“With deep knowledge, immense integrity, and endless appreciation and admiration for the indigenous communities he supports and partners with, Chris Kilham serves as strong bridge between worlds, as a voice for the power, value, and relevance of ancient traditions in modern society.” - Tyler Gage

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“Tyler Gage and his team at Runa are doing it the right way. Organic, ethical trade, sustainable practiices, and a prevailing sense of fun, make Runa Amazon Guayusa a company to watch.” - Chris Kilham

Tyler Gage
President & Co-Founder
Runa Amazon Guayusa
Ecopreneur, Environmentalist, Athelete
Social Entrepreneurship, Ecuador, Indigenous Community Development, Kichwa Culture, Beverage Industry, Amazonian Conservation, Agroforestry


Tyler is the President and co-founder of Runa, a social enterprise that sustainably produces and markets guayusa tea from the Amazon. Tyler has researched ethnolinguistics, fair trade business development, and indigenous botanical traditions throughout Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Belize, and Costa Rica with a focus on cross-cultural translation. A graduate of Brown University, Tyler enjoys spending time with his Siberian husky, and frequently gets up at 3AM to participate in guayusa tea ceremonies with the indigenous communities he partners with.

For thousands of years communities throughout the Amazon have cultivated the guayusa (why-you-sa) leaf for a natural, delicious source of energy and nutrition. Treasured for its unique balance of caffeine, antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids guayusa continues to be the center of morning rituals throughout the Amazon. Every harvest, local farmers hand-pick guayusa leaves from the rich soil under the canopy of the Amazon rainforest.


UNESCO and Conservation International both recognize the Ecuadorian Amazon as one of the top 10 most biodiverse places on the planet. Meanwhile, over 3% of the Ecuadorian Amazon is deforested each year, and the oil mining industry has left a long legacy of exploitation and destruction in the region. The latest data from the Global Climate Program indicates that deforestation accounts for 25% of global emissions of heat-trapping gases contributing to climate change, and slash and burn agriculture is the leading cause of tropical deforestation. But at the same time, cross-country comparisons show that GDP growth in agriculture is at least twice as effective at mitigating the effects of poverty as any other economic generating activity. Few organizations have been able to balance the need to create productive, sustainable livelihoods for local people and simultaneously conserve the environment. Therefore, innovative strategies are needed that jointly support income generation for smallholder producers while maintaining the ecological integrity of the Amazon rainforest.