The Tea-Mate Toast:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all people are endowed with unique perspectives and special abilities that can transform their surroundings and ennoble the environment in a powerful way. As we come together and ask her, Wisdom will guide us to creative win-win solutions to all problems. There is a way we can all can feel at peace with the process, and where the benefits are shared. We believe that through encouraging one another, we will synergistically benefit ourselves.
A lifestyle of tea-drinking and blending herbal tonics began when I was pregnant with my firstborn, Basil, in 2005. The herbal infusion my midwife had me drink was something we called it Swamp Water. So, I started toying with what I could add that would make it tastier, but not water down the benefits.. This idea that I could drink water infused with natural compounds that could protect and tone my body, kill viruses and nourish me rocked my thinking. Adding rosehips for vitamin C such that the iron from the greens can be absorbed? What fun! I made a few blends to suit a few needs, Zap! to wake up; Conk, to fall asleep; Yule, an immune supporting winter-warmer; and Mountain Ma’am Chai, a nourishing spicy chai for kicking-ass working outside all day.
“Goodness Tea” was officially a thing in 2007 when I declared it a trade-name on my first business license. At the time I was landscaping enough that a license seemed in order, and my blends were popular with friends, so I got a license and registered names for my fledgling businesses: Integrated Earth Sustainable Horticulture and Goodness Tea.
I've kept up with the horticulture part-time as it is fulfilling, uncomplicated and peaceful, but in 2014, my world got rocked and I found myself in a position of needing to rethink my reality. Having three kids to care for through a difficult transition and unsure if I would have any help from their father, I decided to see if I could take my Goodness Tea dream and make it a reality so that I could support us and keep the parts of our life that were the most meaningful in tact. I set out to make job that allowed me to keep our homeschooling, farming and community-connectedness while providing income and stability.
To achieve my goal of creating a line of loose-leaf teas for retail in stores was way more complicated than I imagined. Thankfully, a few of my founding principles slowed me down enough to lay a solid foundation that I feel really good about. I mandated that I stay out of debt, always seek out life-affirming choices in my supply chain option (organic, fair trade, environmentally responsible), wait to take action until I feel peaceful, and try to make every deal a win-win. This has led to a consistent booth at the Port Angeles Farmer’s market for over two years, a retail line of loose-leaf teas, cookies, chocolates, macaroons and now a catering license for local seasonal food. I am blessed by the feedback and grace of the people at the market who have given me such encouragement while I’ve come late, brought burned cookies and forgotten orders.
Even more than that, I am inspired. This community has taught me what that word means. Comm-unity, its coming together with one heart, united to do life and society another way. Its where we actually care about each other and the area we live in. Its people stopping to talk to each-other, to lend a helping-hand and to consciously put our money where our values lie, building up the good around us. I was desperate, poor and unprepared, yet hopeful, persistent and determined to make my family’s life better. The people of the marketplace listened and kept encouraging me. Through rainstorms, failed equipment, a broken, healing heart and frequent sudden tears, I got here because of you- the one who cared enough to listen and look at me with compassion.
A most excellent example of the radical love and acceptance I’ve been shown is best illustrated my vending experience at BOOM Fest last July in Port Townsend Washington. It boils down to mad posse of volunteers supporting this single mom attempting to bring a drink booth and steel-cut-oat bar, three small children and diary goats with her while vending (and camping) at a weekend music festival. It was the birth of The Goodness Gang and really experiencing that some crazy ideas are totally worth going after! I jumped through licensing hoops in a new county and successfully camped with my children and my goats for the first time, while working! We had fresh milk miles away from home and totally felt like a competent business person and kick-ass modern gypsy mama. I didn’t get one wrist-band for a husband, but 5 wristbands for the friends that believed in me and helped pull it all together! Score one for the Win-Win-Work-Party Economic Movement.
Its been massively encouraging to see how my life has gone from instability and sadness to one of passionate hope and a deep feeling of security through the social connections I have in my life. I didn’t believe in myself, but others did, and now I am starting to see what can happen when we support each other through the rough patches. Through Goodness Tea, I hope to give away the freedom and joy I’ve found through my work.
I’m blessed now to offer cool jobs by taking on more Farmer’s markets and new retail outlets. Goodness Tea House will be open April 2017 making a place for us to hang out, scheme random acts of Guilla-Goodness and ramp up production. Through the Tea House, I am making a way to broaden the licensing so there are more ways to experiment and innovate, in partnership with other amigas , we will make make herbal vinegars and elixirs there too. The Sequim Farmer's market and other peninsula festivals will be be visited by The Traveling Teaology bar, ready for serving drinks and bringing the party with integrated speakers.
11% of our yearly profits go back to the community, and as we get more organized, specific products will be linked to organizations and causes. Our plan is to take our yearly profit figure from 2016, calculate 11% and distribute that amount to the following organizations: Olympic Nature Experience, Stream-keepers of the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Climbers, The Port Angeles Library System to support their seed bank, a banana-slug protection society and various research institutions advancing the studies of herbal medicines.
The Goodness Gang is planing a Spring 2017 Benefit Campaign to raise the money for a 3-month operation budget so that we can take the foundation and infrastructure I have created and magnify the work from mama’s-madness to being a fun cooperative company with at least three area farmer’s market boots, the teahouse, a retail line of tea, drinks, cookies, chocolates and macaroons, plus the option to vend at as many festivals as we want an inside track with! Here’s to teamwork, being the change we want to see the world and validating our claim of Goodness from the Ground Up!