New Directions for Tea in India
The seemingly impossible is happening at Nuxalbari Tea Estate in the Darjeeling District. A woman is running this major tea operation in India. She has paradigm shifting ideas for the people, animals and tea on her estate. Thus, she is taking India’s tea growing traditions in new directions. Sonia Jabbar is responsible for the livelihoods of over 1,000 people who grow, pick and process tea on the 1,200 acre estate. Five years ago, she decided to transition to an organic farm and now has 200 acres of organic tea bushes. She also decided her estate would become an Elephant corridor, providing habitat connectivity for Asian Elephants.
Sonia’s management approach at Nuxalbari is collaborative and team centered. She’s not afraid to put women or men previously passed up into leadership positions. Through lots of hard work and reflection on where the tea industry in India is headed, her vision is to produce larger quantities of premium loose-leaf teas for specialty markets and limit the amount of CTC tea they produce.
Sonia is committed to the environment and is planting 100 acres of rainforest for Elephants and other native wildlife. She started a children’s environmental education program called Hathi Sathi. Through Hathi Sathi, the children of her staff understand the importance of living in an elephant corridor. Sonia has transformed her tea farm into an elephant sanctuary by educating her staff and their families on how to be calm around elephants. While we were there, she met local farmers about Nuxalbari establishing an insurance program that would help them when the elephants eat their crops.
Sonia’s altruism is astounding. This single mother to a little girl understands that all actions have reactions, and she is all-in when it comes to protecting the environment, wild Asian elephants, and implementing a sustainable development model, providing better jobs and healthier people.
We are proud supporters of Sonia and her new directions for tea at Nuxalbari Tea Estate. When you buy any black blend at Lake Missoula, you are supporting Nuxalbari, Sonia and the new face of sustainable tea. Thank you!
To purchase tea we source from Nuxalbari Tea Estate, try our Darjeeling Shanti Hathi Peaceful Elephant black tea, and bring delicious, environmentally responsible tea to your cup!
We would also like to thank Lisa Mills with Elephant Friendly, a program under Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, for introducing us to Sonia. This introduction gave us the opportunity to learn more about the complexities of the Indian tea market and the many challenges Asian elephants face in the 21st century.
Previous Post | Next Post