Zocalo Café hosts celebration of fair trade tea

Hear how a group of young tea growers from Assam are changing the face of Assam’s tea industry.

Enjoy tapas inspired by the flavours of India, listen to some great live and recorded music, and hear how a group of young tea growers from Assam are changing the face of Assam’s tea industry at a celebration of fair trade tea here in the Comox Valley.

It’s all taking place Oct. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Zocalo Café.

The event marks the 10th anniversary of the Assam Tea Project, a local initiative that provides encouragement and training in organic farming practices to small-scale tea growers, farmers and families from northeast India.

The initiative got its start in 1999 when, encouraged by increasing sales and support for their fair trade coffee project, members of the World Community Development Education Society began looking for a supply of organic tea.

They asked friends Kel Kelly and Peggy Carswell, who’d just returned from several months travelling in northeast India, for help — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the next year, Carswell learned all she could about India’s tea industry and organic tea cultivation, and returned to Assam to track down a good quality black, loose-leaf tea. Several months later, she’d located a small handful of growers scattered throughout the state who were enthusiastic about the idea of producing organic tea.

But there was a problem.

They had no concept of what growing organically actually entailed, and the rolling machines, dryers and processing equipment were extremely expensive and designed for large-scale factories not family-based operations.

While Carswell eventually found a larger, well-established company that could provide World Community with certified organic and fairly traded tea, she didn’t lose hope that with training and support, the small-scale growers could eventually begin producing their own teas.

For the past decade, proceeds from the sale of World Community’s tea, topped up with an annual donation from Edible Island, have helped Fertile Ground, an enthusiastic group of volunteers from the West Coast — and the growers — accomplish that goal.

Learn more about the remarkable group of tea growers, sample their teas, and join World Community, Edible Island and Fertile Ground in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Assam Tea Project.

The Zocalo Café is located at 208 Fifth St. in Courtenay. Admission is by donation.

As seating is limited, organizers suggest calling Zocalo before the event to make reservations at 250-331-0933. Visit www.fertile-ground.org for more information.

— Fertile Ground

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A mother duck leads her brood of ducklings past some benches in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School in Courtenay. Photo by Kailena Krutzmann
Ducklings bring joy to students at Courtenay school

Brood of duckings in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School

The current location of Comox Valley Search and Rescue on Moray Avenue in Courtenay. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Search and Rescue aiming to purchase a roof for their rescuers

Their goal is to raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million, approximately the purchase price of a facility

A bear is seen walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday (May 9) morning. Video screenshot/Kristie Cave
Video: Bears spotted throughout Comox Valley

Hide food sources, keep garbage away: conservation

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

Carter Woods of Cumberland won a World Cup mountain bike race Saturday… Continue reading

The flowers of Darmera peltata (Indian rhubarb) before the leaves emerge. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: Plenty of ‘wow’ factor in the garden in spring

Leslie Cox Special to The Record I can’t help it. I like… Continue reading

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Island community

Crofton residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, critics say, demanding redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Most Read