What’s in a Name?
As you know, Under The Mango Tree (UTMT) is more than just Organic Honey and Bees. It’s also about people. At UTMT, we’ve always believed in building and empowering a community. Starting from today, we’d like to give you a glimpse into who we are, what we stand for, how we got here and where we’re headed with your support and encouragement.
Every brand or company have their own stories of its creation, it’s experience, and lessons learnt. This is ours….so let’s start our story at the very beginning, with our name: Under The Mango Tree.
The Story behind the Name
When building an organization, one of the main elements is its name. Having a unique name drives an interest in an organization. So, when brainstorming for the name, Vijaya Pastala, CEO & Founder of Under The Mango Tree wanted to ensure the name reflected her mission of supporting marginalized farmers with a sustainable focus.
India’s 80% of rural population depend on farming for a steady source of income. Over the last two decades, there has been a decline in agricultural productivity, putting unbearable stress on farming livelihoods, forcing farmers into cycles of debt or abandoning farmers to migrate to cities to partake in labour work. Additionally, bee populations globally have been under threat. Their role in agriculture is critical – four out of five foods depend on bees for their reproduction through pollination. Their impact on agricultural productivity is therefore significant.
Vijaya says, “I never realised the importance of bees, until my trip to an apple orchard in the spring of 2006. There, I met apple orchard owners who invited beekeepers to keep bee boxes on their property. Curious, I began to research the relationship between bees and agricultural productivity. A simple idea began to brew: what if farmers were trained to add beeboxes to their farms to facilitate cross-pollination, which could provide markets to sell ethically sourced honey collected to increase incomes? I had to do it.
I then began to consider my own experience and expertise which had prepared me to take advantage of this opportunity. With a decade of experience spearheading community-based interventions for the World Bank and others, I started building a framework that would address declining agricultural productivity together with increasing incomes. I knew the framework needed to be farmer-friendly and locally appropriate.”
Vijaya continues, “There was no “eureka moment” that catalyzed Under The Mango Tree. Rather, combining the realities that prevail in rural India with the objective of diversifying livelihoods and improving rural incomes lead to Under The Mango Tree.”
In most Indian villages, specifically those located in arid, semi-humid regions, a tall and mighty mango tree often grows in the open space. The mango tree is a spot where farmers usually rest after their harvest under its fostering shade; children play around the mango tree away from the sun; villagers gather to discuss their dreams and their future, and women share stories on their return from the local well. The mango tree therefore, is seen where a community bonds and forms relationships.
Wandering merchants looking for potential sales opportunities stop by to offer their goods, villagers learn about the changes in the world outside of their own, and traders discover the needs of rural producers. Each group rested and more aware, moves on. However, everyone will remember the comfort that the shade of the mango tree provides.
Thus, says Vijaya, “Under The Mango Tree is a metaphor that reminds us of the areas we work in and the people we work for.”
(image credits: UTMT Society)
Under The Mango Tree is committed to sustainability, from which all our other values develop and take form. For us, sustainability means many things: from investing in long-term relationships with our partners: farmer, supplier and customer; to ensuring that our practices benefit the environment, as manifested in our commitment to working with the indigenous bee - Apis cerana indica.
I hope you liked the tale of our name. Stay tuned...till next month, when we'll bring you more interesting stories from Under The Mango Tree!
If you’d like to know more about our sustainable brand, please connect with us at: email@example.com