Tea farmer in India leads charge for organic, evades the charge of elephants

In the biggest tea-growing region in India, the hazards alone range from red spider mites to herds of wild elephants.

Grower Tenzing Bodosa, a native of Assam, fights the former and unusually invites the latter.

From the large Bodo tribe and widely known by his first name, Tenzing stands beside the vermilion flames of a brick oven that provides the heat for a drying contraption erected in his backyard.

Tenzing Bodosa is a tea grower and a staunch practitioner of organic farming. He stands in his small tea estate beside the nature preserve he has cultivated.

Furkan Latif Khan/NPR

Here, tea leaves plucked from Tenzing’s small estate are fermented, dried and sorted.Next comes packaging and marketing,” he says with the same wide smile that adorns his tea label.

Tenzing is a marketer’s dream. He exudes a passion for tea, gratitude toward his supporters, and an affability that attracts guidance. Visitors from as far away as Europe have turned up at his door, helping him learn social media and new farming methods.