Zizira team

Vocal for Local- Zizira Explorers

Vocal for Local- Zizira Explorer

Getting vocal for local for the first time in our site, we bring you a beautiful group working quietly almost, to better the world.

Vocal for Local- Zizira Explorers: See how ancient herbs come back to life and mingle science together with art through Zizira Explorers.

Get well with herbs and old medicines;

The real nature that blooms bright still in these lands.

Make your soups simmer irresistibly,

Give help to the farmer’s hearts,

Join your growth in dimensions, warm and full of light.

Meghalaya, very few of my first homes!

North-East, the home to my maternal family is just not beautiful, in fact, it is the spirit of the country- less nurtured but utterly powerful. Visiting these places is like a dream and I have always felt home amid the clouds and the vales; the snow peaks and the bluish mountains.

Home to seven sisters, it is a common belief that nothing that ignores them can flourish.

Living in these wonderlands can only bring joy and an enchanting experience. Simpler people, simple dances and songs, with food that can only make you fall in love with their soil again and again.

As a child, I loved these delicacies and still do, despite having tasted the entire world by now!

Meghalaya (Home of the Clouds) is one of the seven sisters with their capital city in Shillong.

Pic credit: Curly Tales

Lovely smiling faces, glowing skins, and beautiful eyes.

I have a deep connection to these lands and though I do not stay there, they connect to me each time I have been there.

While going through my Instagram profile, I lapped upon this hardworking, unique group that was doing something different- to put it in a better way, they are doing something many cannot even dream of.

They are helping!

Helping whom?

Farmers, you and me!

This edition talks about their efforts.

Take time to read their story- Vocal for Local Zizira Explorers

  1. Ingredients of cooking you rarely have used can be found with them.
  2. Herbs and shrubs, concoctions, and tonics.

The world of herbs, caressing, nurturing, and growing.

You find hard-working, enthusiastic people, who love their seeds sowing.

Their land is adrift, tucked up in the mountains, giving them the ephemeral glow

A lot remains unexplored and yet, the hearts are tiny gems bold, made of gold- real gold can be found in these hearts as much as in the mines of gold.

Do not let it go to waste, but make haste, reach Zizira, and you would have helped the soul of the country flourish and grow. Use their pastes and powders, bring a new kitchen, invent new recipes and try them out.

Yummy and lip-smacking, I can tell you, you would like it if you love food universally without any discrimination.

To know a bit more, here are answers to a few questions I put forth and the lovely, enthusiastic group was kind enough to answer.

Here’s a bit about Zizira right from the Zizirans (the word is invented by me!).

Vocal for Local- Zizira Explorers

How did you start Zizira explorers and why?

Zizira team

Zizira is an e-commerce business founded by our CEO, Ralph Budelman. 

Our CEO, Ralph Budelman, 70 years old, from Illinois Chicago, came to Shillong in the year 2004. He started Chillibreeze, a successful PowerPoint formatting service for consulting firms and Fortune 500 companies in the same year. 

Ralph’s vision to start Chillibreeze was influenced by the potential he saw in the youth of the north-east. He wanted to ensure that this potential did not go to waste, so he started Chillibreeze to generate employment and offer better opportunities.  

Inadvertently, Ralph saw the agricultural resources that north-east India had to offer that were being severely underutilized, especially in Meghalaya alone. So, ten years after Chillibreeze’s inception, Ralph took another leap of faith and launched a pioneering initiative called Zizira, a food-based company with a mission to make farmers famous.

Do you do it as a business or a hobby?

Zizira is a business that was initially started with a team of 7 people. Today, we are a solid team of 24 committed individuals who are passionate and driven to achieve Zizira’s vision of “Making Farmers Famous”.

How do you collect information about different herbs? Do you collect it from the natives of Meghalaya?

We refer to several sources for information on herbs and spices. Most are based on research on the internet and books. We also rely on traditional folk wisdom which has been passed down over generations. Using our knowledge of the local languages, culture, and drawing from ancient wisdom and folk medicine, we aim to give customers rare and authentic products otherwise inaccessible to them. 

Do you cover the culinary specialties of the entire north-eastern states or do you focus mainly on Meghalaya?

Our focus is mostly centered on Meghalaya and what it has to offer. We live in a region that is considered by some to be ‘the richest, most biodiverse region in India’ and we aim to share its bounty with the rest of the world.

The science behind cooking is quite beautifully captured by your blogs. Do you do your research or has this information been passed onto you by your ancestors?

We rely on several sources; research, experience, and traditional wisdom passed over from our ancestors. Mostly, we try to incorporate all three and apply ourselves accordingly.

Do you function just like a blog, or do you have other roles? Explain every job role briefly?

The team is split into 4 departments:

  1. Supply Chain – Efficiently manufacturing the products and effectively managing the logistics of delivering them to customers all over India
  2. Product Development – Research and development of products and making sure the products are following all the ethical measures
  3. Marketing – Reaching out to potential customers and enabling them to avail our products
  4. Customer Support – Ensuring each and every customer has a great experience with Zizira

Your site says you help the local farmers so how do you do that and how does it benefit them?

Zizira Explorer

Zizira was launched with a vision to open markets for farmers. Our team also goes on frequent ‘epic trips’ where we venture into the most remote locations inaccessible by vehicles on the outskirts of Shillong in search of credible farmers to source herbs, spices, pure honey, and even coffee.

Are you families or friends who began Zizira (vocal for local- Zizira Explorer coverage)?

The team today is somewhat a big close-knit family. Our experiences, trials, and tribulations have made us closer than ever. We share the same vision and purpose, and we also look out for each other outside office hours.

What is your mission and vision behind starting Zizira?

Simply put, our mission is “making farmers famous”. We aim to open markets for farmers in Meghalaya to promote sustainable farming. Our CEO Ralph noticed that the farmers here were not getting paid a fair price for their produce. Due to the lack of a stable market, these farmers were subjected to selling their hard-earned produce at throwaway prices in the hands of middlemen.   

Ralph had the vision to change the system and create a network that would not only benefit the farmers, but also have bigger reverberations and, in the process, put Meghalaya on the map for its rich undiscovered bounty. When you buy Zizira’s products, together we create the process of regenerative and sustainable farming. 

Do you think that every herb and spices are a combination of art and sciences coming together to benefit humanity?

In today’s fast-paced world of pharmaceutical drugs and quick fixes, one shouldn’t forget the healing properties of herbs and spices. We are ardent believers of natural cures and remedies which we practice ourselves and propagate as well. We believe that herbs and spices have a high threshold for tremendous healing to benefit humanity especially if incorporated into day-to-day living.

Vocal for Local- Zizira
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