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Seriously, Everybody
Should Farm Organic

A World Health Organization report estimated that across all agricultural industries worldwide there may be more than one million serious unintentional poisonings each year from synthetic herbicides and pesticides. And in Asia, where official statistics are hampered by inconsistent self-reporting, it is estimated there could be as many as 25 million agricultural workers in the developing world suffering an episode of poisoning each year.

 

Our Organic Tea
Facility in Seattle

Choice Organic Teas’ products and Seattle facility are Certified Organic by Quality Assurance International, an independent third-party organic certifying agency. This means that every aspect of the cultivation, handling, and packaging of our teas is carefully inspected to ensure the authenticity of our promise of organic integrity.
Quality Assurance International


Quality Assurance International
Our Organic Certifier

USDA Organic
National Organic Standards

Organic Trade Association
Promotes and Protects
Organic Trade

Organic Consumers Association
Watchdog of Organic Issues

 


Since our inception in 1989, Choice Organic Teas has questioned the quality of existing conventional teas produced with the aid of destructive synthetic chemicals. These chemicals devastate not only the soil used to cultivate tea (and any other food), but systematically destroy the surrounding ecosystem and the health of the very people who farm the land.

It remains the goal of Choice Organic Teas to raise awareness across an industry dominated by conventionally cultivated tea to the benefits of sourcing of organic teas. We ask consumers to look for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal to ensure that your tea was grown and processed according to the National Organic Standards.

Here are a few reasons why:

Improved soil fertility
Toxic chemicals are bypassed, freeing soil from exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides. Workers instead rely on substances such as compost, natural organic matter, and plants to provide the necessary ground cover and nutrients. Weeds and insects are controlled with traditional techniques such as crop rotation, mulching, and the encouragement of “beneficials” – such as extra, pest-controlling spiders. Organic soil also has far more earthworms and soil microbes.

Studies show that healthy, live soil at an organic tea garden returns far higher crop yields per unit of energy and fertilizer expended than conventional farming methods. Diversity is healthy.

Better for wildlife
Organic cultivation of tea is better for local wildlife. The Soil Association, an international organization for organic cultivation, notes that a typical organic field has five times as many wild plants, 57 percent more animal species, and 44 percent more birds than a conventionally cultivated farm. Conventional synthetic herbicides and pesticides often kill non-target animals, plants, and insects.

The Times of India reported that at least 10 leopards and five elephants died between 1999 and 2001 due to leakage of pesticides from tea gardens in West Bengal. Certainly more have died since then. When mixed with other solvents, these pesticides exert a massive toxic effect on the environment for a long duration, affecting birds, animals and humans.

Safer for humans
If organic farming is safer for wildlife, it is certainly safer for the workers in the tea gardens. On conventional tea estates, the health security for the workers is very low. According to Oxfam, a British non-profit agency working to put an end to poverty world-wide, the spraying of pesticides on tea estates is often done by untrained casual daily wage workers, sometimes even by children and adolescents, who are illiterate and cannot read the warnings on the containers.

Many tea farmers spray their plants upwards of 15 to 20 times each year depending on pest infestations. Most of the chemicals they are using (such as - Aldrin 20E, Carbofuran 30, Endosulfan 35 EC, Malathion 50 EC, Tetradifon 8 EC, Calixin 80 EC) are listed as hazardous and toxic, and a number of them are banned in western countries. Despite the dangers of exposure to toxic materials, workers frequently are barefoot and in shorts rather than protected by recommended safety gear such as masks, gloves, rubber boots, and polythene aprons.

Choice Organic Teas response
Ultimately, the decision to buy organic products is a choice you make for yourself. If you were to buy a conventional apple at the store, you'd be sure to wash it off before eating it. With tea, though, the first time you "wash" the leaves is when you brew the tea to drink it.

When people here at Choice Organic Teas are asked, "Why are you organic?" our response is quick. The answer is easy. "How could we be anything other than organic?"

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