The United Nations passed a resolution declaring May 21st as International Tea Day as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goal of this day is to bring awareness to the importance of tea and the millions of families in developing countries whose livelihoods depend on it.
Observance of International Tea Day is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. By focusing on sustainability in every step of the supply chain, they hope to address pressing issues like food security and climate change that affect the poor rural areas where tea is grown.
Did You Know?
- Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water.
- Smallholders account for about 60% of global tea production.
- 9 million smallholders in China, India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka make their living by producing tea.
- The FAO has designated four Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems in China, Korea and Japan.
How to Celebrate International Tea Day
International Tea Day is not just about drinking tea. Here are some ways to celebrate in a way that honors the intentions that the United Nations set.
- Attend the FAO’s webinar.
- Tune into the SofaSummit being hosted by the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.
- Evaluate your tea stash to see just how sustainable the teas you have are.
- Know where your tea comes from. Commit to making more sustainable and ethical choices in the future.
- Celebrate your favorite smallholder tea producers and spread the word about them.
- Share your favorite sustainably produced teas with friends and family, especially those that are new to tea.
- If you share tea on social media, make sure to educate by including why this day is celebrated in your caption.
Here is a video from last year’s celebration that will give you an idea of what this special day is all about.
What You Should Not Do
I’ve noticed quite a bit of confusion in the past about what the point of this holiday is. That led to some social media campaigns that really missed the mark. Here are some things that you should not do.
- Do not promote tea from multi-national corporations with no traceability and a history of unsustainable or unethical practices.
- Do not use this day as an excuse to promote your own company or sales of tea. The spotlight is meant to be on the people who make our cups of tea possible!
- Do not use the hashtags #internationalteaday or #teaday without sharing what International Tea Day is all about.
I hope that this post can help clear up some of the misconceptions about this day. As tea drinkers, we must vote with our wallets. I try my best to purchase and promote teas that are ethically and sustainably sourced as much as I possibly can. Paying more for our tea ensures the industry’s longevity, but change for the better will only happen if consumers demand it.
How do you plan to celebrate International Tea Day this year? Let me know in the comments below!