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Purchasing at source

No matter whether it’s tea leaves from Darjeeling, Arabica beans from Mexico or peppermint from Upper Austria: quality has a source. We therefore purchase our raw materials directly from our agricultural partners all over the world. Learn more about our growing partners, some of whom we have been working with for decades here.



Ambootia – Superior Tea from Darjeeling

Ambootia Tea Garden in the Darjeeling region of the southern Himalayas has been combining economic success with ecological and social commitment for years. 

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Sanjay Bansal, the tea garden's owner, converted the whole production to biodynamic cultivation methods in 1994. Nowadays, workers and their families are supplied with environmentally-friendly energy from a biogas plant and a hydroelectric installation. In addition, employees enjoy extensive benefits: a regular income with profit sharing, medical care and support in vocational training. An important social and economic contribution is made by the "worker's garden project": The small Demeter-certified "worker's gardens" can be used by the tea garden's employees to grow their own plants.

Ambootia employee Mr Pradhan: "My name is Dhurba Pradhan. I live with my family in Panch Gheria, a small village within the tea garden. I was given a piece of land directly by my house which I use to grow ginger. The additional income which I earn from the sales gives me financial security, so I can offer my family a very good standard of living. Besides, I save part of the money for my daughter Sumritee." Ulrich Walter GmbH has been purchasing teas from Ambootia since the late 1990s.

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Sekem – Herbs and Spices from the Desert

Sekem – Herbs and Spices from the Desert

About 30 years ago, Dr Ibrahim Abouleish started to turn his vision of an oasis in the desert into reality. In the north of Egypt, right in the middle of nowhere, the Demeter farm Sekem came into being.

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By now it offers jobs for about 2.000 people. Besides agriculture, Sekem comprises processing plants as well as childcare facilities, a school, a health centre, training centres and a private university. Well over half of all Sekem products are sold in Egypt. 

Ulrich Walter and Ibrahim Abouleish have been connected for 25 years by more than the production of organic foods. For both visionaries, ethical values and economical success are inseparable. And their success proves them right.

Ulrich Walter GmbH was one of the first customers for herbs and spices grown by Sekem and thus made "the whole development of biodynamic medicinal herbs in Egypt possible" (Dr Ibrahim Abouleish). For one another and with one another, the German-Egyptian alliance has grown over the years. 

Dr Ibrahim Abouleish has received numerous awards for the exemplary way in which he has been harmonising ecological, social and cultural aspects. Ulrich Walter was especially proud when his friend and business partner of many years received the German Federal Cross of Merit in 2008.

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Finca Irlanda – Coffee from Mexiko

In the mountains of the Mexican state of Chiapas, the world's oldest organic agricultural project is situated: Finca Irlanda. Since 1928, the year in which the Demeter trade mark was launched, finest Arabica offee has been grown here according to biodynamic cultivation methods on an area of 300 ha.

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Unlike conventional plantations, Finca Irlanda relies on the combination of coffee crops and nature. Big shade trees protect the delicate coffee plants from solar radiation while at the same time their root systems protect the soil against erosion. Furthermore, groundcover plants are planted as an additional
measure against erosion.

For Finca Irlanda, “avoidance” is the most sensible way of protecting the environment. For a long time, the large amounts of wastewater which could not just be channelled off due to its organic contamination were a problem. The water needed for processing is abundantly available in this rainy region. In order to drastically reduce the amounts of wastewater, Finca Irlanda invested in a new plant for coffee processing. The now much smaller amount of wastewater which is left over after processing the coffee – a process during which the pulp is removed from the seed (the bean) – is fed into a biogas plant in which the organic part is reused. After passing through a multilevel plant purification system, the purified water is used to irrigate the young nursery plants. 

To the people on Finca Irlanda, environmental protection also means active protection of animals and plants: About ten percent of the plantation is specially protected as a nature reserve. This area is well-known among biologists for its biodiversity.

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Bio Foods – Cinnamon from Sri Lanka

Bio Foods – Cinnamon from Sri Lanka

The finest cinnamon in the world grows in the highlands of Sri Lanka. Aromatic, sweet, warm and rarely bitter: in no other place does cinnamon develop as fine a flavour as in former Ceylon. Lebensbaum Ceylon-Zimt (Ceylon cinnamon) naturally comes from this region, too.

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The harvest is during the monsoon, from May to October. When thick clouds envelope the highlands, it rains cats and dogs, steam tops the damp earth and the aromatic substances in the bark of the cinnamon trees are particularly highly concentrated. Another advantage is that the damp bark can be removed more easily from the wood and better processed during the rains. It is scraped off by hand; the thin inner layer is separated from the wood with a knife; and six to ten of these inner layers are interlaced, rolled and dried. That is the cinnamon stick that we recognize, but these sticks are still half a metre long.

They become dry and are hygienically stored at small collection points. Our partner Bio Foods collects the cinnamon sticks together, saws them up in a machine constructed especially for this purpose and then sends the precious freight on the long journey to Lebensbaum.

Bio Foods founder Dr. Sarath Ranaweera is a respected man in Sri Lanka. His company, which he founded in 1993, specializes in high-grade spices in Demeter quality. Cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, ginger and nutmeg grow on the plantation. The spices are cultivated by small farmers using traditional methods. That means lower harvest yields, but this produces high quality.

It is not only the special quality of the produce, yet also a demonstrable responsibility for nature and mankind which makes Bio Foods the perfect Lebensbaum partner. To help promote traditional agriculture, Ranaweera founded the Small Organic Farmers Association (SOFA) in 1997. With the help of his company Bio Foods, he provided initial aid for organic farmers to become affiliated. Some 2,100 farmers have since joined SOFA and work according to organic, or even Demeter, principles. And this is a growing trend.

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