Women’s Empowerment, Regenerative Agriculture & Ayurveda’s most Sacred Herb.
Sarah Holloway is an ORGANIC INDIA team member with a keen interest in Ayurveda and a background in environmental resource management. She is a proud Aunty and lives near Byron Bay with her husband and beloved pooch.
The women of rural India are playing a significant role in regenerating the Earth and spreading the Tulsi love around the world. From marginalised to empowered, they work with ORGANIC INDIA to bring truly ethical, certified organic Ayurvedic Tulsi teas and herbal supplements to the world. How did it all begin?
The Beginnings of an Ethical Enterprise
ORGANIC INDIA was founded over 20 years ago with a mission to share India’s ancient Ayurvedic medicinal wisdom, in the form of herbal teas and supplements, with the world. But equally as significant, to establish a sustainable business model that would support the livelihood of thousands of marginalised farmers in India by providing training and education, enabling self-sufficiency and skills that could be passed on to future generations. A truly ethical enterprise.
Regenerating the Earth
After witnessing the critical and toxic state of India’s agriculture, ORGANIC INDIA began establishing partnerships with small family farmers throughout rural India, training them in organic regenerative agriculture methods. ORGANIC INDIA pays the fees associated with attaining organic and fairtrade certification, and pays their farmers fair market prices whether their crops flourish or fail, enabling the partner farmers to flourish.
From one farmer to a network of over 2000, over 10,000 acres of once degraded, chemically-ravaged soil has been transformed into productive organic farmland that produces quality organic crops and herbs. The farmers and their families consume the organic food crops themselves, whilst the herbs they cultivate become the beautiful organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) Teas and herbal supplements you see in stores around the world.
Regenerative agriculture has many ecological benefits, including the reversal of climate change via the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere. There are also so many social benefits for these Indian communities; the farms are a place of community and opportunity for both men and women.
The story of women in small rural communities in India is typically one of marginalisation, unfair pay, unequal opportunities and little education. ORGANIC INDIA is working to change this. The impact on the health and wellbeing of women has been remarkable.
Women, including marginalised groups such as widows, the elderly and illiterate, are integral in the farm, and work with their family in the fields with a shared purpose whilst being paid equal wages to the men. Women are also employed in processing at the environmentally award-winning processing plant in Chittoor where 95% of their employees are women.
Beyond direct employment opportunities, ORGANIC INDIA has proudly established many health programs and initiatives that directly benefit women:
- Free healthcare to farmers, their families and surrounding villages through their two health centres
- Women-specific healthcare including prenatal checkups and baby wellness care
- Gender-equality programs
- Provision of travelling surgeons to perform cataract operations to restore vision
- Provision of educational healthcare programs
- Empowering, training and employing marginalized women and paying them equal wages to men
These training and educational opportunities enable self-sufficiency and the development of skills to pass on to future generations, from mother to daughter.
When you see the smiling faces of women and their daughters in brightly coloured saris, working together in the regenerated fields of organic Tulsi and roses, hear them speak of their safe work environment and ability to support their family, it truly is inspirational. It is also a gentle reminder of what we take for granted.
“I have worked here for the past 20 years; one of my daughters is working here. I am happy because this work pays me well to run my family, it helps me to fulfil my family’s needs.” Sundari Devi, ORGANIC INDIA farmer.
Award Winning Ethical Enterprise Recognition
Along the way, ORGANIC INDIA USA has become a certified B Corporation, and for the last two years has placed in the top 10% of all certified B Corporations, scoring exceptionally well for ‘Mission and Engagement’, ‘Corporate Culture’, ‘Toxic Reduction and Remediation’ and ‘Supply Chain Poverty Alleviation’. They also won India’s first LEED Platinum certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for their sustainable herb processing plant.
By choosing ORGANIC INDIA you become part of this intricate web of connectedness, empowering Indian farmers, protecting Mother Earth and promoting your own health and wellness. Be part of the solution. Join the ORGANIC INDIA Healthy Conscious Living Movement!
About the Author: Sarah Holloway is an ORGANIC INDIA team member with a keen interest in Ayurveda and a background in environmental resource management. She is a proud Aunty and lives near Byron Bay with her husband and beloved pooch.