Amazing Grains

We recently embroidered some of our Fairtrade Organic aprons for a local bakery in Olney called Amazing-Grains.  Knowing that Olney was the home of the hymn Amazing Grace we were interested to know more about the bakery and its name.

Gareth the owner was made redundant after a 30 year career in IT, he realised that his heart no longer belonged in the corporate world.

Over the years, extensive travel had opened his eyes to the fact that most other countries held bread in high esteem unlike the industrialised products passed on as bread for the lowest possible price in the UK. So after dabbling in food distribution, Gareth decided to address this issue by learning to bake “real bread”, using good quality ingredients, and an honest approach. Sales began with friends, then from the local pub, to deliveries 5 days a week, all produced from a 30 Sq ft kitchen in a tiny 2 bed cottage in Emberton, just outside Olney in North Buckinghamshire.

Now baking 4 days a week from a converted workshop in East St in Olney, Amazing-Grains produces around 300 loaves a week, using only natural ingredients, time and no processing aids, to produce breads with a flavour, second to none.

The name of the bakery was based on the hymn Amazing Grace written by the curate of Olney, John Newton and published in 1779. It is one of the most recognisable songs in the English-speaking world.

We love supplying aprons to local businesses and particularly to one that has such an interesting story. You can find about more about Amazing Grains HERE

Fairtrade Fortnight 2019

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 25th Feb – 10th March 2019

Fairtrade fortnight is run for two weeks each year when campaigners, businesses, schools and groups show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food, crops and manufacture our clothes in developing countries, people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world and who are often exploited and badly paid.

At Impact Trading and Cotton Roots we supply many businesses and groups with Fairtrade Organic clothing and have a wide range of colours in t shirts, polos, sweatshirts, hoodies as well as children’s clothing

We also supply beautiful heavyweight Fairtrade, Organic cotton Aprons

All of these products can be printed and embroidered with your branding or supplied plain.

For more information please visit:

www.cottonroots.co.uk
www.impacttrading.co.uk

New Fairtrade, Organic range at Cotton Roots

We are really excited to announce that we now have a whole new range of Fairtrade Organic products available online from Cotton Roots just in time for Fairtrade Fortnight.

Not only are they Fairtrade and Organic products but there are lots of other great things about them.   Their buttons are made using waste cotton which is compressed and coloured to match the garments. The swing tags are also made from the waste cotton made into paper.

The range consists of t shirts, long and short sleeve in a selection of styles, polo shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and zipped hoodies.  Most of the garments come in men’s, ladies as well as unisex fit and most have a wide range of colours to choose.

We also have a children’s range with t shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, which come in a bright selection of colours.

If there is something you need which isn’t on our website please get in touch with us as we have other products available in the range.

sales@cottonroots.co.uk
01908 511051

Crafting Aprons – Britain & Bangkok

I loved this video.

Sometimes with our team working and designing aprons for our customers it’s like going back in time.

People marking patterns, adding eyelets, cutting, sewing, measuring. 

We are in the British countryside rather than Bangkok but the similarities are there. We manufacture aprons for Michelin Chefs, TV Chefs, high street restaurants, artisans, people with enthusiasm for quality and design.

Design team seep in discussion – apron concept and design and manufacture for customer

Our people love fabric.  Hording at home and a treasure trove of new fabric arriving daily to our workplace.  New designs for customers and a pride in what we create.

pride noun (SATISFACTION) ​ B2 [ U ] a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that you get because you or people connected with you have done or got something good

Crafting an apron from YellowStuff Bangkok on Vimeo.

Fairtrade Ideas for Schools in Fairtrade Fortnight – Newsletter

We have decided to post copies of our newsletters which we email out to our supporters. This one was designed to let our customers know about some our our new supplies which we hope they might be interested in.

We love supporting Fairtrade and our range is ever increasing.

The newsletter includes Fairtrade and organic T Shirts, Tea Towels, Tote Bags – all plain ready for printing with fabric pencils or pens by school children.  If we are sent photographs of any final results we will create a gallery on our blog of the resulting designs.  Maybe rustle up a Fairtrade prize or two!

Our new supplies with Fairtrade Fortnight in Mind
Our new supplies with Fairtrade Fortnight in Mind

Change Your Shoes

I have become addicted to YouTube.  Second only to The Guardian and The BBC website. How come the internet can become so addictive?  I am reasonably confident that in the future I will not look back, sigh fondly and think “I’m so pleased I looked at the news incessantly”.   However……YouTube is the new thing for me.  We are developing our own channel and while meandering around the eclectic, sprawling, enlightening, frightening, unpleasant, inspiring range of videos,  I came across this one – Change Your Shoes.

There is an app to support it so that I could go on a virtual march to Brussels. At the end of the campaign there will be a petition asking EU policy makers to prioritise regulating the shoe industry. When we purchase clothing, shoes, food, anything really, it is so easy to just not even think about how they were made and who made them. Sometimes we want to close our eyes and shut down our curiosity because the whole world seems such a crazy, barbaric, place and it can feel overwhelming.   Especially if you watch as much news channels as I do – the bad stuff gets all the headlines.

But I can make a difference.  Watching this video made me feel positive.  Because it reminded me – if I ask a few questions when I buy things, is this local produce when I eat in a restaurant? Who made these shoes and what do you know about them? How were these handbags made, who made them?   Its not enough that they look or taste beautiful – who made them, how they were treated, what they are made of, has an influence on how beautiful they really are.

What Daisy Did is a local company who really do know who make their handbags.  I have a bag and a purse and two of my friends following Christmas have bags and my niece a purse.  These bags really are beautiful inside and out – whenever someone says “I love your bag Susan” I immediately launch into the sustainable, ethical, story behind each of them.

Here at Cotton Roots our range of Fairtrade clothing and textiles is also beautiful and fascinating to me. I adore knowing where the cotton came from – Pratima Organic Growers Group in Odisha India, that Sreeranga has organised our order for us, that Armstrong Knitting Mills spun the cotton for us, that Suvastra made the items for us.

Our new delivery of Fairtrade tea towels and Fairtrade shopping bags thrill me.

Sign up for the virtual march to Brussels on the app here 

 

New – Fairtrade Certified Shopping Bags

Yes! We have added to our Cotton Roots  Fairtrade range of  products.

With Fairtrade Fortnight fast approaching I thought to myself – shall we take the plunge and have some shoppers made for us – and decided Yes!  It’s is always exciting to me when we take that jump and add that extra item to our range.

Our bags will be plain and ready for us to print for our customers with their design.

Cotton Shopper

The Cotton Roots shopping bags will be made of 100% Fairtrade certified cotton and will be organic cotton as well.  We have had a number of requests from some of our customers for a while now, so we will stock bags 37cm x 42cm with a 65cm handle.

When customers want Fairtrade certified bags at a specific size, we will be able to make them to order.  If ordered in larger quantities we will be able to reduce the price.

Fairtrade & Organic bags made to order for customers

The cotton for our new Fairtrade certified bags is grown by Pratima Organic Growers Group in India.  Sreeranga has organised the swift manufacture of them so we receive them in January – in plenty of time for Fairtrade Fornight – more information here.

T Shirt Fairtrade desiged by school childrenIn previous years primary schools have ordered white Fairtrade certified t-shirts and children have designed pictures to be printed on the front.

We hope that this year our shopping bags might be suitable and we may even offer tea towels.  Mmmmm – I am thinking – shall we take the next jump and stock these too?

 

The People Who Grow the Cotton for our Fairtrade & Organic Clothing

I thought you might  like to know about the people who plant, care for and harvest the cotton which we use in our Cotton Roots clothing.  After all that’s what Fairtrade is all about – having a connection and supporting people at the start of the cotton chain – the farmers.

The reasons I love Fairtrade and consider it the “Gold Ribband” of ethical certification is because I know where every step of the manufacturing chain takes place.  Including the cotton farmers, the weavers, knitting mill, dyers and manufacturer of the actual garments.

The cotton for our range of Fairtrade and Organic Polo Shirts, T Shirts, Hoodies, and Tea Towels is all grown in the Indian state of Odisha by Pratima Organic Growing Group.

The cotton for our Cotton Roots clothing grown by Pratima Growers group
The cotton for our Cotton Roots clothing grown by Pratima Growers Group

We work closely with Sreeranga (Ranga), who is on the centre left picture above. Ranga often spends time with the cotton farmers and is vital to create the link between you, our supporters and customers, our team at Cotton Roots and the cotton farmers.

The cotton farmers have a Facebook page and I thought it would be a great idea to let our customers know about it.  Maybe you can contact them and thank them for their top quality cotton? Or post some photographs showing the clothes you have which has been made with their cotton? This is the Pratima Facebook page.

Go on make the connection to the people who grew the cotton for you and who you try to support through Fairtrade.

Really enjoyed this article written by Sureel Singh who is a Fairtrade Liaison Officer and worked with the farmers. Transformation journey for Pratima Cotton growers.  It gives a really good insight into the project and the great progress being made.

 

Hanslope Wallaby at Work! What?

Our premises are on the beautiful Rose Lane Farm in Hanslope.   A stunning place to work.

We see hares, a little owl nest in the neighbouring tree, buzzards, kites, rabbits, mice, frogs, and sky larks,  In fact Roy Courtesan takes great care to leave space clear within certain fields for the skylarks, and maintains paths for ramblers.

We approach work on a long drive through wheat fields.  But today there was a visitor to the fields.  A group of ramblers spotted a albino wallaby in the top field!  Hanslope village has a wallaby.

Here is the video they took.  http://bcove.me/mpjqr9vb  (Sorry about the advert for the first few seconds I couldn’t get a video without it).

Hanslope Wallaby

Well.  I am excited to say the least.

I have dug out my binoculars and sent a text to the rest of the team.  Tomorrow we will have a break from work and go wallaby watching.  After you only live once, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Yup a wallaby at work – not a wally.

Can’t wait.

Are businesses doing enough to encourage sustainability?

“Business sustainability, also known as corporate sustainability, is the management and coordination of environmental, social and financial demands and concerns to ensure responsible, ethical and ongoing success.”

The global population has now reached over seven billion, resources are increasingly scarce and climate change is a reality. The more we take a sustainable and ethical approach in our daily lives, the better. The same goes for businesses; the more companies that incorporate sustainability into their lifestyles – the better. The two go hand in hand.

Consumers are generally aware of the environmental impact of energy use, transportation, waste and recycling, with basic environmentally friendly actions, such as switching off lights, reusing shopping bags and opting for paperless bills now a part of their daily lifestyles. But far fewer are aware of the relative impacts of their leisure and lifestyle choices and the goods and services they consume.

Brands and retailers have a good opportunity to help consumers understand the broader impacts of their lifestyles and the products they use but are they doing enough? Shouldn’t all businesses be highlighting the importance of sharing environment related information with consumers to help them make the right choice for the environment and a sustainable future?

In 2013, research from the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Consumption initiative revealed these findings:

  1. Sustainability needs a makeover: Consumers need to be excited and motivated by sustainability in order to engage. Business needs to use language that is more familiar and offer consumers incentives and sustainable choices that are more relevant to their lives and aspirations.
  1. Companies need to use six key strategies to seize the opportunity and enable more sustainable lifestyles. They can strengthen the consumer case for sustainability, engage their marketers, better integrate sustainability into research and development, create platforms for consumer collaboration, activate employees as advocates, and quantify outcomes.

There is a significant opportunity for businesses to help consumers make major changes in their lifestyles and purchasing habits. Just by providing better information and labelling, increasing awareness about the issues that are important to their company, helping raise money for causes that are important to their stakeholders and ensuring sustainability takes centre stage when it comes to product innovation.

At Cotton Roots, we are passionate about making clothing which are fairly made, ethical sourced and sustainable in creation and we believe strongly in promoting this cause.

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 14.29.33

Here are just some of the things we do at Cotton Roots, which we hope encourages more people to think of ways they too, can lead a sustainable lifestyle:

  • 95 percent of all the bags we use to package our garments are recyclable.
  • We find use for all of garments and donate clothes to Willen Hospice which is local to us, or to World in Need www.winint.org
  • Where we can’t use some of the by-products of our manufacturing process we try and find another use for them
  • We often have small amount of rayon thread left on spools. Local schools and universities use the spare thread
  • We also collect our off-cuts of FAIRTRADE and organic fabric. We have found university students really appreciate these pieces of material for use in often ground-breaking fashion designs.
  • Our cardboard is donated to schools when it is useful, otherwise it is sorted for recycling.
  • Whenever we can we purchase items which are pre-used.
  • We purchase our electricity from Ecoctricity. After much research we selected Ecotricity as the energy supplier most committed to renewable energy.
  • We have recently found a printer that uses vegetable oil inks. We also use recycled paper throughout the company or paper which uses FSC managed forests.

What about you? What do you think? Do you think businesses are doing enough to promote sustainability?