Our first trip to India was 12 years ago and our hearts were immediately engaged by the people, the spirituality, the culture, and the food. We were fortunate to discover a wonderful organic cooperative in Karnataka State. Upon visiting the farms,we quickly knew these were people and a project we wanted to support. Not only are the products incredibly high quality, but they are always fresh, meaning our customers are always receiving the current year’s harvest.
Since first partnering with this cooperative, we have learned much more about the history of agriculture in the region. Prior to the advent of modern agriculture and its insistence on massive pesticide use, India was known for its sustainable, small-scale, subsistence farms; they were the mainstay of every Indian community. For a period of time, Monsanto tried to insert itself but the crops failed and the people rebelled. Now the organic food movement is once again spreading a healing balm across the country, bettering farmers’ lives and increasing household incomes.
South India Farms
We support 1400 farmers under a cooperative umbrella covering close to 10,000 acres of certified organic land in Karnataka State. Our true cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, smoked chili flakes, and stevia come from these certified organic farms, some of which are FairTrade certified. This group consists of mainly small and marginal farmers who undergo group certification to get their land certified. Receiving this certification allows these individuals to farm organically, releasing them from the need to purchase the expensive chemicals used in traditional farming methods.
These Indian farmers plant food forests, also called inter-cropping, where multiple crops grow harmoniously and life thrives, rather than mono-cropping, which negatively impacts the soil and the ecosystem. This system ensures the farmer gets more income from the same piece of land. The farmers are supported every step of the way by the cooperative, learning about seed procurement, building soil, harvesting, storage, and food safety practices.
The state-of-the-art facility in Bangalore, where all crops are processed, is gluten free and kosher certified. This facility has achieved BRC, the highest level of global food safety, in addition to operating under a stringent Internal Control System and complete farm-to-customer traceability.
We re-invest our total sales back into grassroots projects in the communities around the world where our products are grown.
North India Farms
Our North Indian community sourcing partners work at the farm level with hundreds of certified organic, small scale farmers who grow organic spices and use sustainable farming practices. Our cumin, coriander, fennel, onion, and garlic come from these small scale farms.
The grassroots organic movement is spreading across India, resulting in not only better care for the environment, but better quality of life for the farmers too. Our community sourcing partners have certified organic state-of-the-art processing facilities, international food safety certification, allergen-free declarations and kosher certification. This results in the highest quality products delivered fresh to Gathering Place several times a year.
During the years of Covid lockdowns and limited travel ability, we diversified our supply and haven’t been able to visit these suppliers and farmers in North India. We hope to rectify this, and visit, sometime in 2024!
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