We work with farms where women are at the heart of management, or often, women are the tea pluckers. It’s rare to work with a woman owned tea farm! Meet Sonia, single mother, writer, photographer and tea estate owner in Darjeeling District, India. Female tea estate owners, tea masters or tea managers are not typically women. Sonia operates her estate and factory with a unique style. She works collaboratively with her staff, and its evident in the factory with the men and women on her team. She promotes the most qualified for the job, regardless of gender.
The hand picked artisan tea is delicious. The estate dates back to 1884, five generations in Sonia’s family. The tea produced today comes from heritage tea plants, which certainly contributes to the exceptional taste. Sonia has the farm in transition to organic. The process required to transition a farm to organic takes many years, and therefore steadfastness and patience. The tea plants need time to develop their natural resistance to pests without the aide of pesticides. During this transition, the tea is not plucked, lowering the farms overall production. Sonia established an environmental curriculum for the children of her one thousand employees called Hathi Sathi, or Elephant Friend. The Hathi Sathi philosophy is that if the younger generation values a healthy lifestyle and environment for people and animals, that we can all live healthier lives in the future. The program teaches the children about the natural environment and elephants.
Sonia is striving to make a difference with the elephants, her employees’ lives, and finding a better way to live a life. She knows that she must involve both men and women equally to make this happen. Lake Missoula Tea Company is excited to sell tea that comes from farms where women are in positions of power.