Spices of Life

Sana Javeri Kadri, the founder of Diaspora Co., has imagined a more equitable, and more delicious, way to bring flavor to your kitchen. By Tamar Adler.


When I get in touch with Sana Javeri Kadri in late February, she’s in Kashmir, in northern India. The 27-year-old founder of Diaspora Co. flew here from her home in Oakland to visit the spice farmers she works with—an annual sourcing trip. “But this time everybody thought I was completely crazy,” she tells me over Zoom. She’s in a deep-maroon Frances Austen sweater with balloon sleeves, sitting cross-legged in the corner of her hotel room, which has good Wi-Fi (no small thing in Kashmir, which recently suffered the longest internet shutdown ever in a democracy). She appears impervious to our nine-and-a-half-hour time difference and a grueling schedule that has her traversing the length and width of India. “It was at a point where I knew that I needed to reassure our farm partners that I was here, and I wanted to hear about any obstacles they were facing, pandemic-related or otherwise,” she tells me. “Some things just have to happen in person.”

How often have you carefully considered the vintage and provenance of your turmeric, your black pepper? “I think the American consumer treats spices without interest because it seems like, Well, they’re just these powders that we supposedly have to put in our food.” But most of our spices are too old and nearly flavorless—especially considerin­g how flavorful they are at harvest. And much of the reason is tied up in the history of the global spice trade, born of colonialis­m and borne aloft by globalism. Diaspora Co.’s single-origin spices—which arrive in painstakin­gly designed glass jars, bearing each spice’s harvest date alongside tasting notes, region of origin, and


“Some things just have to happen in person,” says Javeri Kadri, who travels annually from her home in Oakland to India to visit the spice farmers she works with. Photograph­ed in Mumbai by Hashim Badani. Fashion Editor: Alexandra Gurvitch.

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