Ethically Sourced Products eg White Sage

Hi everyone,

Remi here. We have been asked recently 'what does ethically sourced mean? I asked our supplier of Pure Smudge Sticks and Leaves. The company I referred to sells high-quality Sage and I trust their response so thought I would share it with you. Then you can make up your own mind as to what feels right for you.

"When it comes to smudging, saying it is ‘ethically sourced’ is generally a marketing phrase (when claimed by a business)", or from an uninformed public. ‘Ethically sourced’ usually relates to products that come from trees where de-forestation is a concern.

But it’s wonderful that people are trying to be aware and we appreciate them for their effort.

The USA White sage (Salvia apiana) is from the coastal mountains of California.  It is wild grown.  Not farmed/not commercially produced, no irrigation nor pesticides.  This is why our supply can be erratic if Mother Nature hasn’t given enough (or too much) rain at the right time.

There are ‘wild-crafting family groups’ that go out and collect the sage.  They are mindful not to damage the plants as of course, they want to visit them a few times throughout the years to harvest and harvest again.  Any methods other than this is of course what we all want to avoid.  The wild-crafters spread the sage out on large tarps to dry in the sun, then tie on the stem, all done by hand.  Very low tech."

Here’s the information from our supplier that you might find useful:

"In years past, everyone pretty much-collected sage from public open spaces.  There was no legal permission as none was required.  No one ever paid much notice, it wasn’t really an issue.  Sounds pretty basic, but that’s how it was.

Then in 2017, the California Dept of Fish & Wildlife started taking interest surrounding the collection of California White Sage specifically, and other native plants in general, taken from public land.

They introduced regulatory guidelines and licensing fees.  Anyone caught collecting without a license would face a fine." 

Our supplier has completed working out these details with CA Fish & Wildlife and can confirm that all the plant species they work with are legal to harvest and sell. It has to be taken from land that the harvester owns or has legal permission to harvest from.

I suppose now having an official license qualifies it to be called ethically sourced.

The Australian smudge is farmed in the highlands of Victoria without pesticides. To the best of my knowledge, it is not certified organic. The small trader just hasn’t paid the money to go through the rigorous and expensive process, but the guy is passionate about his product, that’s for sure!

From Remi: So there you have it, 'éthically sourced' seems to be a popular term currently. At Carpe Diem, we know our suppliers, we trust our suppliers and we love stocking their products.