If you have not already met Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms fame, it’s time you had the pleasure, and here’s your chance. Just look how she shares tea and happiness . . .”
“Praise for The Way of Tea And Justice” by James Norwood Pratt.
The Way of Tea and Justice; Rescuing the World’s Favorite Beverage From Its Violent History by Becca Stevens
Tea’s violent past is not something often spoken about. And being rescued from it, as if it is completely abandoned to the past is debatable. Certainly there are issues even now where the global tea industry still has work to do to insure fairness for workers, for animals and for the land. But Becca Stevens, a force of nature on her own even beyond her association with tea, spotted a connection and fueled it with her powerful creative drive to make the world a better place. Especially for women. Best known for her work at Thistle Farms, a business/sanctuary for women recovering from violence, Stevens has created a blend of business, book, and now virtual tea parties to spread her message of healing with tea.
Most recently she began scheduling these virtual Tea & Justice tea parties on MeetUp and other platforms. One of her guests was chef Maneet Chauhan of the Food Network said, “If we all come together over food and tea, there would be no conflict in the world.
“We need to be able to serve tea and say “welcome” as a whole community. Thistle Farms is already sewing, making paper, and making bath and body care products. It is now time to welcome strangers every week into our midst with a beautiful cup of tea . . . We touch a global community whenever we touch or serve tea. We are touching the sweat and work of pickers and cultivators and shippers and retailers from places we have never seen. . . . This practice of drinking tea connects us around the world.”
Becca Stevens, “The Way of Tea and Justice “
This is a most unusual tea book. And Stevens dares us to trap it into a niche. There are generous, romantic and beguiling descriptions of tea. She takes us to the farms where it was grown. Yet, we are in the room with her as she shares the sensory pleasures in her cup. But with her on the entire journey are the women in the Thistle Farm programs who have come there for sanctuary. Tea not only has history and flavor, it has meaning in unexpected new ways. As Stevens seeks justice for women who have suffered extremely damaging lives but are surviving. More than just recovering from trafficing, addiction and other traumas, they are thriving. And tea has been given a role to play.
“Tea offers us contemplation that is so rich and old, if we had eyes to see, time to taste, and a thirst for its truth, we could travel to the ends of the earth and plumb the depths of our hearts. The way of tea can lead us to visit old-growth faorests in China, through rituals more than two thousand years old and into a space of meditation where we remember all hearts are made of flesh”.
Becca Stevens, “The Way of Tea And Justice”
In 2016, Becca Stevens became one of the ten finalists in the CNN Heroes Awards. The tagline on the annual award is “Everyday People Changing The World”. For taking women off the streets, giving them a home and turning their lives around to find a new future, she seems like more than an “everyday” person. Thistle Farms has given a home, safety and security to hundreds of women who would not have had a future otherwise. Training in the cafe is one of the paths. And Becca Stevens realized how valuable it would be to add a quality tea service to the menu. She made tea a vehicle for peace, love and healing.