Shaka Tea Eat the Overstory, Sell the Understory

ABUNDANCE x SUSTAINABILITY FOR HAWAIʻI-NEI

Shaka Tea Sunrise_Pulelehua Nanea Lum
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Shaka Tea is on a mission to be part of the solution for a more vibrant, sustainable and economically sound Hawaiʻi. 
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We hope we can serve as a model for how sustainable ag, premium export crops, and local food security (did you know Hawaiʻi imports 85%+ of our food?!) can be practiced in harmony. 
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One thing we talk a lot about with the 16+ small farmers we source from is a model for economic abundance that Hawaiʻi urgently needs with an "Eat the Overstory x Sell the Understory" mantra.
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Our teas are all brewed with herbal māmaki, an understory plant, needing partial shade. This makes it the perfect crop to grow underneath and/or alongside food crops for local consumption, such as ʻulu (breadfruit), banana, moringa, guava, starfruit, avocado, papaya, which are just some of the overstory crops our network of small farmers here on Hawaiʻi Island are working with.
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The model is pretty simple - we pay farmers a premium for their herbal, māmaki leaves, with the hope that this supports economic abundance and their ability to produce food crops for their own ʻohana and/or at more reasonable prices for local market usage.
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Below is an agroforestry example from Faceplant Farms in Puna complete with nitrogen-fixing pigeon pea as a cover crop; shown with ʻulu, kukui, and māmaki.
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Do you know every time you purchase Shaka Tea, you not only help put money into the hands of small, local farmers but you also help restore our native ecosystem! How? Māmaki is the host plant for our native and endangered pollinator butterfly, the Kamehameha Butterfly also known as pulelehua. Pulelehua illustration as shown on Shaka Tea's tea for home brewing packaging by contemporary Native Hawaiian artist, Nanea Lum. Follow her work on IG here @nanealum
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Shaka Tea Faceplant Farms Agroforestry
Written by Bella Hughes

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