Our Year of Hope Vol. 3 - Vedda Organic Teas and Natural Medicines

Feb 26, 2024

For the year of 2024, the team here at Fifty Shades Greener have decided to focus our energy and efforts into spotlighting small, community driven sustainability projects from anywhere in the world that are operating on a grass roots level.

The world of sustainability itself can often be perceived as a minefield. From the enormity of the climate crisis, CSRD regulations and measuring carbon emissions, the efforts being made on the field by individuals or groups can often get overshadowed.

However, we always say at FSG, that small actions do count, especially when being carried out by many. This blog series will endeavor to highlight those people or communities who are driving REAL action.

We hope their stories inspire you, and more importantly that they spark hope.


Our third story of hope focuses on Vedda organic herbal teas and natural medicines.

This company started by Revatha Shah brings you small batch, organic and ethically sourced time-tested ancient indigenous natural remedies from the mystical isle of Sri Lanka, whilst honouring the land and the people who steward them.


Alice, our communications manager, met Revatha in Sri Lanka this year, and found herself so inspired by his story and mission that she knew Vedda needed to be included in our Year of Hope Blog Series. 

We hope his story serves to hearten and encourage you our reader as much as it did our team. 





💡 Give us a brief description of yourself, who you are, what makes you tick? 

I'm Revatha Shah, and Sri Lanka makes me tick. Ever since I was young I couldn't understand why most friends dreamed of futures abroad. I always saw our land as being the most beautiful and bountiful place on earth. Steeped in rich tradition, history and home to some of the most hospitable people on earth. There is a reason so many travellers come here and never leave. However, our paradise does not come without its own share of problems. The way systems have been built over the last five centuries have meant that the working class have been forgotten - and these problems are at some of the worst levels they've been at since the end of the 30-year civil war. How does a land so blessed with natural resources, and some of the most fertile soil on Earth struggle to feed its own people? 


💡 Tell us what your project is.

Vedda is a brand of herbal teas and superfoods that borrows knowledge from local ancient indigenous practices. It was built to educate audiences on underappreciated and underutilized herbal medicines and to build a market for this local produce. Vedda also sources the majority of its local produce from 3 rural smallholder farmer groups dotted around the island. Currently the majority of the market for produce on the island works through middlemen who work between smallholder farmers and the big local markets, and often capture a large portion of the potential financial benefit to households. Vedda instead works closely with these groups and chooses to purchase directly from them at a market rate. We also pledge 5% of all local revenue and a $1 from all foreign sales to community development programs that benefit the 3 farmer groups that we work with.



💡 What motivated you to start this project?

Personally, I felt stuck in a somewhat lucrative yet unfulfilling job in the finance world and really craved a change to something that I felt was closer to my purpose and now I see my purpose as working to develop local communities. The hope is that one day Vedda helps build a large and lucrative market for a currently under-appreciated segment of our local produce and that enables us to build a supply chain model with a focus on holistic community development that other conscious enterprises can learn from and improve on. 





💡 What results have you achieved to date?

 A year into our journey, we have developed consistent and growing local demand particularly in tourist hotspots on the Island for our line of floral teas that is mostly collected from the wild by otherwise unemployed women in the Sabaragamuwa province. We are also just beginning to send the first batches of these teas abroad. We've developed direct relationships with 2 other rural farmer groups to source these flowers and the fruit necessary for our superfood powders.

💡 What have been the benefits and challenges of the project?

The benefits of this project are that it is educating the market on the benefits of our unique local herbal medicines that are still very underutilized whilst also solving the problem of middlemen that work between smallholder farmers and local produce markets. The challenges have definitely been mostly with supply, increasingly erratic weather conditions and consequently extreme water levels in reservoirs and lakes has meant that supply is tough to find and plan for. The intention initially was to work to develop supply in one community but weather and no-longer predictable seasons and harvests have meant that we have had to diversify the supply chain and hence limit the impact we can have on each community at this point. Hopefully we soon have enough demand for our products to create a meaningful and lasting positive impact amongst all our suppliers.


💡 What would your main piece of advice be for other people looking to start projects to protect people or the planet?

My advice would be to just do it. I think it's normal for many people at the start of a journey to discourage you from taking a risk. As cheesy as it sounds I would say just follow your heart. This still feels like the beginning of our journey as a enterprise but a year or so in - I have learnt so much about myself in this process, have had so many unique experiences that have changed my view of the world, met so many beautiful like minded people and in many ways I've had my faith in humanity restored. Even if it were to all end now which I pray it won't I would not have any regrets for having followed through with this idea.


💡 What gives you hope?

 People give me hope. I have met so many people who believe they can truly make a change in our country and the world, people who live passionately and are taking steps to create this change. And so many people who have resonated with our message and offered a helping hand. Firstly I am so thankful to all of them and also I work with a certainty that many more people will join to work towards this common goal of building a more sustainable and equitable world for us to live in. 


If you want to follow Our Year of Hope series sign up to our blog HERE

And if you want to learn more about sustainability for your personal life or for your workplace/ career please book a discovery call with one of our experts HERE 

Thank you for reading today.

The FSG Team. 💚


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