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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?

 

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.

Go green with these apps

Put your hands up if you are trying to live a little bit greener. Okay, you can put them down now! At Cotton Roots, we are certainly trying to live life sustainably, but knowing what to buy, what not to buy, what to eat, what not to eat, how to dispose of things… these can all leave you scratching your head from time to time. But did you know your phone can actually help you go greener? 

The internet is full of articles about sustainability, which is great for when you’ve got the time to read them, but when it comes to your daily lives and your busy schedule, sometimes you might need a little reminder. Now there are apps available that can put actionable challenges right at the tips of your fingers, no matter where you are. Since smartphones arrived in our lives, there’s a world of possibilities  to help you embrace a sustainable lifestyle. From reducing your carbon footprint, to protecting the environment, here are some of the best apps for green living:

JouleBug

Joulebug “make sustainable living social, simple, and actually fun.”

This app rewards you for being sustainable, and with rewards comes more encouragement to be more sustainable! You can download the app and earn points every time you make a sustainable decision, like biking to work instead of driving. You can earn badges and pins and compete with your friends on Twitter and Facebook to do your environmental part. The badges get more difficult, and more rewarding, as you earn more points. Each badge comes with visual, informative content that provides the knowledge and motivation you need to make small but significant changes in your daily habits. Not only that, it also helps you save money and cut down on your carbon footprint.

  • Earn pins, badges and points for discovering new ways to go green
  • Buzz every time you do something sustainable – every time you Buzz something, you’ll be helping the planet. JouleBug measures the impact for you, all you’ve got to do is Buzz it.
  • Compete in challenges to see who’s the greenest
  • Join communities to learn the latest on sustainability near you
  • Share how you are making a difference

8292958010_e3d456a22c_ocredit: Gonzalo Baeza/ CC BY

UNEP Carbon Calculator

This app allows you to calculate your impact to the environment. Greenhouse gases have some of the worst effects on global climate change. The UNEP Carbon Calculator lets you calculate how much CO2 is given off when you travel i.e driving to work, taking a train or flying somewhere. Users  can then convert their personal carbon footprint for journeys taken by air, train or road. They will then be shown the equivalent area of a particular ecosystem (such as a tropical forest) that can absorb this amount of carbon dioxide.

Green Retail 

The Green retail app is perfect for small shops and retailers as it helps save on water, energy and waste. Once downloaded, the Green Retail App will give small retailers videos, practical tools and advice on how to be more efficient. The retail sector has the potential to make huge efficiency savings and this app helps them realise savings where they can and to make their businesses more efficient. It includes quick guides to:

  • Energy Saving
  • Water Efficiency
  • Reducing Waste
  • Managing Waste
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Storing & Handling Goods

RIPPL

Rippl is a free mobile app that helps you make simple, sustainable choices by delivering weekly green living tips. Each tip is designed to help transform your habits, save you money and help you live a greener life. We often set out with the best of intentions such as taking reusable bags for food shopping, or switching off the lights when they aren’t being used but sometimes we forget, and Rippl is your reminder! RIPPL includes:

  • Free green living tips to help improve your day-to-day habits
  • Ability to set goals and track your progress to show your impact
  • Science-based recommendations for proven ways to help grow a healthy environment
  • Opportunity to suggest your own tips to the community and share your success with your friends

The Recycle App

The recycle app gives real-time reporting and recycling for local authorities. Can you never remember which week is green bin or black bin? Then this is the app for you! It also allows you to set collection reminders, so you’ll never forget to recycle and it gives you a real-time map of “Recycling & Waste Points” within your local area.

Fair Trade Organic Certified Hoodies for Schools and Students

Our shipment of Fair trade organic hoodies for students arrived a few weeks ago. Hurray!

All made especially for us in India.

Fair trade & Organic Cotton Spun for our Fair Trade Hoodies
Cotton Ready spun for Our Fair Trade Hoodies

 

It has been exciting, impatiently waiting for them to arrive. Now the warehouse is filled to the brim with boxes full of them. We have royal blue, red, navy and black. We thought students would be interested in them as these young people seem to be particularly socially aware, committed to Fair Trade, and want to take action.
We thought the interest would come from students at college or university.
But after only a few weeks of the hoodies being delivered we have had lots of interest from schools. They pupils want to wear Fair trade garments for school trips and special events. We embroider or print logos or designs created by pupils onto them. I have enjoyed talking directly with six formers who have been a pleasure to collaborate with. It is these young people who are taking responsibility for placing and looking after orders for their groups and teams.

In a nutshell early days yet but it looks like we have a Fair Trade garment that is going to be popular – which means that we can we can order more, help create fairer working conditions in the garment industry in India.

www.cottonroots.co.uk 01908 290482

We supplied a School with Fairtrade Polo Shirts in Costa Rica!

We were excited again here at bonny Cotton Roots.  This has to be the customer who lives the furthest away from us.

The Centro Billingue Waldof in Costa Rica placed an order with us for yellow Fairtrade certified polo shirts for the pupils of the school.  We embroidered them with their logo……….. here it is –

The logo embroidered onto Fairtrade cotton polo shirt fabric

It odes make us very proud to be selected.  I am an admirer of Rudolf Steiner and think I would have loved to have been taught at a Waldorf school myself when I was a child.

The gallery at the school website is really special.  Take a look please!  here is a link  Centro Billingue Waldorf.  You can also find out about the philosophy of Steiner.  Thank you Veronica for asking us to supply you.

We are talking to a UK school based on the same principles so are hopeful of working with them too.  It’s a bit hush hush at the moment. Shhhhh

My dream of course to work in some way, one day, with the school based at the Findhorn Foundation.  That would be a circle. Ahhh

Organic and Fairtrade Aprons – Our Customers Top Twenty Competition

I had a brain wave last night.  One of my favourite things to do (which I don’t do often enough) it to go into our production area and look at some of the embroidery as it is produced off the machines.  We all enjoy watching the machines embroider away and then – voilà- a beautiful embroidery.

The thing is  – so many of our customers, especially the artisans, or those running organisations with passion have such original names, beautiful designs, quirky ideas.

We supply many prestigious organisations and large corporate companies.  Their designs are more functional and homogeneous.  Of course we love to work with them too.  But……these smaller businesses, with their passion and plans really do give us pleasure here at Impact Trading and Cotton Roots.

So I thought I would start with writing a little feature about those companies who have Organic and Fairtrade aprons from us.  Show you their design and tell you a little about what they do and the impact they have in the world.

What better to place to start than a TINY order we did today.  Our usual minimum order is twelve garments embroidered with the customers logo (it can be a mixture of garments).  But today we supplied a Tiny order for The Tiny Bakery which has a Tiny oven.  So for a starter this person behind this company, Veneatta Leyland, had the charisma to get around our small order rule!

The Tiny Bakery, aka Venetta, produces bread in her tiny oven.  What is unusual is that it is beautifully made, she will only supply within a one mile radius of her small home town of Wolverton, and for every loaf she bakes she supplies one free of charge to local organisations in need.  Take a look at her website here The Tiny Bakery.

So Venetta is the first in my newly started top twenty list.

Here is a picture of the part finished aprons.  I hope to post a picture of Venetta wearing  one on Monday.

Soon to added to the top twenty list is My Fair Cup Cake,  Fallen Angel, Balgove Larder, The Yard, Dri Dri Gelato …………the list goes on.  At the end we will have a competition and the winner will get 12 beautiful, natural, Fairtrade, organic aprons embroidered with their own logo.

See our aprons at here on our website www.cottonroots.co.uk  – by the way the models are my sister and her son – they look fabulous too.

Guiseley Methodist Junior Church – Dye Fairtrade T Shirts

Recently we had an enquiry from a group wanting some of our white, Fairtrade certified t shirts.  Of course we were delighted to supply.  The organiser Sarah Osgerby was very committed to the idea of Fairtrade and nothing else would do!

Fairtrade t shirts dyed using fabric sprays.

I was really pleased when I was sent some photographs showing the finished results. I was also impressed.  I think they are outstanding.  They used fabric spray to create tie dye effects on the t-shirts.

The t shirts are going to be used for next the harvest service display.

Fairtrade t-shirts dyed for Harvest Festival

Spare Fairtrade Polo Shirts – Free

We have around 30 white children’s polo shirts, all Fairtrade certified available free of charge. The collars a “shade” whiter than the rest of the garment. You can see it in a certain light but don’t even notice in others. Still they don’t reach our quality standards for school uniform – so if you are a charity, or a not for profit organisation give me a call and we will send them to you.

New Online Ordering for School Customers

At the end of last year we introduced a new service so that parents can order school uniform for their children online.

I have been very pleased at how popular this is with our school customers.  The have usually taken the option of offering the opportunity for parents to place their orders on line, we then embroider the garments, pack them fro each child and then deliver them to the school.  We deliver once fortnightly to greatly reduce delivery costs – and of course carbon emissions!

Ordering online means that the school staff do not have to send out order forms, collect money, collate all the orders and then place a final order with us.  Instead we set up a simple website for each school which shows only their uniform and then do the rest of the legwork leaving the teachers to teach.

The extra good thing for us is that it gives even more reason for potential new school customers to select us as their supplier.  Along side this as we are just about the only supplier who are committed to holding stock of Fairtrade certified school uniform we are getting more and more schools coming on board.  I am just about to write to the Fairtrade Foundation to update them on how well we are doing.

The Welsh and Scottish Fairtrade groups have been particularly active in letting school know about us – so a heartfelt thanks to them.  It shows too …….we have many more schools who have selected Fairtrade school uniform who are based in Wales or Scotland.