For Christmas, I received a copy of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as well as gave a copy. It's about being in touch with the producers of your food or producing it yourself, which is a goal that Mr. Tea Scoop and I aspire to. Perhaps not on the level of Kinsolver's family, but to a great extent. But what about luxuries such as tea?
There are a few options. First of all, you could move to Charleston, the only place that tea is commercially produced in the US, or Devon, England. Or to a tea-producing nation. Short of moving and being limited to one tea, there are other good choices you can make. Choose to purchase fair-trade, organic tea. I'm certainly not perfect in this, but I do pay attention. Many of my teas come as gifts, but I think about these options when I purchase tea for myself. By choosing these labels, you are making a difference. Also think about getting teas certified by the Rainforest Alliance for a more sustainable choice. Herbal infusions, while not a replacement for good old cammy sinensis, are available on a far more local basis. Peppermint, for example, is easy to grow in the garden (too easy, it grows like a weed so beware), for fresh or dried tea. It only takes a small pot to grow herbs, and can be done in any apartment, in a window box, on a balcony, or in your yard.
Then think about where you buy your tea. Even if the tea itself has to be imported, try to support local businesses when you can. If there is a small tea shop nearby, support them. They are struggling, and they need your help. If you don't have a local tea shop to support, do shop online. The tea has to be shipped, which is a little less green, but you can make broad choices. Look on Etsy...there might be someone on there closer to you who does tea blends. Look for the little tea companies, or companies that have a business plan that you can get behind. Read their mission statement if its available, and try to learn about the companies you support. Look for companies that give back to their communities or tea growing communities.
Encourage others to go local, go organic, and go fair trade. Any one of these choices is better than going to the grocery store and indiscriminately picking a box of tea off the shelf. And this goes for all your food. Think about where it came from and what you're putting in your body. Your body will thank you for it.