Our organic vision
The world faces a climate and biodiversity crisis, and we believe organic farming is an essential part of the solution. Studies show that organic farms are biodiversity havens, with almost 50% more pollinator species and 75% more plant species than non-organic farms. At Pukka, we have only ever used certified organic herbs to make our herbal creations - and that will never change. But now we’re going even further, by working to encourage the best organic farming methods which at Pukka we call Best Practice Organic.
Best Practice Organic agriculture
We have developed our own Best Practice Organic Toolkit which includes farming techniques that enable wildlife and the soil to thrive, as well as having a social focus, benefitting farmers and wild collectors. Our projects are collaborative and people-centred, recognising that environmental and social outcomes are strongly interlinked. Through our Best Practice Organic programme we provide financial support to farmers to employ best practices, with a focus on achieving resilience-building outcomes in six key areas of social and environmental change:
Our Fair Trade Certifications
As our business grows, we will need to keep finding more certified organic and fair sources for our herbs. This involves nurturing many long-standing existing partnerships around the world as well as working with new growers, encouraging them to adopt the Fair for Life and FairWild standards, which are the most robust fair-trade certifications available today.
A selection of our Best Practice Organic agriculture projects
Protecting the giant trees in the Western Ghats
The Western Ghats is a beautiful and vast biodiversity hotspot in India, and also where we source FairWild bibhitaki and haritaki. Unfortunately, the area is also at risk from illegal logging. We have collaborated with a local NGO to protect an area of 170 acres and enable the people there to find new value and uses for the forest fruits, so that the trees are worth more standing than they are cut down.
Fennel intercropping in Turkey
Pukka is working on a pilot project with our supplier in Turkey to improve soil health and increase carbon capture on farms where fennel is grown for our teas such as Relax and Fresh Start. By sowing nitrogen-fixing legume crops under the fennel, farmers can suppress weeds and reduce the need for irrigation, which in turn enhances crop quality and yield. Local researchers from Ege University are monitoring and analysing results, and we plan to use our learnings to expand the technique across other cultivated herbs.
Helping smallholder farmers adapt to climate change in Nepal
Changing weather patterns due to climate change are making farming more challenging for smallholders in rural Nepal, where we source turmeric. Local knowledge about growing food for the household has been lost, reducing people’s nutrition from kitchen gardens. Pukka is collaborating with the Nepalese government and our herb supplier Martin Bauer Group to improve food security in these communities. Over the next four years, together we’ll help 700 smallholders access support, training and information on traditional, organic farming techniques that will go even further to naturally replenish the soil, boost yields and improve household nutrition.
Author: Marin Anastasov
Head of Procurement
Marin Anastasov grew up in Bulgaria, where he was involved in sustainable herb collection and wild resources management. He studied agriculture and subsequently completed MSc in Organic farming at Aberdeen University. Marin joined Pukka Herbs as Sourcing manager and has since led the development of the value chain, balancing the demands of rapid business growth, ethical trade and environmental conservation.
Years of experience:
25 years in organic food and farming
Marin is a Master Beekeeper and holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping, which is the highest beekeeping qualification awarded in the UK. He has active involvement in British Beekeepers Association and runs training courses for furthering the craft of beekeeping.
Marin has two MSc. One in Food Science and Technology and another one in Organic Framing. They both support his work at Pukka when it comes to compliance to standards, farming, cultivation and sourcing of our herbs, as well as herb processing and tea manufacture.