The original intent of colonial conquest of the Indian subcontinent was a desire for domination of the spice trade.
In late 2016, 600+ years later, as a young woman born and raised in postcolonial Mumbai, working at the intersection of food and culture, I was slowly discovering that not much about that system had changed.
Farmers made no money, spices changed hands upwards of 10 times between farmer and consumer, and the final spice on the shelf was usually an old, dusty, and flavorless shadow of what it once was.
Ten wild months that included a one way ticket back to India, intense research, 40+ farm visits, endless un-answered phone calls, wild motorbike rides through farmland, and a lot of processing of doubts and fears later, Diaspora Co. was founded in late 2017 to create a radically new, and equitable vision of the spice trade, decolonizing a commodity back into a seasonal crop, and a broken system into an equal exchange.
Beyond highlighting gorgeous, indigenous spice varieties, it's also about creating a business for us, by us. Complicating and deepening what “Made in India” means, and how we tell our own stories of freedom, struggle, and diaspora through food.
Today, we work in close partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to identify and provide ongoing support to our partner farmers, all of whom are on the cutting edge of regenerative, and sustainable agriculture.
Mr. Chacko in Kerala developed his own heirloom cardamom variety! Mr. Kasaraneni in Andhra Pradesh taught himself organic farming via Youtube and WhatsApp, the first in his entire village to go chemical-free! Mr. Sakariya grows indescribably fruity coriander on a guava and sitaphal orchard. Our partner farmers are our heroes.
As of 2021 we're proud of work with 12 farmers and 320+ farm workers across 6 states. We pay our farm partners an average 6x more than the commodity price, and by the end of this year we aim to provide health insurance to every single farm worker that is part of our rapidly growing supply chain.
- Sana Javeri Kadri, Founder & CEO