In 1987, I met Rajah Banerjee - energetic and passionate about his beloved Makaibari tea estate, he challenged me "we enrich lives at Makibari - go and do the same thing if you believe you can".
I was deep in discovery of healthy foods as I scoured labels spotting E numbers that my son was allergic to. Here was a real chance to change the way we thought of tea – working with Rajah directly, supplying the best tea leaves to consumers – making every penny count.
Today the Makaibari tea estate in India's Darjeeling province is the world's first certified biodynamic estate and the last owner-managed estate in the district. Here, 66% of the acreage is undisturbed rainforest where tea grows in harmony with the area's natural ecological system. All our black green and white teas are made especially at Makaibari for our discerning customers who appreciate the special taste and quality of our teas. Our herbal teas also come from biodynamic growers all over the world and are renowned for their clear jewel like liquors and unique health giving properties.
Biodynamic agriculture is not just an innovative method of farming; its thoughtful practices are a reflection of its philosophical approach to wellbeing.
As Rajah Banerjee, Makaibari's pioneering owner, says, "Force can evince quick results, but these are not sustainable, while love and patience create awareness on a long term and sustainable basis" Biodynamic farming is a means to discovering the perfect balance between soil and environment. With over 50% of Makaibari's acreage made up of undisturbed rainforest it is home to thousands of organisms and an exotic range of animals.
By utilising natural and vegetative waste as fertilisers, as well as herbal preparations as natural insect deterrents, Rajah has created a community which successfully sustains and nourishes itself, eliminating the need for artificial growth stimulants and harmful pesticides. Thus, in caring for the environment in which he plants and picks his tea, Rajah and his dedicated team of workers care for the health of those who nurture it and those drink it too.
Caring for everything that forms our environment means taking care of all the people who fill it. Fair-trading ensures that those who make the phenomenal ideas of passionate growers possible, are nurtured too.
For every kilogram of tea purchased under the fair-trade programme, a proportion goes directly to these farming communities to fund vital social development projects. Electricity, education initiatives, and medical care facilities are crucial needs which have been made a part of village life thanks to Fair-trade.