After taking college courses about the languages and religions of the Amazon in college, Tyler Gage became enthralled by the rich, complex world of Amazonian tribespeople. With some guidance from a professor, he moved to the Ecuadorian rainforest for two years to learn the local languages and take in the community’s ancient traditions, rituals, and relationship with the earth.
The local tribesmen’s relationship to the guayusa leaf in particular drew him in. After learning about the unique properties of the guayusa leaf, he began to hatch a plan to bring guayusa to the US.
The goal of RUNA was, and continues to be, to manage the land profitably using sustainable farming practices and direct trade relationships with products like guayusa to help support the local communities that guayusa is grown and harvested from.