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Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Avantika Jalan

It’s been about six months since Mana launch its expansion into the United States. We’ve launched a website selling our own teas- and completely re-done it. After a lot of effort, we managed to place our products on Amazon. We participated in the World Tea Expo and BioFach India Expo. We have expanded our social welfare team, and hired a new teacher for our partner tea estate’s schools.

As we take Mana to the next level, I have thought often about far we have come.

I started Mana five years ago as a vehicle to enable self-sufficiency in indigenous farming communities. To promote sustainability through organic farming.

But my vision for Mana has always been larger than just organic farming.  I believe the importance of improving health, education, and community systems of those making a product equals that of changing the method of production.

Mana has started work on these issues in our partner worker communities. We have organized a waste segregation and collection project that keeps worker housing clean and serves as an input into our organic compost. And we have helped guide our partner tea estate, Chota Tingrai, in designing a new, more robust drain system and monitoring its construction.

But really, these last six months have been about engaging the final piece of my vision of sustainability: our fans, friends, and customers.

I created Mana as a for profit business instead of an NGO because of the long-term nature of what I want to achieve. NGOs are excellent for projects with deadlines. NGOs can have a huge impact through disaster relief and reconstruction projects, eco-system restoration initiatives, poverty alleviation programs, and healthcare. But if an NGO is successful it should eliminate the need for itself. Communities should recover, ecosystem rejuvenate, people on poverty assistance programs should make enough income to no longer need the assistance, and government and the private sector should eventually provide healthcare. 

But the kind of work Mana does is not the kind finishes. We need cash flows in perpetuity to provide services to our partner communities. And for that we need to unite with customers. We need to engage customers in what we are doing, and bring them great products connected to that work.

And that’s what we have focused on for the last six months. Ensuring that Mana Organics’ tea is the best organic tea on the market, and getting it to you. 

Your support has mattered. Thanks to the business growth already seen these last six months, Mana has managed to convert another 18 hectares of tea— or about 18,000,000 cups annually – to organic management. Thanks to your orders, we have enabled Chota Tingrai Tea Estate to commit all future re-plantings to be organic. For workers, Mana has begun needs assessments for projects targeting increased access to banking and improved sanitation.

And Mana has just gotten started. As we grow, Mana plans to bring more small organic farmers into our production base to expand the range of our products and impact. Mana has already begun talks with women in worker communities to initiate new health care programs. And we hope to expand our work in our schools to other tea plantations next year. 

We are so thankful for your support in this endeavor. We hope you and your loved ones have a great Thanksgiving, and get to enjoy some delicious tea!

Thank you and happy Thanksgiving!

Avantika, John, MRTJ, Morgan, Deepa, Mahindra, Raju, and the whole of Chota Tingrai Tea Estate

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