Certified Organic – What Does That Mean?

The term organic is used to describe a complete, ecologically balanced approach to farming.  Organic growers use traditional farming methods to conserve and improve soil conditions, which provide a sustainable agricultural solution.

Organic Does Not Contain Synthetic Chemicals Or Pesticides

Conventional growers manage pests and disease using synthetic pesticides and feed plants with chemical fertilizers. These pesticides and chemicals leave residues that can be ingested when the plant is consumed.  The USDA claims that an organic plant carries significantly fewer pesticide residues than a conventional plant.

Organic Helps Conserve And Protect The Environment

The pesticides and chemicals are transferred into groundwater and can pollute water in nearby streams, rivers and lakes. They can also rid the soil of its nutrients, destroy the soil structure, and leave the ground vulnerable to erosion.

Organic growers feed plants and soil with natural fertilizers—such as manure or compost—and use natural pesticides and beneficial insects to help manage pests and disease.

“Organic production is not simply the avoidance of conventional chemical inputs, nor is it the substitution of natural inputs for synthetic ones. Organic farmers apply techniques first used thousands of years ago, such as crop rotations and the use of composted animal manures and green manure crops, in ways that are economically sustainable in today’s world.” – USDA

Organic Tastes Better

Taste is definitely an individual preference, but an increasing number of consumers believe organic plants have a superior taste and quality.  Because organic food is grown in well-balanced soil, it makes sense that these healthy plants have a great taste.

  • Organic plants that do not contain pesticides tend to build up higher levels of flavor-producing phytochemicals in order to defend themselves against their natural predators.
  • Organic plants are often allowed to blossom and ripen at their own natural pace, instead of being sped to harvest with chemical feed. This allows them time to develop more of their natural sugars and other chemical compounds which contribute to the plant’s final flavor.
  • Organic crops benefit from soil that is higher in nutrients, so plants are better nourished and fed.

USDA-Certified Organic is a Process

The USDA established a rigorous, government-regulated organic certification program that states how foods must be grown and processed to be labeled organic.  A government-approved certifier must inspect the farm where the food is grown to make sure it is following all USDA organic standards. 

The certification process is not only time consuming but the certification standards are extremely demanding, guaranteeing consumers that when they buy something labeled organic they’re buying a product free of toxic chemicals, and supports farming methods that benefit the environment.

Organic and Teatulia’s Mission

Teatulia’s mission is to support the land and the people while producing top-quality tea.  Because we use natural farming practices that don’t harm the environment, we’ve created a diverse and thriving environment that is highly sustainable and provides a bright future for the Bangladeshi men and women who help cultivate our exquisite teas, so it only makes sense that we are a USDA-certified organic tea garden!

What a Cow Can Do For a Community

Dr. Kazi Anis Ahmed, the President and Co-Founder of Teatulia, always wanted to give back to his community in Bangladesh. In 2000, Dr. Ahmed and his family gave life to the Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate – which is where all of Teatulia’s organic teas and herbs are grown. As a part of the tea garden, the Ahmed’s started education, health, and cattle-lending programs for the workers of the garden and their neighbors. One of these programs is the Kazi & Kazi Tea Estate Ltd (KKTE) Cattle Cooperative.

Through this cooperative, workers of the Teatulia tea garden receive a milking cow that they pay for over time with milk and cow dung rather than money. The cow dung is used as fertilizer for the tea garden, and any surplus milk may be kept by the members for their own use or it may be sold at the local market. By using this system, many members of the cooperative pay off their cow within two to three years.

With the assistance of the co-op, the members are afforded benefits that they otherwise would not have had. Twice a week, the women at the garden are offered – while being paid – to learn to read, count and write their names. During a visit to the garden, Teatulia’s Don Peck had a chance to see the program in action. “Each with a small chalkboard to practice on, they went up in front of the class, to show us how they had learned to write their names. Literacy programs took on a new meaning for me as we listened to their pride. What struck me the most was the down to earth reasons they gave for learning. ‘So that they couldn’t be cheated out of money’, ‘So they could sign their name instead of giving a thumb print’. I’m awed by their courage and in the difference this garden has made in the lives of the community. “

One Bangladeshi mother, Laili Begum, dreamt of a better life for her children, and she knew that a world of opportunities would unfold for them if they were educated. Unfortunately, like many Bangladeshi families, Laili and her husband did not have the funds to send their children to school. However, after joining and working with the KKTE cooperative, she eventually achieved her dream. She is now able to see her children off to school every morning. As of today, Laili and her family have received several cows that she has been able to pay for through the simple bartering system provided by the co-op.

Every Teatulia Tea drinker, whether they know it or not, is contributing to this great cooperative and helping more dreams come true everyday.

Teatulia’s Linda Appel Lipsius on Denver’s CBS4!

Linda Appel Lipsius, Teatulia’s Co-Founder & CEO, was interviewed by CBS4′s Brooke Wagner for Hot Tea Month.

Linda discussed the different types of tea (black, green, white), proper brewing techniques and the health benefits of tea.

Makes for riveting viewing!

Watch here.

All Working Together

With the recent celebration of Earth Day, we wanted to recognize some of the other products/companies that we think are doing a great job making our earth a better, safer, and healthier place to live.

Pangea Organics – This luscious skin-care line is not only amazing as a product, but it’s also 100% organic. Pangea has taken organic and earth-friendly to the next level with its Ecocentric Skincare by creating beautiful packaging that you can actually plant! The recycled paper package even has seeds in it.
gDiapers – gDiapers has invented an earth-friendly, flushable diaper. They have very fashionable cotton, washable outer pant, with a plastic free, flushable refill.  If you prefer not to flush the gDiapers, you can compost them. They break down in 50-150 days.
Dream Soft Bedware – Dream Soft Bedware has developed a line of linens that are made from 100% organic cotton. These sheets range from 200-400 thread count and are available in all sizes.
Horizon Organic Dairy – Horizon gives every family an option to enjoy organic dairy products. They also helped the United States develop the National Organic Standards and the USDA seal.
Patagonia - Patagonia offers much more than clothing and gear (some of which are certified organic) for an active lifestyle. They offer a place where purchasing quality products actually helps better our world. They have developed extensive programs to let us, the consumer, participate in their own Social Responsibility programs. For example they have developed a Footprints Chronicles feature where consumers can track the life cycle of a product and see how it impacts our environment.

We would love to hear about your favorite products and companies that are Organic, or helping our environment in some way. Also, Please feel free to just add to our list via Comments!

Tetulia – More Than Organic

By definition, to be certified USDA Organic, you must adhere to the following:

Avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge. At Tetulia, we go far beyond Organic: We follow the Masanobu Fukuoka “Do Nothing” farming method. The Fukuoka Method ensures that the land is empowered to constantly enrich itself – relying on rain water alone for irrigation, organically-grown native trees and ground cover for shade, organically-grown herbs and plant extracts for pest control, organic fertilizer from organically-raised cattle and virtually no tilling, weeding, etc.

Farmland must be free of residual chemicals, often for three or more years. Before planting our first Camellia Sinensis in the year 2000, the land had lain fallow. As you can see, now it is rich with organic tea, fruits and vegetables, and other plants, foods, and herbs to sustain our garden and people.
Before Tetulia: Virgin soil After Tetulia: Lush Tea Fields

Detailed production and sales records. Our records are so precise that we are able to trace back to the person who picked the tea that you enjoy at home. By recording all schedules and activities, this allows us to further develop our cooperative and reach out to our employees and surrounding villages.

Strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products. From planting the Camellia Sinensis to developing our packaging, we never sacrifice the delicate organic nature of our tea. We strive to be “More than organic” so that you may enjoy the benefits of our work, and also contribute to sustaining our precious environment.