Guayaki Yerba Mate
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Changing our habits and turning ourselves onto sustainable systems that work for the planet takes work. It sounds wonderful when we read about it, but what are we doing, in our space now, to really affect change by spreading the message to those around us?

The crew at Teens Turning Green have been activating students on college campuses for years. They’ve just wrapped up their 2014 Conscious College U.S. tour, which began in March and covered campuses throughout the South and Midwest — from Houston all the way up to Ithaca.

They’ve shared alternatives in the form of sustainable, organic, fair trade foods and products, and followed up their demonstrations — which include lots of mate sharing — with a town hall meeting of student leaders engaged with the process of green change.

Many are already in tune with TTG’s mission to boost food and product consciousness. Others have quickly followed suit.

“In Kentucky, a student came up to me, and he would pick up products and go, ‘Tell me why this is sustainable,'” says Erin Schrode of TTG. “I think it’s more of a hearsay thing for a lot of students.”

Sustaining momentum for this movement can be a challenge — especially in parts of the U.S. where it isn’t mainstream to think so heavily about the production chain of your supermarket food.

Many of these products aren’t as easily accessible. But Schrode has seen really positive change over the last several years, thanks in part to the emergence of Whole Foods.

Sust Food

“Even if these kids aren’t the Whole Foods market shopping type, they all know where it is, and they know where to find it,” she says. “It gives them sort of a follow-up place to go.”

Being an active presence on campuses and encouraging students to create and continue the conversation about sustainability in their communities is an important step towards creating actual change.

“[It's been] that thing they’ve heard about, but it’s never been real,” Schrode says.

Follow TTG’s Conscious College blog and follow them on Twitter.

CCRT at Rice

Pope Francis, mate, and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez
Every time we pass a gourd, we can feel in our hearts the ability yerba mate has to transcend boundaries and bring peace, community, and connection. It’s exciting to see this spirit carried by the new Argentine Pope Francis as he takes on the papacy.

The ritual of enjoying yerba mate from a gourd is one a majority of Argentinians enjoy daily. Beyond its place in the hearts of Argentinians as a well-beloved tradition, yerba mate also contains a wealth of nutrients — a host of vitamins, minerals and other compounds, as well as caffeine to provide a welcoming boost.

Where to find organic Guayaki Yerba Mate

Pope Francis’s first gift from a world leader was a mate kit from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez (pictured above from Reuters), who presented the gift upon their first diplomatic meeting. The mate kit was made up of a new gourd, bombilla, and thermos to hold warm water.

We’re excited for the positive messages Pope Francis will share with the world, knowing that one who shares yerba mate holds intention of community, love, and peace. This is our daily practice and our company mission: explore for yourself the wonders of yerba mate and learn more about our work to restore the South American rainforest.

GMO protest in Honolulu

As a company with quality, sustainability and food justice sewn into our DNA, we feel the pull to join advocates for the right of all people to cultivate and enjoy their own food. We brought our vision to a gathering at the state capital in Hawaii to help protest GMOs, attend events and listen to the words of Dr. Vandana Shiva, a dear environmental activist, author, and powerful speaker.

Guayakians David Karr, Alex Pryor, and Patrick Lee traveled to greet the crowds at the capital building for three days of talks by Dr. Shiva. Beyond the joy of hearing great words by Shiva, the team came loaded, sharing about 500 cans and bottles of our organic, non-GMO yerba mate to a crowd hungry for quality non-GMO food and drink. Beautiful energy to add to the voices of the day.

For those who were unable to attend, it’s worth reading the transcript of Dr. Shiva’s speech at the capital. The moving way she weaves her words presents a powerful message for the way we produce our food worldwide, and the natural right we have as members of Earth to plant and harvest seeds to nourish ourselves and our global community. A big takeaway point: We are an interconnected species.

Alex Pryor and Dr. Vandana Shiva enjoy wonderful energy and a gourd of non-GMO yerba mate together.

Alex Pryor and Dr. Vandana Shiva enjoy wonderful energy and a gourd of non-GMO yerba mate together.

 

The Guayaki teams in North and South America both work tirelessly and passionately for the same rainforest mission, but we don’t often get to spend time together. Our recent trip to visit the Ache Guayaki in Paraguay was a very special experience for us: we got to participate in the yerba mate harvest, connect with the rainforest, and for many of us, it was a chance to meet the rest of our Guayaki family for the first time.

We asked our team members who went to South America to send a picture that stirred a memory of the trip and tell us a story. Each felt something different; everyone felt something magical.

Luke

The photo I picked was taken the morning after we arrived. We had a long day of travel and an amazing day at the Iguazu falls the day before. That night, we met all the other people (now friends) at the lodge and shared our stories and just hung out learning about who we all are. We knew by the end of the night we had a very strong connection and the energy was building. The picture is of Alex and Boy under a umbrella of light, energy, spirit (you tell me) waiting to start a  trip down the Iguazu river.
Now after the trip I see the light as a bond taking place that we all became part of throughout the remaining days and time with our Ache Guayaki family.

don Miguel

Amongst all the photos that I took along the way, this one stands out to me as encapsulating the unity of our group with the Guayaki children.  Luke had the idea of walking around the village and looking for the church.  As we set out, the kids took us by the hand and led us along the way.  Through their village amongst the trees, we encountered pigs, chickens, and a big ol’ black cow grazing in the futbol field.  We saw a few men hard at work on their new school house, with a termo and guampa nearby for requisite breaktime.  Next to the schoolhouse, we saw the organic garden that had been planted in which the children took great pride.  The photo was taken as we had made a half lap around the village seeing the day to day goings on of the Guayaki people in their little piece of paradise in Paraguay.
 
 

Janal

I’m not sure who took this photo but I love it. It’s a beautiful moment when you find yourself coexisting with nature. Harvesting alongside the Ache makes you so keenly aware that you are part of something unique and how lucky you are to be embraced by this amazing community. It was the most gratifying work I’ve ever done and it gives my daily work an additional layer of personal meaning.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bernadette

That third and final morning was sublime as I had finally unwound and grounded into the experience.  It was a gestalt. There was the peacefulness of the rainforest and the bounty if offered in the newly harvested, aromatic mate. The feeling of shared purpose and  connection with the Ache community and those of us who came to participate. There was curiosity in the air.  Even though we were from different parts of the globe with very different lifestyles, we knew our lives were intimately connected. That was really cool to experience. 

This is one of my favorite photos, because of what it going on. This is a photo of the 1st milling/culling of the mate which is done by hand in the forest by the whole community; men, women and children (perhaps 6 and older).  The leaves are stripped from the branches and whole small stems with leaves are broken into 4 to 5 inch pieces in preparation for the flash drying. I loved participating!Us adults worked mostly quietly and repetitively.  The children laughed and played, feeling proud to be old enough to participate, and the teens poked fun with each other. I think I will always remember that crack, crack, cracking of the stems being snapped, the sounds of the forest and that pervasive feeling of connection. The sharing of a tasty mate gourd at break gave much needed energy to carry on with the labor and brought it full circle!

Mateo

This is one of my favorite pics because it captures Margarite and Alex, who is such a powerful visionary for the Next Economy and how we can live in balance and harmony with nature on this planet.  And Margarite struck all of us as such a powerful leader.  She was able to very succinctly summarize the Aché’s struggle: To protect the forest and to rise out of poverty while maintaining their indigenous traditions and way of life.  It is a pleasure to be working at the side of these two in working to support the Aché’s struggle, and the struggle we all face to save our planet from collapse and learn to live in a balanced way with all life on earth.

See more awesome pictures from our trip on Pinterest.

Hello everyone! My name is Dorsey. It’s a pleasure to introduce myself. I’m an intern at two amazing environmental organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area (The Pachamama Alliance and Green For All), a part-time blogger, a babysitter, a caterer, and an environmental and political activist. Here’s how I fell in love with a plant that some of us know, and some of us are just waiting to discover.

I discovered yerba maté recently during a year I spent traveling and volunteering in South America. I was actually not in a part of the continent where maté is popular or easy to find, but thank goodness I made fast friends with a Chilean chica named Josefina (José for short) who traveled with a bombilla and a big bag of maté leaves. This was especially fortunate because in most parts of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia (where I was traveling) the only kind of caffeine you can find is instant coffee, or what I like to call instant stomach-ache. Instead of sitting in a stuffy café José and I would pass our hours in the plazas sipping down gourd after gourd of maté and feeling great about all of our decisions in life. The conversations would often center around how lucky we felt to be traveling the world, and what were our grand plans for helping humanity, saving our pachamama [Mother Earth], and changing the world. When we were forced to drink the instant coffee under fluorescent lighting I remember our conversations were not nearly so inspired. Read More