At the end of winding gravel tracks trodden by donkey carts, red espresso is injecting hope into the lives of some of rooibos’ original custodians with our outreach farming project, Seeds of Hope, which we launched in 2014. Unchanged for centuries, the whitewashed mission villages of the upper Cederberg had become some of the poorest and most isolated communities in South Africa. But with red espresso’s help their destiny has been forever changed.
In the footsteps of their ancestors
Rooibos courses through the veins of these subsistence farmers who have grown the hardy shrub for generations. By assisting them with seed, transport, ploughing equipment and agricultural know-how, red espresso has drastically improved both their production capabilities and their route to market. And we’ve given them a reason to jump out of bed every morning.
Fair trade principles transform communities
What’s more, at the end of the production cycle, red espresso guarantees these farmers a consistent, premium price regardless of supply or market trends. The cash injection is unprecedented in the area. One farmer has upgraded his donkey cart to a Hilux; others have opened bank accounts for the first time ever. And what started as a trickle is rapidly becoming a stream. The number of farmers participating in the program has increased exponentially with every passing year.
Dignity is sweeping through the forgotten villages like a hot summer wind
For decades these communities have been priced out of the modern world. The high cost of seed, transport and ploughing equipment and the reluctance of the marketplace to pay top dollar for premium quality tea, caused youngsters to seek work elsewhere and the older generation to twiddle their thumbs. Seeds of Hope is giving pride and purpose to these true custodians of rooibos.
“I’ve lived in Heuningvlei all my life and have been farming since I left school. But everything has changed since red espresso started to give me seedlings and plough my land. I now earn more than I could ever have imagined. red espresso is making a difference for my generation.” Ghal Ockhuis, subsistence rooibos farmer
There's a little bit of hope in every cup
Every time you enjoy a rooibos red cappuccino, latte or macchiato you’re helping a subsistence farming family in the furthest reaches of the Cederberg to reclaim the pride and purpose that have been missing from this neglected corner of South Africa for so long. You’re also savouring the purest single origin rooibos on the planet. Who ever said doing good can’t taste good too?