In celebration of NAIDOC week, our favourite purveyors of native tea, Roogenic, kindly agreed to have a quick chat with us to answer all of our burning questions about their commitments to our Indigenous communities, sustainability ethos and more!
WholeLife: Your partnership with Indigenous communities has seen the marriage between functional products and traditional medicinal use of bush tucker. How do you source high-quality native ingredients?
Roogenic: We love this question! When sourcing native ingredients, we prioritise sourcing from an Indigenous supplier — we see this as critical to not only honouring Indigenous culture but also ensuring the continued inclusion of Indigenous growers in the bushfood supply chain.
These incredible ingredients are wild harvested using traditional practices and knowledge, making them extremely rare and precious. We purchase the ingredients at the community’s chosen set price and set up a long term partnership with them to ensure they continue to grow with us.
Your commitment to sustainability is evident from product creation to final package design. Why is sustainability important to your ethos? What changes have you made to ensure all Roogenic tea products are sustainable end to end?
Thank you! We are so proud of the progress we continue to make toward sustainability. Our team is made up of people who are passionate about the environment so seeking out sustainable solutions to packaging and our internal operations has been a natural part of our journey.
We have been able to eliminate plastic from our shipping materials by 90% and most notably created a completely biodegradable collection of teas (even our tea bags!) and bush foods. They look stunning, too.
Each Native Tea package design presents a unique artwork. Can you tell us about the story behind each design and how they were created?
We have been fortunate to collaborate with a number of Indigenous artists to create some of our packaging. Kevyn Bynder, a renowned Indigenous artist, collaborated with us to design our classic range of teas. Each tea box is incredibly special as it represents a different season within the Noongar Six Seasons.
Where did Roogenic’s love and interest in native Australian plants begin? What is your favourite native plant ingredient for overall healing benefits?
Our sibling founders, Adi and Oren, launched Roogenic in 2015 with a mission to improve the health and wellness of people worldwide with natural remedies. At a young age, they tragically lost their mother and father which embedded in them a passion for physical and mental health. This inspired years of research into natural health and wellness, eventually leading to their focus on Australian medicinal bushfoods.
It’s nearly impossible to pick a favourite but if we had to it might just be Jilungin — a native ingredient that has been used for thousands of years by the Nyul Nyul community in the Kimberley region as a natural sleep aid. You’ll find this ingredient in our award-winning sleep tonics, Native Sleep, Native Relaxation and Menopause Night tea. They really do work!
Roogenic wouldn’t be where it was today without the collaboration of Indigenous communities and small farmers. How do you give back to Indigenous communities?
To date, we have purchased over $925,000 of bushfoods from Indigenous growers, and currently, 58% of our bush foods are sourced from Indigenous growers.
In 2021 alone, we proudly donated 5% of profits to Indigenous growers!
What is Wild Harvesting and how does this contribute to the quality of Roogenic Tea ingredients?
Wild harvesting refers to Indigenous Australians using their knowledge and wisdom to source high-quality rare ingredients which we purchase. In Australia, we are fortunate to be home to some of the most nutritionally dense plants in the world — true superfoods — such as Kakadu Plum, which has the highest concentration of vitamin C of any other plant. These ingredients are picked at peak freshness, too, maximising their nutritional value and flavour further.
We came to support wild harvesting after our Indigenous partners told us that their communities depend on wild harvesting for financial security. It is one of few income options they have due to their geographical isolation, and it’s also one of the means by which they share their culture and knowledge to future generations.
Shop all of Roogenic’s delicious award-winning tea blends in store at your nearest WholeLife.