One Lump or Two? Fair Trade Tea Sweetens the Deal for Growers

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One Lump or Two? Fair Trade Tea Sweetens the Deal for Growers One Lump or Two? Fair Trade Tea Sweetens the Deal for Growers
Lifestyle

One Lump or Two? Fair Trade Tea Sweetens the Deal for Growers

May 12, 2011

One of the oldest beverages in the world, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world, second only to water. In America, it's not quite as popular as coffee, but its become a fast growing segment in the beverage market. Tea leaves are all plucked from the camellia sinensis tree and different kinds—black, oolong, green—come from different varieties of this bush. And sorry de-caf fans, but herbal teas from flowers and herbs (like chrysanthemum, ginger, and rooibos) are technically not teas at all, but herbal (or "tisane") infusions.

Selling

As with other Fair Trade products, tea carries a premium that is to be reinvested into community development according to the needs of the community from which it comes. In the case of tea, the premiums often go toward supporting elderly workers through retirement plans, pensions and heath care. Because many young people now migrate into urban areas to find more lucrative work, Fair Trade works simultaneously to create a safety net for elderly farmers and a better incentive for younger generations to work in agriculture and remain near their families, many of whom occupy housing on the plantations.


Shipping/Distribution

Most tea comes from China, South Asia and Africa. A tea bag labeled Fair Trade must contain 100 percent fair trade-grown tea leaves, though products that combine tea with other ingredients, such as chai mixes, can contain non-fair trade ingredients and still carry the label.

 

Image 1 (cc) from Flickr user Raphael Fauveau

Image 2 (cc) from Flickr user luvjnx

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