We recently returned from a trip to Darjeeling where we were visiting our partners, Tea Promotors of India. TPI is a progressive Indian company with a deep committment to transform the tea industry (still heavily seeped in its colonial legacy) into an empowerment model for small farmers.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a lot about our trip and this vision. How viable is a small farmer tea model in India and elsewhere? How likely is it that U.S. consumers will care about supporting a vision of small farmer tea? If we believe that there is a difference between working long days on someone else’s plantation and working co-operatively with other small farmers to own, manage, and run your own tea business, what can we do to support this vision?
The following photos were taken at the Singell Tea Garden in Darjeeling, India. Most of the photos are of tea pluckers. Some of them are of visitors; excited to see, listen, learn, and work alongside our partners. We hope this is just the beginning of a new phase where consumers in the U.S. think more deeply about where their tea comes from, who is growing it, and under what conditions.