Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sustainable Agriculture & Philanthropy

Did you know that of the $500 billion ($500,000,000,000) given philanthropically each year, only 0.01% goes to sustainable agriculture? If this shocks you, please visit http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/, and sign the Slow Money Principles. It is time to take action and help sway these odds!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jessica Rodriguez

We hope you enjoy this video of Jessica Rodriguez. Jessica is a close partner with Indigenous. Here she tells the story of creating opportunity for knitters in southern Peru through collaboration within the Indigenous Designs fair trade production model. Jessica Rodriguez visited Indigenous after being recognized by Hilary Clinton for her important work.

Over a decade ago, we met a remarkable woman named — Jessica Rodriquez — while traveling in
the Andes of Peru. At that time Jessica was producing hand made knits and working with just a few
employees. Her mission was to provide opportunities to the many women in remote areas who had
no access to work. We shared in Jessica’s vision, and through planning and commitment, set forth
on a path together to bring opportunity to these women. Thanks to the wonderful response from
customers like you Indigenous has been able to slowly build up capacity and provide stable work for
the artisans, and Jessica now manages and supports over 700 families throughout the highlands of
This is the story of Mario and Maria Huisa. They are just one of the 700 family members who have
benefited from collaboration over the past decade. When Jessica first met Maria and Mario, they
were living and working in a modest brick home in the highlands of Peru. Together, Mario and Maria
wanted to find opportunities to work within their village while continuing to practice their ancestral
knitting heritage. They also wanted to find a way to help support their community. Jessica recognized
a special spark within Mario and Maria. She explained, “They had passion and wanted to make a
difference within their village and family, but because of their distant location the opportunity for
work was scarce.” Through collaboration with Indigenous and Jessica, Mario and Maria were
provided with just the opportunity they needed. They started with only one knitting machine and the
passion to make a difference in their community. Today, Mario and Maria have built a new home, own
ten knitting machines, four linking machines and provide work for up to 40 artisan knitters within
their community. Mario and Maria shared in our vision and the fundamental belief that if given the
opportunity, change could happen. They are just one example of the courage and tenacity that
indigenous artisans possess. Thank you for allowing us to provide the opportunity for change.
Our specific work with Jessica has been acknowledged by Hilary Clinton and the State Department
through Pathways to Prosperity as an exemplarily model for women empowerment and

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Evolution of Indigenous - MBN News

Indigenous President & Co-founder, Matt Reynolds, in LA with MBN News talking about the Indigenous Fair Trade & Organic Fashion path over the past 15 years. Check it out!

Watch Indigenous Designs Fair Trade and Organic Fashions in Faith & Lifestyle  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Youtopia - Vote for Indigenous

Hi Indigenous friends,

We your support! Please vote for Indigenous in the Youtopia contest to help us win $15,000 in Free Range design or strategy services. Free Range produced the "Story of Stuff" and could help us expand an understanding of the importance of Fair Trade handicraft work. You can help by simply voting for Indigenous! Here's how:

Indigenous is listed under the section labeled "Socially Responsible For-Profit" - Vote for: Mindful Purchase For People And The Planet

Thanks for all of our friends and fans for your support!!!!!!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Political Packrat: Slow Money: A Fast Growing Idea

Slow Money is the name of a book, a movement, and an idea whose time has come. The subtitle of the book " investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered" explains the heart of the movement which is only about a year old, but which is going viral all over the world.

The principles of slow money are not about capitalism or communism but about common sense and basic morality. The idea of slowing money down means to not invest for a quick killing and maximum return for investors, but to invest for long tern goals and the good of both investment and investor.

Political Packrat: Slow Money: A Fast Growing Idea

Indigenous Raises Money for Sebastopol School District

On October 15th and 16th, 2009, Indigenous contributed to the Sebastopol School District fundraising efforts by selling their contemporary fair trade + organic apparel to locals and parents. During the two day effort, Indigenous was able to raise $798 for the Pine Crest, Park Side and Brook Haven Schools of Sebastopol, California.

"I have three daughters in our local school system, so I feel a compelling duty to assist the district with fundraising efforts where possible. In these difficult times when our schools are continually being left behind and under-funded by the State, we at Indigenous Designs feel that it is an honor to serve our community and support raising funds for our children’s education. Supporting and educating the future leaders of America and the World, is a responsibility and investment that can not afford to be marginalized."
Scott Leonard, CEO Indigenous

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Styles for Fall Available Now!

New styles are now available at the Indigenous retail shop.

25% off for all of our Facebook Twitter and Blog friends! Just use code: INDI9 at checkout to receive your discount.

Click Here for New Fall Product!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seed A New Economy

Pledge $5 to seed a new economy

Starting Tuesday, October 6th 2009, thousands will join you in seeding a new economy by contributing $5 or more. 100% of the money goes to the Slow Money Alliance.

Our goal is 200,000 donations for a total of $1 million dollars that will be used to help Slow Money. Its first goal: a million people signing the Slow Money principles. From there, steering tens of millions dollars per year of creative funding to small food enterprises and organic farming, to support a new economic vision based on soil fertility, diversity and nonviolence. This is truly historic.

Make your pledge today, then return to this site and make your contribution of $5 or more. You may also donate directly on the Slow Money Alliance site starting October 6th. The event will run for one week - 12:00am EST on October 6th through 11:59pm EST on October 12th. The more we raise, the more media attention we'll get. If you don't want to wait until the 6th to donate, you can contribute now at the Slow Money Alliance website.

So you know we're on the up-and-up, all donations will be made on the Slow Money Alliance's website. We chose the Slow Money Alliance because its founders and board have a proven track record of running successful, socially responsible businesses. If anyone is going to pave the way for a radical shift in our economy - from the ground up -- it's them.

Read about Slow Money in Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
Sign the Slow Money principles
Meet the Slow Money Board and Advisors
who are we and why are we doing this?

The idea was hatched in Santa Fe by Shelly Roche, Anthony Nicalo & Derek Shanahan. We're doing it because we (like many of you) want to change the world, and we had an idea, and we wanted to see if we could help make it happen. We're not making any money off this, we're just hoping to be able to demonstrate a new model for how the economy can work when social responsibility meets community-supported business.

We are not employed by the Alliance. We are enthusiastic members of the Alliance, and are inspired to act.
thank you

Your support means more than you'll ever know, to more people than you can imagine.
questions? want to know more?


Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Official Pardon from Saveagallon

Reports from the Sustainability Across America Tour

I knew from the start that this road trip wasn’t the most eco-friendly way to report on the sustainability movement. Yes, it’s been weighing on my conscience and my heavy carbon footprint. That is, until the good guys at Saveagallon issued me this Official Pardon!
I joined the Saveagallon community after college as a fun way to gauge all that carbon and cash I was saving by walking and biking to work everyday. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated to maintain your alternative methods of transportation, and they make it fun for the whole family. Over the past year, the SAG guys have experimented with projects like SAG eco-allowances for kids, where you can tally alternative transportation savings to offer as incentives for your kids to carpool to soccer practice and more.
This year the organization based in Davis, California has teamed up with Davis Bicycles in a year long project with the Davis School District. They’ve created a mechanism to track participation in an alternative transportation contest by user, classrooms, schools and school districts to generate some real buzz around environmental responsibility, health, and community participation amongst kids.
Just the kind of stuff the movement for sustainability is built upon.

Check our shiny new Official Pardon and sign up to to put a fun twist on all that peddling and pavement pounding you’ve been doing!

Trumpets Blaring Certificate Ceremony Time…

Ms. Jones, for all your hard work and dedication to making the world a better place, we at Saveagallon.org would like to present to you one very cheesy, virtual pardon to drive as much as you need to see this tour through. If anyone give you any trouble about driving and eco-reporting just send them to this link. We’ve got your back!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grass Roots Friends of Slow Money Campaign

A few weeks ago, I participated in the inaugural national gathering of the Slow Money Alliance, and I am extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity for this new organization to have major impact on our food system and our economy. Many of that event's 450 participants, from 34 states and six countries, felt the historic import of Slow Money's approach to finance, activism and entrepreneurship. We were deeply moved at the prospect of beginning to fix the economy, from the ground up. Slow Money is a non-profit dedicated to steering new sources of capital to local food systems, empowering individual investors to reconnect with their local economies and building an entirely new financial sector -- the nurture capital industry.

We are inspired, and we hope that if you take a minute or two to look at www.slowmoneyalliance.org, you will be, too. See some of the commentary from the inaugural gathering. Read the Slow Money Principles. See the growing list of Founding Members. Slow Money's mission and strategy could not be more timely. And so, we've been moved to action. To augment the Slow Money team's campaign to grow membership in the Slow Money Alliance, which starts at $25 and which has more than 125 Founding Members of over $1,000 or more, many of us are participating in an immediate grassroots Friends of Slow Money campaign to galvanize hundreds of thousands of $5 donations in the coming weeks.

Please join me in pledging to donate $5 to the Slow Money Alliance on October 6th. Do so here: http://friendsofslowmoney.com/

Thanks for your help!
Matt Reynolds

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magic Put the Wheels in Motion

Sustainability Across America Tour

Scott Leonard, CEO of Indigenous always says “The sweet spot for the Indigenous brand is somewhere between serendipity and sustainability.” And so it seems true for the movement as well.

Over the span of nearly two months of traveling and talking to pioneers and activists in the sustainable realm, one thing appears incredibly evident- that there is magic in the making of this movement. In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken muses at the importance of seemingly mundane actions and occurrences that are in fact crucial links in the chain reactions that lead to massive change, in the civil rights movement, in the satyagraha movement, and in the sustainability movement.
As you follow along on this journey, you’ll learn that Indigenous is not only a sponsor of this project but a lot of the heart and engine behind it as well. Scott’s saying comes from his personal experience of the wonder and synergy that breed when like minded people come together for a cause that is bigger than themselves. One thing I’ve learned in my travels so far is that few people fulfill a single role in the movement, frequently, they’ve got their hands in a dozen projects that contribute to change in a myriad of ways. Scott, ( aka “Uncle Green” ) is one of these multi-tasking movers in the industry, and the Indigenous story neatly ties together many of the story ends that I’ve introduced to you along the way.
This particular story started in 2004, when Scott partnered with the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) to design an educational seminar on sustainability at Outdoor Retailer, an enormous industry trade show event. At the time, Kevin Hagen who you hopefully met in the article “Taking the REIgns” was beginning the process of getting his MBA in sustainable business at BGI and collaborated on this seminar, traveling to Outdoor Retailer to help out with the project. Long story short, the seminar was a success, but it only gave Scott a taste of fully sustainable flavor he wanted to bring out in this bi-annual event of an industry that is so closely connected to the perservation of our natural environmnet. So, Uncle Green got busy and in 2005, rolled out a Sustainability platform at the next O/R event called Green Steps with Kevin Hagen and Matt Reynolds (co-founder of Indigenous) “observing, supporting, and cheering on” at every level.

In the next few years, Green Steps accomplished a lot to “clean, green and educate around sustainability,” Scott said. Amongst the biggest accomplishments were getting the entire show, with acres upon acres of booths with electricity running carbon neutral and bringing in “best in class” speakers like Terry Gips of the Sustainability Associates to talk about everything from The Natural Step to Dan Imhoff author of Paper or Plastic discussing important packaging choices that industry faces. These sustainability talks gained momentum and came to feature executives and directors from such organizations as Forest Ethics, Trans Fair , Organic Exchange , E-mission solutions , LOHAS and the Chicago Climate Control Exchange. The magnitude of their impact was such as to raise awareness and eventually catalyze a spark with the Outdoor Industry Association for the creation of the Eco Working Group, a collection of over 180 brands, non-profits and government agencies engaged in round table discussion about product life cycle and sustainability in the Outdoor Industry. It wasn’t long before the OIA Eco Working group began assembling a Sustainability and Fair Labor Advisory Council.

Somewhere amidst the Green wave of commotion in around these collaborations , Kevin Hagen had graduated from BGI with an MBA in Sustainable Business and found himself in the position of Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at REI. Taking the reigns for sustainability in the company sometimes called the 800 lb. gorilla of the industry, Hagen has met with substantial success in partnerships like that with the Eco Working Group, of which Indigenous was a proud founding member. As this first chapter of this SAAT tour came to an end in the North West, I could not help to think that things had really come full circle with this connection between Indigenous , BGI , Kevin Hagen and Green Steps collaborations ~ or was this the sweet spot between sustainability and serendipity in full effect?
What started between Indigenous and BGI as a small seminar on sustainability has flourished like an olive tree, sprouting the Eco Working Group whose branches now reach far and wide in the industry, and has even followed in the evolution of Kevin Hagen’s career from student at BGI to Director of CSR in one of the most influential companies in the industry. A notion to elevate suataibilty through Green Steps, has been the spark for this monumental shift in the industry, and has itself evolved and extended its scope. Today, Scott Leonard is still beaming from the legacy of these seeds but humbly sates that this was truly a collabtion and none of it would have taken off the way it did if it were not for the heart felt support of people like Kenji Haroutunian , Executive Director of Outdoor Retailer and Environmental Journalist / Eco collaborator Pride Wright. “We needed and yearned collaboration along the way and I found support on all sides of the spectrum from Doug Hoschek virtual inventor of Polar Fleece to Frank Hugelmeyer, President of Outdoor Industry Association that were ready to embrace change and set a course for sustainability.” Said Scott.

Due to the Green Steps program Outdoor Retailer now boasts innovations like recycled paper badges printed with soy ink (a far cry from the conventional petroleum based badges of the past), recycled aisle and booth carpet that is reused at every show, the sale of organic food that is served on biodegradable food ware from sandwich containers to napkins, utensils and cups.
In the spirit of the sustainability movement, which is inherently collaborative and inclusive with a voracious appetite for progress, Green Steps cuts no corners in their quest to neutralize the impact of the Outdoor Retailer events. Each event is powered by 100% renewable wind energy and absolutely everything used in the production of the event is recycled- the cardboard from exhibitor move-in, all the garbage from the show floor is sorted and recycled, and all biodegradables are sorted and delivered to the local compost pile to be transformed into mulch and fertilizer for local growers. Through inspiration of Green Steps, the Oudoor Industry Association has even extended the Carbon Neutral Traveler Challenge that allows businesses to reduce the impact of their emissions through carbon offsets that support wind energy production.

The nature of the sustainability movement echoes the nature of Green Steps, with individual actors planting seeds and growing across every industry to spread the branches of sustainability across our very landscape. Similarly, the magic of coincidence, that which brought Kevin Hagen into the Green Steps project as a student of BGI and then into the positon of Director of CSR at REI exists in all levels of the movement. Perhaps most importantly, the synergy illustrated in this story that stems from an enducational endeavor by Indigenous that indirectly spawned such an active and progressive organization as the Eco Working Group exists all throughout this intricate network of entrepreneurs, authors, scientists, politicians and citizens that form this vital community that’s pushing the world farther away from the practices of the past and ever closer to a stable level of sustainability. And from this sustainability, the collective hope is that the world and all its inhabitants can truly begin to thrive, with crystal clear transparency, a benevolent spirit, collaborative energy and without hidden cost.

These first couple months of the Sustainability Across America Tour has just been the beginning.Along with the pioneers we’ve introduced you to so far are many others who work to increase global sustainability in a myriad of ways. Stories and interviews that are still to come from the North West chapter of this Sustainability Across America Tour are David Karr of Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate who boasts the sole business model that inherently restores Atlantic Rainforests and empowers indigenous people through what he calls “Market Driven Restoration.” Joel Soloman is a gardener who tends to the economy with the natural world in mind, working with Renewal Partners to plant capital seeds of positivity and harvest progress and change. Brian Nattrass and Mary Altomare are what I consider visionaries, linking the big dreams of sixties and seventies culture to the corporate world today and inciting change through the capitalistic machine.

And, I’m thrilled to give you a peek into our journey down the road. As we travel to New England and continue on our circuit back to the West Coast, we’ll be meeting with Josh Mailman, the founder of SVN and Scott Leonard describes him as the Johnny Apple Seed of change in and around social capital markets and the next waves of social entrepreneurs , Judy Wicks of White Dog Cafe and founder of BALLE, Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B-lab and B Corp, Eric Henry of TS Designs, and Woody Tasch of Slow Money. 

I hope you’ll continue to follow us along on this quest to explore this monumental movement that is changing the world we live in. As we travel further down the path I believe that we will continue to see that the sweet spot of progress is indeed where Scott Leonard believes it to be, “somewhere between serendipity and sustinability.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

Slow Money Inaugural Conference

I am just getting back in the office after attending a fired up Slow Money Inaugural conference in Santa Fe, NM last week! Over 400 hundred leaders/change agents were in attendance representing farmers, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.

Notable attendee's:
Paolo de Croce, the head of Slow Food international, Italy
George Sieman, CEO of Organic Valley
Greg Steltenpohl - Founder Odwalla
Tom Miller - Former Head, PRI's Ford Foundation
Don Schaffer - CEO - Rudolph Stiener Foundation
Etc., etc., etc.

The three day event kept the attention of everyone, leaving us full of energy, passion, and plenty of action items to help elevate Slow Money into international recognition/status. People attending came from Italy, Australia, the UK, and all but 18 of the United States! So what can you do to support Slow Money?

First Action Item - go to http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/ , read the principles and if you agree with them - SIGN THEM!

Second Action Item - Go to: http://www.seedslowmoney.com/ - check out the video created the 2nd evening after the conference. If you stand behind Slow Money, then give $5.00 to the cause. After participatin, get out there and start sharing this Seed Slow Money Link with your social media networks (facebook, twitter, Linkedon, etc). Slow Money is launching a 1 week long Social Media Blog effort to raise money for Slow Money through $5.00 individual investments. Let's see how much we can raise!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scott Leonard, Exit Strategies, and Why I’m Going to SOCAP09

Scott Leonard

Scott Leonard is the CEO of Indigenous Designs, a pioneer in the field of fair trade organic apparel.

1) Where do you see your organization fitting into the capital market spectrum?

I see Indigenous Designs having a two-part mission within the social capital markets. First is to educate people/partners about the entire value chain around organic and fair trade progress and certifications, from the organic farmer to the final consumer.

The second is to serve as a beacon on some of this progress and issues, from our place on the entrepreneurial, wholesale and manufacturing side. SOCAP is an incredible opportunity to convene and build relationships with a lot of our existing funding partners. Further, because SOCAP truly is a place where innovative social financial institutions are coming to work and share ideas, Indigenous Designs is part of a large community working to change the way the world works with money.

2) What do you hope to get out of SOCAP09?

Our conference goal is to bring together social capital players into project-related investments to validate the product chain from field to consumer. My personal goal is to serve the SOCAP conference community as a connective spirit.

3) What questions do you hope to raise at SOCAP09?

In the questions I raise at SOCAP, I hope to bring in the entrepreneurial spirit and perspective. One question I want to raise is about exit strategies. When financial institutions think about asking entrepreneurs about exit strategies, I want them to ponder the question, where do they truly want the entrepreneurs — or themselves — to exit to? Can we take a more mindful and sustainable approach to growth and exit strategies?

The reason I want people to be mindful of exit strategies is because for the last decade, the economy has been built on a house of cards and somewhat slash and burn. Many examples of financial models — even existing ones — are dinosaur and defunct. The past is not the vision of sustainable commerce in which we intend to forge. If the social capital market wants to create an ROI sweet spot, then can we please all be sure not to bring old school matrix and valuations as examples to the table to gauge success? What kind of rate of return do we really need? What do we really want to build?

Overall, I hope to raise questions that surround the importance of voting with our investment money, just as we ask consumers to do with their dollars when they go into a store. I would like for the community to look at the entire model that exists today, and how we can appropriately deconstruct it to create a more sustainable economy. It is possible to deconstruct and retrofit a large bridge while it is still being used? Can we think about the new economy we are building with this as a metaphor?

To me, right now, there are prime examples of this starting to surface and support the building blocks of long term sustainable growth - for example, the whole Slow Food movement, which has set the course for the “Slow Money” movement, which is a close friend of the B.A.L.L.E. and Go Local movements. I think it would be invaluable for us to truly get folks in the investment community to see that the equivalent of a slow-cooked organic meal is the best way to build forward our business intentions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered

08/27/09 Woody Tasch: Slow Money, Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered
Hear a bold new approach to investing in the very land of our communities
Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility MatteredWoody Tasch, Chair and President, Slow Money; AuthorTasch has three decades of experience working along the boundaries of venture capital, social investing and philanthropy. The chairman and president of Slow Money, a new nonprofit intermediary dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital to enterprises that support the values that underline slow money, Tasch explains how we can "slow down" the flow of money to support soil fertility and local communities.

MLF: Environment & Natural ResourcesLocation: SF Club Office Time: 5:30 p.m. networking, 6 p.m. programCost: $8 members, $15 non-membersNEW: Buy the Book: Order Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money, by Woody Tasch, from The Club's eBay store (link takes you to new site). If you order the book fewer than five business days before the event, it will be available for pick up at the event. If you order more than five days before the event, the book will be sent to you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

BGI, environmental responsibility Interview

At long last, check out this link to read an awesome interview conducted between Bainbridge Institute Founder, Gifford Pinchot and Sustainability Across America Tour Ambassabor, Laura Jones.
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Gifford Pinchot, President of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, sat down with me to talk about academics, BGI, and the dilemma that sustainability faces in the world today. We sat in BGI’s Seattle office on a rainy Thursday afternoon and I set about asking him about their MBA in Sustainable Business and the future of the movement in academia. Our conversation started out by delving into BGI’s roots, the humble beginnings before accreditation, and what it is that makes this institution what it is today: the number one graduate school in socially responsible business.
Just five minutes into our talk, Gifford made a statement that struck a chord about the split state of the sustainability movement today.
He said, “What existing traditional schools can’t do is integrate sustainability into the curriculum.”
In researching BGI, I encountered a number of other schools jumping on the so-called “green MBA” bandwagon, both Ivy League and otherwise. It seems as though our academic institutions would be the best tool for indoctrinating the youth with a new way of life, and if we lacked participation in that crucial realm, how would the movement progress? I pressed on, and he responded with this anecdote, a little story about an investment banker who doubled as a yoga master.
“Back in my consulting days I wanted to move my consulting practice a little bit in the direction of spiritual evolution and the like. I had a friend who was an investment banker and a very advanced yoga teacher and a spiritual type guy. So I hired him, and what I discovered is that I had hired two guys. He could be an investment banker, ruthless, heartless, ripping the heart out of the competition kind of guy, or he could be a yoga master and sweetness and light with no connection to finance or market share or any of those sorts of things. But he had no way to bring those two parts of his personality together because they had been educated separately and so they existed as separate domains of thought and probably in separate parts of his brain.”
And so, the plight of the movement today.
Society, it seems, may be experiencing the same kind of split-personality disorder. Our industrial and socio-environmental minds have evolved separately, and have existed in separate realms so that we sit today in a dilemma: We cannot continue operating as one mind who neglects to acknowledge that the other exists. Further, we cannot simply integrate elements of one mind into tenets of the other. Instead, we must embark on a complete restructuring of the way we think, the way we live in conjunction with our environment, and the way we do business. And that is exactly what BGI endeavors to do, “To change business by changing business education” by essentially wiping the slate clean, and educating with the triple bottom line in mind.
In many ways, BGI is a far cry from your typical academic institution; a place “where the assumption that the faculty know more than the students is neither made nor true,” and Pinchot comments on how the culture they have created lends to the success of the institution. As it turns out, culture and community play the lead role, a neat little theme we’re continuing to see throughout our journey into the movement.
Gifford delves into his story.
“What happens is when [faculty] come to BGI, they are allowed to teach with their full values and expression and obviously we’ve selected them because they have values that fit the movement. And once the genie is out of the bottle, they can’t get it back in. We also give them the opportunity to teach a different kind of student. So, in their home universities, there’s a pretty wide variation as to whether people believe in climate change and whatever. Here you’ve got an entire group of people who have been dealing with at least one of the two issues- sustainability or social justice- rather environmental responsibility and social responsibility- for a very long time with very few exceptions. Occasionally, we get the corporate executive who reads some book on sustainability and has that sort of road to Damascus experience where a lightning bolt comes down and the arrow in their heart, they can’t go on doing what they are doing and they come to our school. But they are rare compared to the folks who have been involved in the movement and the discovery they make when they come to BGI is “Wait a second, you can do this through business? You don’t just have to do it through government or non-profits?” or whatever, when, in fact, business is an essential part of putting sustainability into practice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sustainability Across America Tour & Bainbridge Graduate Institute

Check out the BGI Twitter from our Sustainability Across America Tour! Bainbridge Graduate Institute has been working with Indigenous on some cool measurable social return models. I am excited to see the pending interview with our fabulous SAAT host, Laura, and founder Gifford Pinchot! http://twitpic.com/dsjmt

The morning circle at BGI. Just had a phenomenal interview wi... on Twitpic
Source: twitpic.com
This is so great! BGI has worked with Indigenous on some
Indigenous Sustainability Across America Tour stops by REI, as well. We've has been selling to REI Since 2007. So I am stoked we have an opportunity to interview Kevin Hagen, their Sustainability Officer. http://www.facebook.com/teamSUSTAINABLE

Monday, August 10, 2009

Organic exhibitors at Outdoor Retailer: Elemental Herbs, Indigenous Designs, Locals Have More Fun

Exhibitors at Outdoor Retailer (OR), which ended on July 25th, are getting hip to the green thing. In all fairness, they have been for the last couple of years, but the green campaign did not receive much press until about five years ago, until the Outdoor Retailer started promoting its Green Steps initiative. Which rewards companies for being environmentally conscious. It just makes sense you should have as little impact on the earth as possible, but it’s just plain silly for an industry whose bread and butter and not to mention bottom line, lies in the wild places of the world.

The story of Indigenous Designs and its co-founders is too long and involved to tell in this medium. They are a fascinating, progressive, revolutionary company. They make fair-trade, simple and timeless clothing in Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala and India. All of their pieces are made in South American and Indian knitting co-ops using including alpaca, Merino wool and organic cotton. They have a rigorous inspection regimen and, once again, an extremely transparent supply chain. With clean lines and not over built, these items are beautiful while having a minimalist quality about them. Co-founded by Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds, a soft spoken, intelligent and articulate man in his late 30's in 1994. Both Scott and Matt were way ahead of their time. Indigenous is a pioneer in bringing organic and fair-trade practices to the forefront of the World's consciousness, even before the 'Go Green' movement was in its infancy in Al Gore's brain.

Read the full article here!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Slow Money

Chicago City Council passed the "Green Food" Resolution calling for more Farmers Markets, CSA's and Local Food!! Check out the Organic Nation link below

Organic Nationtv Blog Madison Hosts aSlow Money Conference An exploration of America's sustainable food landscape.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slow Money: Bringing money back down to earth

Just like Slow Food, Slow Money seeks to reconnect people to their local economy. For too long the little guy has been gobbled up by the big business.

Slow Money’s mission is:

  • To support small food enterprises that preserve and restore soil fertility, appropriate-scale organic farming and local food communities;
  • To catalyze increases in foundation grant-making and mission-related investing in support of sustainable and local economies; and,
  • To incubate next-generation socially responsible investment strategies, integrating principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place, cultural and biological diversity, and non-violence.
Here’s what’s up via The Humane Economy "Slow Money: where capital and culture collide"

Woody Tasch, a 30-year veteran of the venture capital industry, is the father of a new movement in socially responsible investing. But it’s much, much more than that. His vision is nothing less than the restoration of the market economy by supporting tens of thousands of independent, local-first enterprises. From the Slow Money home page:

In a world in which there is no such thing as money that is too fast, a company that is too big, or intermediation that is too complex, we find ourselves asking:

Can investing in local food systems offer an authentic alternative?

If organic farming and small food enterprises are key to the health of the economy, society, and the soil, why do they receive so little funding from government, philanthropy, or capital markets?

Could a million American families get their food from CSA’s?

Here’s a video of Tasch explaining the Slow Money movement:

Learn More About Slow Money

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ground-breaking report on consumer attitudes about organic products

Findings from the 2009 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study released last week at the Organic Trade Association's (OTA's) All Things Organic™ Conference and Trade Show in Chicago show that U.S. families are not giving up their purchases of organic products despite uncertainty over the economy.

In the study three in ten U.S. families (31 percent) indicated they are actually purchasing more organic foods compared to a year ago, with many parents preferring to reduce their spending in other areas before targeting organic product cuts. In fact, 17 percent of U.S. families said their largest increases in spending in the past year were for organic products.

Compiling results gathered from 1,200 families across the United States, this research identifies and profiles those who promote buying organic among family, friends and co-workers, specifically exploring the role parents play as potential influences. Data reveal the typical path of organic purchases, beginning with the most common points of entry and tracing this through succeeding product category purchases. The study also explores families' organic grocery shopping experiences and their preferences for the way organic products are organized and displayed on the retail level. In addition, it examines consumers' understanding of organic product labels.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What if your food purchases could?

What if your food purchases could?
  • Assure 53 million servings of fruits and vegetables each day are free of pesticide residues. (Enough to give 10 million kids five servings of fruit and vegetables each day).
  • Eliminate 2.5 million pounds of antibiotic used on livestock annually. (More than twice the amount used to treat human infections.)
  • Capture an additional 6.5 billion pounds of carbon in soil. (The amount emitted per year by 2 million cars driven for 12,000 miles.)
  • Eliminate 2.9 billion barrels of imported oil annually. (The amount of equal to 406,000 Olympic eight-lane competition pools.)
To "go organic" means better health for you and your family, the humane treatment of animals and the restoration and preservation of our Earth. But how much of an impact can you personally make by purchasing organic food? Currently organic food consumption is at about 2% of total sales. If Americans can increase that percentage to 10 percent by the year 2010, the increase will markedly improve the health of millions of people, especially infants, children and the elderly. Evidence is mounting that combinations of pesticides, food additives and growth hormones found in the common American diet can exponentially increase health risks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sara Snow Green Living Expert/Local Hero

Indigenous has recognized Sara Snow as a Local Hero as a way of thanking her for the incredible difference she has made through green media, education and countless other local acts that have inspired us all.

Here is what Sara has to say about Indigenous:

"I figure I wear my heart on my sleeve so why not wear my ideals IN my sleeve?! Indigenous Designs, with their organic fibers and fair trade practices, helps me. I'm proud to traverse this world helping people find their way to a greener, healthier life, and for my clothes, whenever possible, to be a reflection of that."

To learn more visit Sara's blog:

Healthy, Green and Sane | Sara Snow

Friday, June 12, 2009

Indigenous named Top 40 innovator in the apparel industry.

"It feels awesome to be recognized as one of the Top 40 innovators in the apparel industry. Scott, I and the Indigenous team have been committed to cutting edge sustainable practices and socially responsible fashion for 14 years now and to see first hand the industry go from 'impossible' to 'innovators', well, it means a lot to us" Matt Reynolds, President & Founder, Indigenous Designs.

Click here to learn more!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

B Corporations on the Road

B Corporations on the Road:
Hanson Bridgett's Sustainable Business Leadership Forum drew Eric Ryan (Method), Scott Leonard (Indigenous Designs), and Reem Rahim (Numi Organic Tea) to speak about B Corporations.

Sustainable Business Conference in Sonoma County drew Matt Reynolds (Indigenous Designs), Mal Warwick (Mal Warwick & Associates), Mike Hannigan (Give Something Back) and Michael Straus (Straus Communications) on a panel about B Corps.

Sustainable Brands Conference drew Jeff Mendelsohn (New Leaf Paper), joined Jay Coen Gilbert and Susan MacCormac in a plenary on the past and future of the corporation. Mike Hannigan, Reem Rahim, Edouard Rollet (Alter Eco), and Jay also spoke about B.

Friday, June 5, 2009


It's that time of year again when the Indigenous team prepares to show off our Spring 2010 organic fashions at apparel trade shows across the country.

We've been busy doing all that we can to promote sustainability and fair trade in the fashion industry while constantly raising the bar with our design, fit and feel. This season we've done it again and we're all excited to get out there and show off our incredible collection.

For any of you out there who have ever wondered what the set up for one of our trade shows is like, let us give you an idea of the mayhem...

Imagine having one day to move into a new house, and then having it ready for a dinner party at the end of the day!

Ahhh the glamor of fashion!

But it's all worth it in the end when we get to meet with all of our wonderful customers, and introduce new retailers to fair trade and organic fashion!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spring/Summer 2010 Photo Shoot

Images for the Indigenous Spring 2010 Photo shoot have been rolling in and they look fabulous!

This season opens up to a new idea of femininity, expressed within 2 concepts.

First, using refined knits, we have merged a new delicate minimalism with a sporty contemporary design feel, equating to a fresh unique look that brings us "back to basic" silhouettes with a twist.

Second, designed with vintage inspiration and subtle femininity, these silhouettes have a light sense of grace containing subtle, fragile detailing reminiscent of another place and time.

Elements of this season stitch work are:
* Melange Twisting
* Variegated Flamme knits - Creating a "barley textured feel"
* Crochet / Folkloric pieces - Precious, yet rustic are the key elements here.
* Sheer and graphic knit detailing - Knitting mishaps, runs and loose knits capture and fragile and modern trend.

Color Trend - Neutrals: Clear minerals such and white, gray and khaki - resonate with timeless elegance of safari spirit.

Color: Cool hues of navy, lavender, sea glass, and warm summer amber's - embodies the season's natural glow.

Designed to make everyday life beautiful!

Friday, May 29, 2009

BALLE Sustainable Manufacturing Summit

Fort Collins, CO - BALLE Sustainable Manufacturing Summit
Another incredible day filled with inspiring companies working together to raise the bar on Sustainability. Natures Path, Icestone, New Belgium, Milla by Mail, Zingerman’s Delicatessen, New Leaf Paper, Comet Skateboards, Indigenous, etc. etc.

I would like to thank my friends at New Belgium Brewery for hosting such a fine event at their offices and serving up beers afterwards. What an impressive company when it comes to sustainability measures and awesome beer!

Thanks also to local Bay Area Green Dudes, Don Shcaffer, RSF Social Finance, Jeff Mendleson, New Leaf Paper and Jay Coen Gilbert, B-Lab, for putting this years Sustainable Manufacturing event together. Cheers!

Slow Money

Just back from incredible Slow Money Retreat in Boulder, CO. learn more:

Slow Money: Patient Capital for Living Economies, Woody Tasch. See: www.slowmoneyalliance.org/management.html
“In a word where there is no such thing as money that is too fast, a company that is too big, or intermediation that is too complex, we find ourselves asking: Can investing in local food systems offer an authentic alternative?” Woody spoke at the BALLE conference in Denver after my meetings in Fort Collins last week. The room was packed. Many cool people in the room – including Jennifer Buffett.

Slow Money Principles. One of my favorites: “We must bring money back down to earth”. We are going to be tightening down the principles to 3-6, but you can see our current draft at http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/principles.html
It’s not just about food, although food is one of the most powerful places to initiate the process. Check out the Chelsea Green Interview video http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/video.html, as Woody explains Slow Money best in his own words.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Green Ball

Matt & Britta Reynolds got their groove on at the Green Ball put on by Friends of the Earth at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco the past Friday, May 15th. Stuart Rudick of Mindful Investors co-hosted the event. Stuart is a big fan of Indigenous as well as a financial supporter of the company. Indigenous also sponsered the auction held at the Green Ball. Here is Matt with Eco-Heroines & Indigenous fans Julia Butterfly and Darryl Hannah.