When I first sighted a tin of Organic India Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea on a yoga retreat in India over 15 years ago, I had no idea its contents would be infused with so much consciousness. Neither did I have any clue that within a few years, I would be working for one of the most inspiring companies I know in the world today, and that this work would fulfil my desire to help effect meaningful change in our world.
Most yogis and meditators know that Tulsi isn’t your average cup of tea - it’s a consciousness-raising, stress balancing, immune supporting longevity herb that is sacred to the Hindu tradition. Quite literally, Tulsi (Holy Basil) is considered ‘The Goddess Incarnate’. In Ayurveda, the traditional healthcare system of India, this herb is crowned the ‘Queen of Herbs’ - also referred to as ‘The Incomparable One’. Indeed, the benefits of Tulsi Holy Basil do seem infinite.
When the founders of Organic India witnessed the reverence and respect that local Indian people bestowed upon their Tulsi herb (usually found growing in an earthen pot at the doorstep or in the courtyard of the family home), they were intrigued. Why wasn’t this incredible herb better known in the Western World? They decided to take it to the world as a delicious herbal tea, but the question was, how could they source certified organic Tulsi, and be reassured that the farmers were being treated and paid fairly?
Being naturally passionate about wellbeing and consciousness, they quickly identified the need to work from soil to shelf - having witnessed the alarming state of agriculture in India, and the dire impacts of farming with chemicals on marginalised farmers and their families. They wanted to build a company that would be a ‘vehicle of consciousness’ in the world, committed to environmental and social justice. So, one village at a time, they inspired communities of farmers to join a movement that became the birth of the organic revolution in India. As they regenerated the soil, Organic India set about regenerating whole communities.
How it all began
Organic India grew as a social enterprise, developing partnerships with the farmers and engaging agricultural experts holding Masters and PhD degrees in Agriculture to motivate, teach, guide and monitor them. Their knowledge and skill in all aspects of organic, agro-ecological practices quickly developed. Organic India paid the fees associated with organic certifications, and then purchased the resulting crops and wildcrafted herbs at a premium market price - regardless of the yield. Farmers would rotate between growing crops on their land for Organic India and growing other organic food crops for sale on the open market. They were also encouraged to grow their own nutritious, chemical-free food in their certified organic soil. This unique business model has made it possible for farmers to prosper with farming skills that regenerate the Earth and pass these onto future generations.
Gender equality, always
In a culture where gender equality is atypical, Organic India has continued to forge new paths to freedom by empowering, training and employing widows. Women’s empowerment programs and gender-equality programs were established and communities were taught gender sensitisation. Women and men who work for Organic India are paid equally. The goal? To empower rural women - many of whom are marginalised - by providing them with the training and skill development to improve employment opportunities and promote social empowerment.
From women to the elderly and the illiterate, everyone is equally respected and valued in Organic India communities.
Together, a thriving business and vibrant farming communities emerged, with the continued vision to positively impact our farmers and our planet through daily operations. Over time, more opportunities to enhance the livelihood of our farming communities became apparent:
- Rural health and medical facilities were established, providing free healthcare to farmers, their families and surrounding villages. This includes women-specific healthcare programs like prenatal check-ups and baby wellness care. Travelling surgeons are also subsidised to perform cataract operations that help restore vision to the elderly members of farming communities.
- Water filtration systems were installed in family homes making safe drinking water accessible, improving the wellbeing and vitality of all adults and children.
- Once solar home light systems were fitted, children could complete homework after dark, encouraging literacy and creating opportunities for the next generation. Less injuries resulted for the elderly population, as well as fewer snake and scorpion bites to people and livestock.
- Over one hundred toilets were constructed in small rural villages addressing safety and sanitation concerns.
- Solar water pumps have made water more accessible and enabled dry season crops to be irrigated.
Thousands of farmers, tribal people and their communities have been touched directly or indirectly by the projects of Organic India. More than 10,000 acres of soil have been transformed into fields of abundance through regenerative agro-ecological practices that serve, honour and protect biodiversity.
We have supported the livelihood of over 2000 marginalised farmers in India, restoring their dignity and enabling self-sufficiency and skills that can be passed on to future generations.
All the herbs and spices you find in the Tulsi tea and herbal supplement range are sourced from our farmers and wildcrafters.
B Corp Certified
In more recent times, Organic India has become B Corporation Certified. The B Corp community works toward:
- reducing inequality
- reducing poverty
- improving the health of the environment
- creating healthy communities and,
- creating jobs that promote dignity and purpose.
The rigorous certification process includes assessment of the overall positive impact of Organic India including, the impact on their workers, customers, community and environment. For the last two years, Organic India USA has been placed in the top 10% of all certified B Corporations - with exceptional scores for “Mission and Engagement” “Corporate Culture”, “Toxic Reduction and Remediation”, and “Supply Chain Poverty Alleviation”.
Every Sip Makes a Difference
25 years later, Organic India now shares the love for Tulsi all over the world, thanks to over 2000 farmers, tending to over 10,000 acres of certified organic soil.
Every single sip of the Tulsi tea that you hold in your hand, every single herbal capsule from an Organic India bottle, makes a difference - for you, for me, for our people, and our planet.
The path toward a prosperous and healthy future for everyone depends on businesses committing to a mission and adopting socially responsible practices that result in positive social and environmental impact. It also relies on conscious consumers determined to seek out ethical alternatives - to purchase with purpose.
Because only together, can we continue to lead the way in positive change with this global movement.
The Organic India Rose Ladies, hand picking certified organic rose petals, a special ingredient in Tulsi Sweet Rose and Tulsi Cinnamon Rose herbal teas.