Meet Belaynesh: Our Ethiopian herbal tea maker
It’s good to know where the stuff you buy comes from. At Rakkasan, we want you to know our growers aren’t nameless, faceless people working anonymously in distant lands. So today we want you to meet Belaynesh Berhe. She lives with her family not far from Butajira in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley.
A member of GreenPath Food’s first farmer cohort in 2015 (our partner), Belaynesh, her husband Aboneh Bargicho and their three children work on just over a quarter of an acre of land. While the field is small, mixed and seemingly chaotic, at a closer glance, their farm is a lush food forest with many avocado trees, vegetables, and herbs — all intentionally planted to complement each other's agro-ecological needs.
One year before joining GreenPath, Belaynesh was sewing maize, which she grew during the rainy season and received payment for only once per year. Now free from this monoculture cycle, her land yields a diverse offering of aromatic herbs and avocados. Belaynesh’s gardens include lavender, mint and sage, all of which Rakkasan features in our line of herbal teas.
You know them as Lavender Abyssinica, Ethiopian Mint and Abyssinian Sage.
Before working with GreenPath, Belaynesh earned 3,000 – 4,000 Ethiopian birr per year from her maize. That’s about $100 to $135 per year. Since then, Belaynesh has more than doubled her annual income from 13,721 birr to 28,000 birr last year. Today, she buys seeds and seedlings on credit from GreenPath. She also employs five seasonal laborers who work to maintain the land, during key periods of the year.
How you’re making a difference: Belaynesh earns the majority of her income from herbs and avocados. When asked about the change in her life over the last few years, Belaynesh tells us that her family was able to purchase four dairy cows for the farm and, soon, would like to get a car.
“My home life has changed completely,” she says. “I was able to pay for our son’s wedding, and now we are building a house for his family on our property.” She and her husband are planning for their second son’s wedding next year.
Learn more about Belaynesh's naturally caffeine-free herbal teas by viewing our selections and support her by making a purchase!