Uttar Pradesh Mint Project in India: Menthol crystals
Badger's Organic Menthol Crystals are produced in Uttar Pradesh, by Earthoil India's mint project. In 2003 Earthoil established this mint oil project which involved over 500 small-scale farmers from one region. These farmers had previously been growing mint oils conventionally and Earthoil encouraged the farmers to convert the project to organic, offering support and logistics to do so. Earthoil employed agronomists and field managers to oversee the project and educate the farmers on organic farming methods. This project is now overseen by Earthoil's Special Projects Director Rob Hardy - which means the project is given full time input and the farmers, field managers and agronomists have a point of contact on all issues relating to the project.
Rob oversees the organic certification of these lands and all the associated paperwork and documentation. Continuing its ethical approach to sourcing natural, organic oils, Earthoil remains committed to supporting its local farmers grow and harvest mint in India. Earthoil approved farmers receive an organic premium for their crop as well as a further contribution to a community fund, to be spent on projects to improve facilities and well-being of the local villagers.
Earthoil also established the Earthoil Organic Farming Foundation (EOFF) to ensure that premium fair trade payments are made to the community. Farmers democratically decide how these funds will be spent within their community - whether for health, education or cultural enhancement. In July of 2011, EOFF and project partner Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps completed the Deep Wells Project,
facilitating the development of twenty four fresh water wells in its Indian mint growing regions, and improving local health by bringing high quality drinking water to thousands of villagers in India’s Uttar Pradesh region.
The EOFF investment panel, which includes representatives of the head farmers, women from the community, Earthoil, key buyers and a local Red Cross representative, meets to identify key projects to be supported by the community fund. Whilst access to healthcare may seem an obvious priority, availability of good quality drinking water offers prevention rather than cure. Where wells already exist, they are shallow and susceptible to contamination, struggling to support increasing demands of irrigation and a growing population. The basic need is not for just any water, but for good quality drinking water, which has to be sourced from far below the surface.
The Fair for Life status reflects Earthoil's strong values and commitment to ethical trade. Fair for Life is a brand neutral, third party certification program for social accountability and fair trade in agricultural, manufacturing and trading operations. Earthoil's Fair for Life status was achieved by guaranteeing good working conditions, respecting core labor rights and ensuring the two smallholder groups have a fair relationship with Earthoil. Earthoil has two small-scale ‘clusters’ totaling 616 farmers, 259 of which are organically certified. All the farmers are registered under the “Fair for Life” certification. By shortening the supply chain, Earthoil has managed to achieve increased prices to the farmers without affecting the actual market price of the product.
For more information, please visit: earthoil.com