Guayusa Tea is grown in biodiverse forest gardens that help conserve the Amazionian Rainforest.


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EC Ecuador


About the project Edit

Guayusa is a native Amazonian tree leaf that indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon have brewed like tea for thousands of years. Drinking guayusa is essential to what makes them “Runa”- fully alive.

Runa is creating a market in the U.S. for guayusa, a rich tasting, naturally caffeinated tea sustainably grown by indigenous farmers. Prior to Runa, many smallholder farmers had no other option than to maintain intense agricultural production, owing to the loss of land and limited access to markets, which further depleted the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.
Runa has created change since it began in 2009.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Guayusa offers a clear, focused energy by balancing as much caffeine as one cup of coffee with twice the antioxidants of green tea, while protection the Rainforest, producing clean energy, planting trees and sharing tradition.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Runa’s mission is to create livelihoods for indigenous farmers in the Amazon. They believe people everywhere can benefit from the bounty of the Amazon without destroying it, starting with the people who live there.

It has generated over $100,000 of direct income for over 2,000 farming families—an impressive average farmer income increase of 30 per cent—and has planted over 200,000 trees.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Runa now supports 2,000 farming families, employs more than 40 people, and is proving that sustainable, high-impact businesses in the Amazon can support producers and connect consumers to ancient traditions.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Runa began as a conversation over tea, during the hours before sunrise in the Amazon rainforest. In the winter of 2008, a team of students traveled to the Ecuadorian Amazon to participate in an ancestral tea ceremony with the Kichwa people – a tradition of storytelling, music, and learning – all centered around a large boiling pot of guayusa tea over a burning fire.

Collectively, Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie envisioned a business that could share this rich-tasting tea – a business that would respect cultural traditions, support small farmers, and maintain the integrity of the Amazon rainforest.

Runa, meaning “fully living human being,” continues to grow from this seed of conversation and exchange. The Runa team is energized to share this tea tradition with a global community.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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