Profits are put back into the community and used to provide bursaries, improve farms, and even give teeth to the elder community members. In order to allow the farms to thrive they buy all the seeds from the farmers at good prices and distribute them equally among all the farmers, even if someone had a lower yield than his neighbour. This allows all the farms to keep growing and thriving despite challenging circumstances.
Supporting these farms benefits the land, benefits the people, and benefits the tea drinker.
Our Honeybush comes from the Overberg and is literally kissed on the hills by the sea mist. The cultivar is the only one left of its kind. It was propagated from Kirstenbosch over 25 years ago and planted in the Overberg. Soon after a fire destroyed Kirstenbosch and the Honeybush cultivar with it. They are working with a university to potentially propagate in other areas and allow the plant to thrive. It is a very unique tasting Honeybush and its flavour is affected beautifully by the ocean. This farm is biodynamic, meaning they don’t use pesticide or prevent plant life from growing in the fields among the Honeybush crop. This allows the plant to thrive similar to the wild grown because they are able to interact with their environment which benefits the make up of the plant, and the land in which it grows. They are registered fair-trade and work hard to support the community through jobs and fair pay.
Our Buchu comes from Clanwilliam. It is a hardy bush that was one of South Africa’s first exports in around 1865. It is used the world over for its benefits medicinally in both modern traditional and natural medicine. The farm we work with grow the plants organically and harvest according to orders, drying the plant and shipping it off. It is cared for and reaches us with incredible freshness.
Japan is home to our other ethical and organic farms. Tea was introduced to Japan by Zen monks who procured growing methods and meditative practices, adapting them to their philosophies and way of life. The tradition was adopted by samurai who made it part of their foundation. No war would be discussed or fought without being preceded by tea. They recognised its benefits both physically due to its properties, and mentally due to its process. Just like the monks, it benefited them in their practices.
Tea is an art in Japan. We have paired with an incredible company that provides a platform for the world to connect with a very insular tea industry. Only 20% of Japanese teas are exported. Ian Chun has the same passion and vision as we do, a desire to share this plant with the world for its incredible nature, and benefit the land and people through this means. We are connected with small scale farmers and factories that provide us with beautifully organic teas, farmed this way for generations. There are no chemicals or pesticides and each person in the tea growing communities live among the tea fields, a part of every aspect of their life. Tea is as important as water, ingrained in every person.
Lady Bonin’s Tea is working towards sourcing all our teas from farms like the above, with stories and people and beautiful processes. We come from humble backgrounds where every process has been cultivated and every step trod with intentionality. With your support we will be able to spread the information and work with so many others to evolve the way things are.
If you are going to put something into your body, all aspects of it must be precious.