Adopt-A-Tea-Plant Program Launched

GMTCo Adopt a Plantby Naomi Rosen

Congratulations to the crew down at The Great Mississippi Tea Company on the launch of their “Adopt-A-Tea-Plant” initiative that kicked off today!

For program details or to get your questions answered, you can visit their webpage!

As a grower, have you ever considered a program like this to subsidize farm funding?

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4 thoughts on “Adopt-A-Tea-Plant Program Launched

  1. This scheme seems rather dodgy IMHO. What if the crop fails? What if they never develop a new tea cultivar? Is the GMTC going to refund donors’ money if the worst happens? I don’t see any disclaimer or assurance statements on the website, so I’d guess that any prospective donors would be wary to part with their money. Real estate on the Moon seems only slightly less risky an investment.

    • We are sorry that you feel that way, Mr. Rooney. As the owner of The Great MS Tea Company, I can assure you that nothing is dodgy about this program. However, everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is our plan that the crop will not fail, however, it may. We would just pick back up and try again. The same situations occur in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and with every agricultural endeavor, crop loss does occur. On the flip side, more often the crop succeeds. It is also our plan that we will develop a new cultivar and we actually have a few seedlings that can be classified as a new cultivar so we are not promising anything we cannot fulfill. We understand that donors would be disappointed if the crop fails and we would assess the situation if it occurs. It is not our intention to defraud anyone with this program and appropriate steps would be taken in the event that there is a disastrous situation that occurs. We understand that this type of donation/investment is not for everyone. However, we have had a successful campaign so far. We are greatly disappointed that you see this as a flim-flam operation like selling real estate on the moon, but again, everyone is entitled to their opinion. The program was designed to allow people a front row seat to where their tea/food comes from and to be more connected to local food not to bilk people of money as you assert. We wish you luck in your future endeavors and thank you for your concerns. I hope we have put some of them to rest.

      • Yes I think everyone hopes your crop will succeed, but “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, right?. Unfortunately, tea production does not exactly have the best track record, with notable failures in South Carolina and New York just in recent years, while the number of success stories on the mainland in that time frame is lacking. Also, a major difference between your program and a CSA is diversity. CSAs generally grow dozens of different crops so, in the event of a single crop failure, there are other crops to fill in. Perhaps you might want to consider integrating other crops into your production areas so you’ll have something for donors in the worst-case scenario. Furthermore, CSAs are generally not start-up marketing strategies and they cater specifically to local consumers. Most farms that use CSAs have a track record of successful vegetable crop production and diversify their marketing plan to include the CSA. Again, it seems to me that this kind of program would be better after tea production has actually commenced rather than years prior to it. I’d say you are putting the cart before the horse, but this is just my opinion. I just hope you don’t end up with a bunch of angry donors if things don’t go as planned. Good luck to you, sir!

  2. Mr. Rooney,
    Again, we are deeply regretful that this type of project is not for you. It is not for everyone. Tea is successfully being grown in 14 different states on the mainland US as we type. I would hardly call that a bad track record. It is also actively growing and has been growing on my farm in some form or fashion for three years. We have just recently planted a major portion of the farm, however, we have had 1/4 acre growing on the farm for over 1 year and it is growing very nicely. It also survived the coldest year of weather in 40 years (according the US Meteorological Society) during last year’s winter. This program also does not just offer tea as the final pay off. This project is to inform consumers of what is going on in US tea (something that has had little to no awareness about and can lead people to believe that there have been a sting of failures on the mainland US). Part of the donation/investment is exclusive access to the experience of growing tea in real time. We will be sending out monthly emails that will range from winter prep, to pruning, to shaping, to spacing in the field, to terroir and many other topics that our supporters are interested in. It will also include special offers to other vendors in the tea business who support US Grown Tea. All of these offers will be exclusive to this program. It is also our plans to convert this program into a true CSA once major tea production commences, however, this program will allow people to see what all it takes from field to cup. Some people are interested in this type of thing and this entire program was actually a direct response to polling our current audience on social media. This was what people said they wanted and we tailored this program to suit the wants and needs of our current supporters. Again, just as CSAs are not for everyone, this project is not for everyone. We appreciate your concerns and again, we understand that this may not be something that you are interested in, but do know, there have been quite a few people and businesses that have already signed up. It has been a successful campaign to date and thank you for the wishes of luck, they are appreciated.

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