From The Farm To Your Hands: Why Our Sourcing Matters
- Published on: 03 September, 2020
- Last update: 03 September, 2020
We source from incredible humans around the world who we’ve been lucky enough to build relationships with – from the community in Vanuatu who harvests and hand dries our kava root for Peace Juice, to the husband and wife duo in New Mexico who retired from their law firm and decided to give back to the earth with a biodynamic farm.
Our meticulous quality standards start with the finest, healthiest plant material sourced from both:
- (a) trusted organic and biodynamic farms, and
- (b) our network of ethical wildcrafters that we’ve built strong relationships with over time.
Ethical wildcrafting means that you’re wild-harvesting plants that are growing untamed in their native habitats; these plants are untouched by pesticides, chemicals, or any sort of human intervention. This is as ‘organic’ as it gets, and we vet all of our ethical vendors with a rigorous qualification process (many of them, our manufacturer has known for decades). While we are a forward-thinking company that wants to make herbs accessible for the modern human, we also value the preservation and respect of tradition above all. The traditional wildcrafting code of ethics maintains that you must ensure you are in an untouched, unsprayed area, and you may only forage from a healthy and large stand of plants. You are never to harvest more than 1/4 of a plant stand, and you must come across the plant 4 times before harvesting.
“Never taking the first means never taking the last.”
Other than supporting wildcrafters, we aim to source most of our herbal ingredients from our local organic and biodynamic farms located across the United States. For example, our Lemon Balm, Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, and more come from one of our most beloved farms in New Mexico, surrounded by horses, mountains, and healthy symbiotic wildlife.
This farm is located on sacred land that has been carefully passed down for centuries only to those who have vowed to give it the care it deserves. A husband and wife duo from New York who spent their careers as lawyers stumbled upon this land while searching for a meaningful way to spend their retirement. As soon as they set foot on the property, they were overcome with a deep knowing that the land “chose them.” At first they were nervous, even skeptical about continuing the legacy of growing herbal medicine due to their backgrounds in corporate law… but they listened to their hearts and soon saw the impact they were able to make on the health of so many. This farm is now their life, and they put their whole hearts into growing the herbs that are in your formulas. They strictly follow biodynamic processes, which is a step above even organic growing practices. This means they follow the lunar calendar and phases of the moon when planting and harvesting.
Instead of using pesticides, even natural plant pesticides like neem leaf, they choose to grow intentional flowers around specific crops to create a harmonious environment that attracts beneficial bugs to crowd out the pests. Seasonally, they rotate things like sunflowers around our various herbs to protect them and create a symbiotic ecosystem that protects both the land and the plants. These beneficial plants don’t get rid of all the pests, of course… but here’s the best part: their goal is to NOT have perfect plants.
While we always want plant material that is free of sprays and chemicals, we don’t necessarily want pristine, untouched leaves and flowers. Why? Because herbs and plants that have been in contact with the ecosystem around them, including a few bugs that present them with a slight “challenge,” get a lot stronger over time and secrete more of the plant chemicals that we’re looking for in our herbal medicine. Plants that face a healthy level of adversity become healthier and stronger in the long run, which means they also make us stronger.
Other plants we use in our blends come from even smaller family farms. Our Skullcap for example, found in Mood Juice and Sleep Juice, comes from a family in Minnesota who grows exclusively for our manufacturer every year. This plant grows abundantly on their land, and we’re able to get everything we need from this one extremely special source.
Lastly, because we blend herbs from different traditions, there are times when we’re not able to source a plant in the U.S. because it’s only able to grow in its native climate and habitat. This is the case for Kava Root, a plant that is native to the Pacific Ocean islands. Rather than sourcing our Kava from Fiji, where pesticides are so often used, we source it sustainably from a small community of farmers in Vanuatu (which is also helping to build their economy).
The Kava is harvested by way of community effort, where families get together and collect it together from its synergistic ecosystem where no pesticides are used and many communal plants grow by its side. No plows or machines are used in the harvesting process; it’s all done by hand as it has been for years. The Kava is then dried in the shade and carried by each member of the community to speed boats where it then takes 6 hours for it to reach a place where it can be sent to us for our formulas.