Three people carrying a large bag of dried herbs.

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Breaking down the big engine of agri-business and dreaming up a new way

Small to medium-scale farmers have to be super-human to perform within the current system (built by and for the big guys). We believe there’s a better way, which can value exceptional products and unique stories by connecting smaller producers to the right markets.

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The Grounded guide to sourcing goodness

As we attempt to repair the broken connections in our food systems and prove that fair and transparent value chains are more than a fantasy, we rely on a set of standards to help steer us. Grounded’s sourcing guidelines are a benchmark-bible for us and the farmers and businesses we work with; they reflect our values and commitment to our customers.

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A man's hands holding a bunch of lavender.
Aerial view of farmers working in their crops.

Farming forward: pathways and promise for smallholders

On the surface, Grounded’s projects vary hugely, landscape to landscape – from cultivating regenerative spices in the rainforests of Tanzania, to pioneering the honeybush tea industry with farmers in South Africa. No matter how diverse the opportunity or tailor-made our approach, when it comes to working with farmers and businesses, we’re seeking wholesale transformation for the long run.

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In conversation with a master: honeybush tea and the alchemy of excellence

This week we chat with Mingwei Tsai, Cape Town tea merchant, hospitality industry tea service trainer, and Grounded partner behind the five signature honeybush blends from the Langkloof Honeybush Company (LKHBCo).

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Honeybush tea: Conversation with a master on the alchemy of tea blending
Zambia’s Simalaha Community Conservancy

Thinking big and starting small in Zambia’s Simalaha Community Conservancy

Working with the principles of regenerative agriculture and learning to fail small in one of Africa’s most vital and vulnerable landscapes.

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Regenerative Agriculture, explained

We’re delving deep into the mysteries of regenerative agriculture with long-time partner and new Grounded team member Daniel Fourie. We learn how a little soil knowledge goes a long way to empowering farmers, and that stretchy definitions apply when it comes to understanding what regen. agri. actually is. Daniel tells us his approach to collaboration, and what thrills him most about transforming farming systems (spoiler: nothing is wasted).

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Regenerative agriculture, explained by Daniel Fourie
Essential Oils in Baviaanskloof, South Africa

Baviaanskloof Part III: The untold challenge of regenerative farming

Although the essential oil project we helped kickstart in the Baviaanskloof has transformed agriculture for a community of farmers there, it has failed to translate into significant income. Today, the farmers in the Baviaanskloof are still struggling.

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Honeybush sustainable harvesting and cultivation

We speak with Evert Greeff, Operational Manager of the Langkloof Honeybush Company, which is Grounded’s answer to supporting the emerging honeybush tea industry. Evert helps us parse the difference between wild harvesting and cultivation, and tells us why, when it comes to being mindful consumers, asking questions really, really matters.

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Honeybush sustainable harvesting and cultivation
Back to the Baviaanskloof feature image

Back to the Baviaanskloof: Attempting to fix what failed & fighting for regenerative agriculture

Even with the farmers’ profound generational knowledge and a variously skilled, highly committed international team, there were huge holes in our plans to bring economic and environmental change to a region facing all the challenges of agricultural transformation in this era.

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The Baviaanskloof Part I: A community embarks upon soil restoration

Enfolded in mountain ranges from north to south, the Baviaanskloof is South Africa’s largest wilderness area—a remote hardscrabble landscape, home to both humans and wildlife.

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Baviaanskloof soil restoration
What is so great about Honeybush?

What is so great about Honeybush?

Elzanne Singels, our resident botanist, tells us what is so great about honeybush.

For hundreds of years, people have thought honeybush to be an exceptional plant with healing properties. The Khoi and the San peoples, indigenous to South Africa’s Cape region, used the leaves medicinally—for everything from boosting immunity to treating respiratory illnesses like asthma, tuberculosis and pneumonia.

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What happens in our soils, and why do we care?

When you pick up a handful of dirt from your garden you are holding more living organisms than there are people on Earth. Underneath your feet is another world of living organisms—eating each other, fighting for resources, working together to survive. There are the microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, protozoa and nematodes, and then there are bigger ones you can see with your naked eye, like earthworms and ants. Everything you see above the ground—all the grasses, plants and trees—depends on what exists below the surface.

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What happens in our soils, and why do we care?
In conversation with Grounded co-founders

In conversation with Grounded co-founders Thekla Teunis and Gijs Boers

We chat about a chance meeting in Zambia and the unexpected career move that made it possible. They reflect on six years of digging deep into regenerative agri, the “big glue” that holds them together, and what success looks like in an ever-shifting landscape. Along the way, we hear their hard-won wisdom about self-care and an epic football metaphor.

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Getting Grounded:
Restoring connections between you, me and the stuff we consume

We’d like to share some of the amazing things we’ve learned about how our food system works. We invite you to think with us on what we like about it, and what we think should probably change. We’ll share our experiences, and we’ll be honest: this is not a story about turning the world from brown to green overnight. It is not a story about making farmers rich and consumers happy through some kind of miracle product.

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