Jade Valley Tea Arts, a private academy for classical tea arts in Nevada City, Calif., has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a major expansion. The academy rose from the ashes of Jade Summit Tea and Antiques, a popular storefront business in downtown Nevada City, following torrential rains and flooding that forced the closure of many business in the area. It is intended as a peaceful retreat for tea enthusiasts and students and features a two-acre tea plantation and academy for learning and tasting. Owner MJ Greenmountain created the academy and retreat with Asian-inspired architecture in natural surroundings with an emphasis on peace and tranquility. At the onsite tea room, guests can taste and mingle, as well as learn all about teas of the world. “We are positioning Jade Valley as a major cultural hub for tea education in the West Coast [of the United States], in a retreat space with a private academy atmosphere. It is very intimate, peaceful, and naturally simple,” said MJ, who has been involved in tea culture as a student, an educator, and importer for more than two decades. “We are working hard to push this campaign through to get momentum rolling,” he said. The goal is to raise $130,000 by May 16 to fund construction of a temple hall for classes, meditation, workshops, events, and tea processing that will accommodate small groups up to 15 people. “Tea promotes a noble yet simple and highly aesthetic lifestyle that brings meaning to all aspects of life,” states the campaign. “The importance of classical tea culture lies within its foundation as a practice: health, meditation, awareness, presence, connection, and a deep reverence for nature. These kinds of cultural influences are sorely needed in the U.S.A. They will directly help in the mending of a broken society and the healing of a damaged planet.” A popular tourist destination, picturesque Nevada City is located on the western edge of the Tahoe National Forest, 60 miles northeast of Sacramento. It was an important gold-mining hub in the mid-1850s, and the center of the California gold rush. To learn more about Jade Summit and Jade Valley Tea Arts, visit Jadesummit.com or Kickstarter.