I've mentioned this on our Facebook page multiple times, but in light of Saturday's earthquake in Chile following the devastation in Haiti, I wanted to make a little plug for one of my personal favorite relief groups. Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders is "an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe." They were already on the ground in Haiti before the quake; they were in Chile the day after. They have portable field hospitals that they take to some of the most dangerous places in the world, places other organizations are often unwilling to go, and they stay there long-term. So if you're looking for an organization where your donations will really make a difference, I definitely recommend MSF/Doctors Without Borders. I know many of our customers want to create items for people affected by the most recent natural disasters -- I can only encourage you to start crafting now, but to realize that anything you make won't necessarily find a home in Haiti or Chile anytime soon. So make things, with love, and save them until the time is right to send them.
It feels wrong to turn to business after talking about a natural disaster, but I did want to let you know that I added three glorious new fabrics today -- two splendid fleeces, in creme de cassis and fern, and our perennially popular naval stripe -- on a white background. Don't miss any of them. And definitely check out the new yard sale items, good through March 16. There are many green and lavender fabrics -- St Patrick's Day, anyone? -- and some other goodies as well.
First, for our business customers, I wanted to draw your attention to Southwest Creations, an Albuquerque "contract manufacturing business with an ambitious social mission: to end poverty and create intergenerational wealth." They offer domestic production and manufacturing services for wholesale and retail businesses in the US, performing custom and contract sewing as well as other artisanal and industrial services; they can also manage packaging and shipping. With a minimum of only 250 pieces per style, they're able to work with smaller businesses, and from what I've heard of their skills you'll be very pleased with the results. We definitely recommend talking with the people at Southwest Creations Collaborative if you're looking for a cut-and-sew facility.
And secondly, I know many people are out there looking for Black Friday deals, but you're not going to find anything special here. Why not? Multiple reasons, really. First, we want our employees to spend time relaxing and recuperating Thanksgiving weekend, instead of going crazy -- we're thankful for everyone who works here, and they need a break! Secondly, even though we're a business and we dearly love and appreciate our customers (and we truly do!), we think there's a very good point behind Buy Nothing Day. Our business is built around sustainability -- we're encouraging people to think about what they buy and make and do, and we know that's what our customers do; you don't need us to be your conscience! But Buy Nothing Day is built around the idea that just for a day, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, what if you refrain from buying anything? Do it in solidarity with the millions of people who have no choice, or to end up without a retail hangover the next morning. Do it just to prove you can! Adbusters, who founded BND, encourages you to "not only stop buying for 24 hours, but to shut off your lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off of your computer for the day." Go for a hike, read a book, sing a song, feed the birds ... we'll still be here when you come back online, and we'll have some marvelous fabrics and goodies waiting for you!
(Oh, and did you know that shopping online is greener than driving around to do your shopping? And that study didn't even take into account a business's eco-friendly practices, which should make you feel even better about buying from us!)
The CPSIA, or Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, is an incredibly well-meaning act that as designed will have a significantly negative impact on every industry dealing with infant and children's products. This isn't just toys, this is every children's product -- clothing, baby blankets, shoes, school supplies, bikes, care items, ... Created to ensure that kids' products are lead- and phthlate-free after the toy scares of 2007, the CPSIA was potentially a great idea. So why's it a problem?
(keep reading to find out)
Continue reading "National Bankruptcy Day (aka, have you heard about the CPSIA?)" »
My nine-year-old freaked out yesterday when he read an email a local artist sent out about The North Pacific Trash Gyre, also known as Plastic Soup and The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, two huge masses in the Pacific Ocean made up of floating plastic. This plastic debris ranges from nurdles (factory-ready plastic the size of grains of sand that later becomes windborne) to tires, plastic bags and bottles, fishnets, etc. Thinner areas of the “Gyre” are 3-6 feet deep, while the thickest areas can reach 60 feet deep. Can you imagine 60 feet deep of plastic bits swirling around in the ocean? Too small to photograph, especially underwater (and frequently transparent), this is nevertheless a huge and disturbing problem. In the salt water, the plastic attracts oil-based carcinogens and other toxic chemicals, and fish lay their eggs in the Gyre as they do in seaweed and other floating debris. Other fish eat the eggs and the plastic they’re resting upon, and become contaminated; this contamination moves up to the top of the food chain and eventually you and I eat it. Birds also eat the fish eggs and ingest the plastic, and eventually die from rupturing organs especially when they eat things like toothbrushes and syringes.
Continue reading "The North Pacific Trash Gyre" »
I haven't? Do check them out -- it's a Grassroots Political Action campaign working toward the mandatory labeling of GMOs, the regulation of PharmCrops, and saving organic food from GMOs. There are handy-dandy Action Alerts, and you can sign up to have them emailed to you as well. Definitely worth checking out.
Another very interesting site is The New Farm, which offers "farmer-to-farmer know-how from the Rodale Institute." They have such helpful things as The New Farm Organic Price Index, which tells you how much of a surplus you could/should be charging for organic crops, forums, etc. If you're an organic farmer (or want to be, someday), this site could be very useful.
The Green Guide has an article in their Sept/Oct issue entitled "Local or Organic? I'll take both." It's good reading, talking about the challenges of finding local, organic food, the expected impact of Walmart's entrance into the organic market, and what you yourself can do. They link to an article in the Honolulu Weekly about eating only organic, local foods in Hawaii -- much more difficult than I would have thought!
Continue reading "Mid-week reading: How far does your food travel?" »
The Organic Consumers Association has a petition to stop the commercial release of genetically engineered plums. You might want to check it out...
Oh, and they have a biweekly email (Organic Bytes) about organic issues that can be very interesting; you can subscribe here if you're interested in doing so.
I just returned from the All Things Organic trade show and expo in Chicago, with so much I want to learn, talk, and write about. I also returned with a wicked case of food poisoning, so I'm postponing most of the above talking, learning, and writing until I feel better. Such exciting things are happening in the "organic world" these days, though, and the show was quite inspiring.
In the meanwhile, have you seen Co-Op America's new Responsible Shopper site? Its mission is:
Responsible Shopper reports on global research and campaign information in order to alert the public about the social and environmental impact of major corporations, while providing opportunities for consumers and investors to vote with their dollars for change.
We focus on companies with significant influence in their industry that are subjects of consumer and shareholder action campaigns. Getting these companies to change could lead to significant industry wide reform.
If you, like me, have trouble sometimes remembering which company is owned and by whom, who has egregious environmental practices, who keeps the sweatshops in business ... this site is for you. And remember -- if you sew your own clothes, from sustainable materials, you can be sure they're sweatshop-free!
They're trying to take away states' rights to have more stringent food labelling laws than what the federal government requires. This attempt would also take away the rights of local municipalities to pass laws preventing GMOs and RGBH. You can read more here. The National Uniformity for Food Act has already passed the house; we need to keep it from passing the Senate.
Continue reading "That pesky senate of ours! " »