Monday, November 22, 2010


Fair Trade USA, the only third-party fair trade-certifier in the U.S, has launched a clothing certification that guarantees consumers that the clothing they purchase was not made in a sweatshop.

Heather Franzese, Senior Category Manager for Apparels and Linens at Fair Trade USA has led the development of international fair trade garment certification standards, meeting with cotton farmers and garment factory owners all over the world. I was told by the company that “On any given day, she might Skype with or visit in person workers and factories in India, Peru, Liberia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua. She can speak about Fair Trade garments from the perspective of a worker, a factory owner, a cotton farmer and a U.S garment business owner.”

Pretty impressive.

Both the farms where the cotton is grown and the factories where the clothing is sewn are inspected and certified to ensure that there are both better working conditions and higher incomes for both farmers and traditionally underpaid garment workers.

Hopefully, Fair Trade USA will eventually work with the U.S where many farmers and garment factory workers stateside could use the help as well.

I caught up with Franzese to find out more about the launch of the certification for garments and textiles currently being set up in underdeveloped countries. Here’s what she had to say:

When did you launch the new certification?

Fair Trade Certified clothing is brand new in the U.S. The pilot standards for Fair Trade factories were published in March 2010 after several years in development. During a public comment period last year, we heard from 55 organizations in 15 countries and incorporated that input into the certification standards and process.

What brands have joined on as part of the certification?

A dozen pioneering companies have committed to launch Fair Trade Certified apparel and house wares. Organic pioneers like Maggie’s Organics and Indigenous Designs, as well as brand new eco-fashion brands like Liberty & Justice, which produces tees at a factory in Liberia that focuses on women’s empowerment.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Indigenous Designs: 15 Years of Fair Trade Fashion

Check out this episode of Conscious Living, from Hollywood, California--on the red carpet--for the 15th Anniversary of Indigenous Designs, a certified fair trade, organic clothing line.

On the guest list were some of Indigenous Designs’ biggest fans, including Hollywood fashionistas, entertainers, and actors, like Edin Gali of the hit series Mad Men. The highlight of the event was an eco-fashion show, which featured models wearing beautiful organic wool and cotton designs made by Peruvian artisans who are paid a fair living wage. Watch this episode to see how Co-founders Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds are turning fashionistas into Passionistas!

Your Olive Branch Announces Winner of “I Love Fair Trade!” Contest

Following a summer-long open submission period and an online vote, Your Olive Branch is pleased to announce the winner of its I Love Fair Trade! contest. Bryan Parys, whose written submission, “Seeing Max in the Backyard,” garnered over 40% of the vote, will receive $2,000 worth of fair trade products from Alter-Eco and Indigenous Designs, two of the contest’s sponsors.

Throughout the summer, Your Olive Branch invited people across the world to creatively express what fair trade products mean to them through words, video, images, and other media. Dubbed “I Love Fair Trade,“ the contest’s entrants produced a rich variety of submissions covering topics such as the role fair trade products play in their lives, how and why they support fair trade, or how they think fair trade contributes to global peace and sustainability.

“The response was tremendous,” says Tom Willits, Your Olive Branch’s Executive Director. “To see people from across the globe sending us their words, their artwork, their videos, and even their songs about the importance of fair trade–it was a truly uplifting experience.”

After reviewing all of the submissions, the contest judges selected ten finalists. From then on, the winner was to be determined by an online vote based on the ten creative pieces, all of which are still on display at

Bryan Parys’s “Seeing Max in the Backyard,” a work of creative non-fiction, can be viewed in its entirety here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Indigenous Honored with Leadership in Sustainability Award!

Indigenous honored with Leadership in Sustainability Award! The second annual awards dinner will be the premier event of the year for recognizing community leaders who have displayed remarkable achievement or inspiration in the goal of creating a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable community.

2010 Honorees
Please join us in congratulating our 2010 Honorees:

Kelley Rajala, Co-Founder of Sonoma County GoLocal Cooperative and Share Exchange

Len Greenwood, Montgomery High School Green Technology Pathway

Daily Acts

Indigenous Designs
Agilent Technologies

Collaborative Initiative
Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP)

About the Leadership Institute
Founded in 2000, the Leadership Institute is a 501(c)3 public charity based in Sonoma County and dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for California’s North Coast. Their mission is to train people to be more effective leaders, and to educate community leaders and the public to understand that the future of our economy and quality of life are dependent on each other. The Institute is active throughout the year, providing education, training, and networking opportunities for community leaders.

Learn More HERE

Purchase Tickets HERE

Monday, October 4, 2010


Online voting will determine the Grand Prize Winner, who receives $2,000 worth of fair trade apparel, food, and other goods

Throughout the summer of 2010, people across the world were invited to creatively express what fair trade products mean to them through words, video, images, music, and other media in Your Olive Branch’s I Love Fair Trade! contest. Contestants’ submissions covered a variety of topics, such as the role fair trade products play in their lives, how and why they support fair trade, or how they think fair trade contributes to global peace and sustainability.

After reviewing all of the submissions, the contest judges have selected ten outstanding finalists, one of whom will win $2,000 worth of fair trade products, supplied generously by Alter Eco and Indigenous Designs.

An online vote to pick the winner began on Sunday, October 3, and will continue until Friday, November 5. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced on November 12.

To view all ten of the finalists’ submissions and cast a vote to pick the winner, visit I Love Fair Trade.

For more information, please visit You Olive Branch or email

I Love Fair Trade! is sponsored by

Friday, October 1, 2010

Indigenous Featured by Pure Thread at Coterie in New York

Empower change through fashion! Indigenous was featured by Pure Thread at this years Coterie show in New York. Enjoy!

Pure Thread Video 1 from The Pure Thread on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Indigenous Featured in Coco Eco

The eco-fashion houses profiled here are the pioneers in fair trade fashion and style. They founded their labels with the intent to help women and communitiesin unforgiving circumstances. They set up training and stable employment for women who in turn, help produce sustainable fashions for their companies. They invest profits back into women and their communities for education, health and homes. Women who, without help, would be living in “crushing poverty with hope for prosperity as scarce as jobs,” in the words of Indigenous Designs’ president, Matt Reynolds. These eco style leaders paid fair wages and provided good working conditions, without harming the planet or it’s life, long before socially conscious business models were in vogue. These inner principals simply guided how each of these companies did fashion. Now, in today’s tight global economy, fair trade fashion is not just surviving, green statistics indicate that fair trade fashion is thriving. It could be good timing or it could simply be doing the right thing.
Either way, Indigenous Designs Matt Reynolds knows exactly why he does it.

“Knowing that my daily actions are helping to benefit people and the planet,” Reynolds said. “I wake up feeling good about what I do everyday.” Indigenous Designs’ co-founder Scott Leonard was part of the original Organic Fiber Council that set up the standards for organic cotton. In 1994, armed with a groundbreaking apparel model, Indigenous Designs was created, incorporating both ecological stewardship and social justice.

Read the full article from this months Coco Eco here.

Indigenous is Founding Brand Member of Eco Working Group

The Eco Index is a ground-breaking environmental assessment tool designed to advance sustainability practices within the outdoor industry. It provides companies throughout the supply chain a way to benchmark and measure their environmental footprint, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions.

Scott Leonard, CEO of Indigenous Designs has been actively involved with Outdoor Industry Association and is a founding brand member of the Eco Working Group. He explained, “I am hopeful that the Eco Index will influence and guide sustainable practices throughout the outdoor industry, putting it ahead of the sustainability curve. If we are going to move the needle on eco-products, we need to work collaboratively with the larger brands.”

Read the full article, "Three Reasons to Pilot the Outdoor Industry Association’s New Eco Index."

We also encourage you to learn more about the Eco-Index by visiting the beta website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In appreciation of new friends and old ... Indigenous is offering 25% off to all of our fantastic fans on Facebook!

For a limited time Indigenous is offering 25% off to all of our fantastic fans on Facebook.

Transition into fall with cozy fair trade knits and novel organic jersey from Indigenous. Our super soft organic cotton, tencel and baby alpaca knits are the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe. We invite you to see all the beautiful styles Indigenous has available now at the Indigenous online store.

To receive your discount just use the promo code 'FBFALL' at checkout. Discount is good for our entire web store.

While you're shopping don't forget to take a look at our great selection of fair trade accessories - like this super soft eco wool blanket made in Ecuador. This jacquard loomed blanket contains no dyes and comes in a variety of Incan inspired designs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Win $2,000 Worth of Fair Trade Goods!

Your Olive Branch (YOBO) Presents "I Love Fair Trade."

Enter Your Creative Submission To Win!

What Can I Win?

The grand prize winner of I Love Fair Trade! receives $2,000 (US) worth of organic apparel, fashion accessories, artisan chocolate, and other fair trade goods from Alter Eco and Indigenous Designs!

In addition to the winner, 9 runners up will receive a Your Olive Branch Peace Pack, consisting of an organic Your Olive Branch t-shirt, a pack of organic lettuce seeds, and a copy of the critically acclaimed DVD “Soldiers of Peace.”

Who Picks the Winner?

Submissions will be judged by a panel of Your Olive Branch staff members. Ten finalists will be selected based on creativity, technical quality, and engagement with the topic of fair trade. The finalists will be entered into The Voting Round, which will be voted on by the general public. The finalist with the most votes wins the grand prize!

When is the Contest?

The Submission Period runs between July 5, 2010, and September 26, 2010. All entries must be received no later than September 26, 2010. The Voting Period runs between October 3, 2010 and November 5, 2010 at yobo. For a complete list of rules, click here.

Enter To Win!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alpaca Mixed Knit Coat

We've carried our extremely popular Alpaca Mixed Knit Coat for the past 2 seasons, and now it's available for sale online! The Alpaca Mixed Knit Coat features the softest most luxurious alpaca available anywhere, gorgeous knit detailing, a 2 way front zipper and a detailed hood. It's perfect for cool Fall nights, which are just around the corner!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Second Annual Indigenous Fashion Show!

Join us on the Catwalk for a fun evening of music, wine, food, friends and Sonoma County style!

Free Event (suggested donation $10)

A cooperative fundraiser presented by:
...GoLocal, The Leadership Institute for Ecology & Economy, Daily Acts, Transfair USA and Indigenous.

To RSVP please click here!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tencel vs Bamboo Fiber: Excellent Write Up on Ecouterre

How Eco-Friendly is Bamboo Fabric, Really?


Bamboo stalks contain bast fibers that can be processed into a relatively stiff and rough fabric like flax (linen) or hemp. Most bamboo fabric in the market, however, has a smooth, silky hand that feels similar to rayon—because that’s essentially what it is.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber, which means that a natural raw material is converted through a chemical process into a fiber that falls into a category between naturals and synthetics. The source of cellulose can be wood, paper, cotton fiber, or in this case bamboo.

Tencel is also a regenerated cellulose fiber, but processed with a nontoxic spinning solvent in a closed-loop system.

The best we have found is called Tencel, a branded name of lyocell fiber. Tencel is also a regenerated cellulose fiber, but processed with a nontoxic spinning solvent in a closed-loop system. The raw material is wood pulp harvested from eucalyptus tree farms, and the pulp is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It’s possible to use bamboo or other sources of cellulose, but eucalyptus yields the best quality fiber with the least amount of waste. Therefore we think this process is the best available option.

Read the entire article on Ecouterre

Monday, June 14, 2010

Indigenous showcases their fair trade Fall line at Agura Sushi in West Hollywood

Meeting At The Crossroads Of Fashion and Passion

It was fashion, style and attitude—good attitude, and for a good cause—as Indigenous Fair Trade + Organic clothing designers presented their Fall line, celebrated 15 years of business and helped raise awareness for fair trade.

The red carpet celebration, “A Passion for Eco-Fashion,” featured DJ Ambassador Jr., exotic organic foods, and a fashion show of Indigenous creations from Spring to Summer to Fall, presented by Christine LaLonde of Memoire Events. Honoring the highly style conscious and highly socially responsible woman, the Indigenous brand demonstrated the crossroads of Fashion & Passion.

“On this special night we wanted to share awareness that we all can take care of the planet, help preserve time honored traditions, respect workers rights and still dress ourselves in beautiful, luxurious, top-quality fashion,” says Reynolds, ID’s President.

“For 15 years, we’ve been building on fair trade values, elevating artisan communities, and producing premium organic fashion for thoughtful consumers who appreciate how their money impacts people and the planet,” adds Leonard, the CEO.

The event/fashion show, held at Agura Sushi in West Hollywood and organized in part by David Lasky Public Relations & Christine LaLonde, Memoire Events drew a host of celebrities and Hollywood’s elite.

In attendence were Edin Gali who plays, “Kurt” on “Mad Men” and Anya Benton “Nip/Tuck” who dished about their upcoming film, a suspense thriller entitled, “Cornered.” “I play Detective Harper and I’m the comic relief for the film,” Gali said. “And I’m the punky-spunky lead best friend of the girl who gets kidnapped,” Benton added. The film is currently in production and stars Scott Michael Campbell.

The actors were, of course, at the Indigenous event to show support for the clothing company that, “honors both people and the planet.”

Gali continued, “I’m here supporting Indigenous and the founders Matt and Scott. I’ve been a client of theirs for a while. I’m from Bosnia, so anything that involves helping somebody or something, I’m in.” Gali admitted that he’s also an avid recycler.

Actor Israel Korn (who has appeared in “Vampire Diaries”) majored in environmental engineering in college and said, “I support anything that is environmentally and eco-friendly. So if you’re environmentally friendly, you will find me there.”

Also in attendance, Rachel Avalon, a holistic nutritionist and the 2009 Project Green Search Winner and Activist. “I’m a big believer in what fair trade is really about. The more we can support companies that really honor all people the better.”

“For a lot of places in the world the apparel cycle has led to exploitation, first of the environment, then of the workers,” says Reynolds. “We believe there’s another way, a better way, a mindful way. That message of awareness is what this celebration was all about. Indigenous will continue to serve as a beacon to the fashion world, offering a positive choice for People and the Planet without sacrificing style.’
“We’ve been very successful in guiding our brand to the cross roads where the passion for fair trade values and premium fashion meet,” Leonard agrees. “And our customers in the fashion industry have met us at that cross roads of fashion and passion and demonstrated that they do care about more than just the fashion and fit; they also appreciate knowing their mindful purchase is helping entire communities to elevate and thrive.”

“Friday night was a celebration of 15 years of Indigenous fair trade fashion and recognizing all who have supported the journey. One example is the people and sponsors that made the event possible. Christine LaLonde and David Lasky have been amazing and inspired us in this Passion for Fair Trade fashion collaboration. In addition, we were so blessed to have the support of great fair trade and Eco companies like Guayaki, Alter Eco, Sambazon, Livity, Conscious Living TV, Daily Acts , Eco Fabulous, New Belgium Brewing, Sweet Riot, Go Local BALLE, and Global Action Through Fashion.”

Indigenous Designs Corporation is considered a true pioneer in premium eco-sensitive and socially–conscious apparel. Indigenous has provided ecological and fair-trade quality clothing since 1994, and has established itself as a national clothing brand label, employing over 1,500 highly skilled artisans in knitting groups and cooperatives. The Indigenous collection is available through Garnet Hill, Territory Ahead, REI and over 600 premium specialty boutiques nationwide. For a complete list of retailers visit the website at For samples, images or more information, editorial media may contact David Lasky, Blast Off Public Relations, at (323) 899 5085 or at

Check out this Video of the event brought to us by Positive Magazine!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't Miss the Passion for Eco-Fashion Night!

A Passion for Eco Fashion, a Passion for Progress!

Indigenous invites you to celebrate 15 years of Fair Trade Fashion.

Friday, June 11 from 7:00 - 11:00 pm at the Agura West Hollywood.

Celebrate the legacy of Indigenous’ Fair Trade Fashion and wish them well on their next 15 years of continued progress and prosperity of a fashion line with a cause.

Guest List Only

This event is open to the first 250 who RSVP

Click the flier for more details!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BAREing It All:: Behind the Label - Berkeley, CA

Last Thursday night in Westminster House South, BARE Magazine and Feel Good hosted the fashion panel, BAREing It All: Behind the Label. The panel discussion was centered around the labor practices in the apparel industry and what steps are being taken by various companies to combat these unethical practices. Feel Good was grilling up sandwiches and serving Coke Zero to benefit their mission to end world hunger while attendees engaged in a guided discussion that brought to the surface ethical issues surrounding clothing choices and how to make conscious decisions about our clothing. Guests were shown the documentary, "Behind the Swoosh," which documented Jim Keady's trip to Indonesia to understand the living conditions of those who work for just above a dollar per day at Nike's factory.

Guests watched Jim Keady's "Behind the Swoosh" documentary.

From left: BARE Events Coordinator Seika Iwao, Indigenous Designs' Matt Reynolds, and Eco Citizen's Joslin Van Arsdale.

After the short film, panelists Matt Reynolds of Indigenous Designs and Joslin Van Arsdale of Eco Citizen answered questions about how their businesses have thrived off of the basis of fair trade. Indigenous Designs uses a vertical integration business model to give artisans from villages in South America the opportunity to make money from their skills. Reynolds emphasized that one of the most important parts about the fair trade movement is that people understand what it actually is. Fair trade is not equivalent to free trade or organic. Fair trade involves fair compensation for those who produce goods that are sold on a mass scale. Van Arsdale seemed optimistic about her average customer who she says is interested in knowing where their clothing is coming from. Her Russian Hill boutique was inspired by her desire to become a part of the fair trade system and support brands that stimulate indigenous economies and skilled artisans.

The fair trade movement is still small but is sure to grow over the next decade or so. Reynolds and Van Arsdale agree that it is important that fair trade garments must be of equal or better quality than what is currently popular in the clothing market. Reynolds believes that for this socially conscious trend to truly infiltrate the mainstream, the product must have superior quality, be reasonably priced for consumers, and illicit an emotional response from the average customer. Both panelists envision a world in the near future where it is more common than not for a brand to engage in practices of fair trade.

Reynolds and Van Arsdale were thanked by BARE staff for participating in the panel.

From left: Iwao, Reynolds, and Van Arsdale. All photography by Albert Treat.

Jordan Silver
Creative Director

Slow Money's Second National Gathering

Slow Money's Second National Gathering


(*Inspired by Slow Money)

Shelburne Farms, Vermont

June 9-11, 2010

The beautiful grounds of historic Shelburne Farms. A phenomenal roster of speakers, including Bill McKibben, founder of, Stonyfield Farm's Gary Hirshberg, Robert Zevin, the 'father' of the socially responsible investment movement, and Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, made famous by Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and the film Food, Inc. The chance to hear investment presentations from two dozen small food enterprises and collaborate with folks from around the country who are finding new ways to connect money, culture and the soil.

Slow Money. It's not an ISM - as in capitalism, socialism, consumerism, market fundamentalism. It's a new kind of social investing for the 21st century. It's what comes after industrial agriculture and industrial finance.

Indigenous invites you to come join this emerging network of thought leaders, investors, donors, entrepreneurs, farmers, and activists for our Second National Gathering this June in Vermont. Together, let's fix America's economy from the ground up...starting with food.

Go to for details and to register.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Loan to Indigenous Designs for Groundbreaking Project

Former RSF borrower Indigenous Designs has just received another loan from RSF, this time in the form of a Program-Related Investment (PRI). Indigenous Designs is a Fair Trade and certified organic apparel company that sources from over 1,000 hand-knitting artisans located primarily in South America. The new loan from RSF will specifically support Indigenous Designs as they work with TransFair USA to create the very first standards and procedures for a U.S. apparel and home goods Fair Trade certification. The program with TransFair aims to provide an opportunity to create new “Best in Class” methods surrounding supply chains for Fair Trade and organic certifications in the clothing industry. Two of the major goals of Indigenous Designs’ involvement in the project include empowering and protecting the farmers and artisans producing the cotton, materials, and clothes, as well as educating the public about organic and Fair Trade apparel.

For Indigenous, their supply chain often begins with a farmer in the field where chemical-free organic cotton is grown. The organic cotton then migrates into the hands of the artisans who knit the fibers into garments, which are finally made available to the consumer. Since their founding in 1994, Indigenous has been a leader in responsibly sourcing natural and organic fibers. “Pioneering companies like Indigenous Designs will pave the way for consumers to demand more information about working conditions at factories and farms where their clothes are made,” says Todd Stark, TransFair COO, of the collaborative project between the two organizations.

Read The Article!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sara Snow gives Indigenous some love!

Thank you Sara Snow for being such a great supporter of fair trade + organic apparel!

See her recent article on Ecouterre!

Sara Snow, Eco-Lifestyle Guru

Win a Weekender Cardigan, Purse From Indigenous Designs (Worth $139)!

Now that spring is in the air, it’s time to shed that heavy coat in favor of something a little more breezy. We’ve got the perfect transitional piece in mind—and we’re giving it away! (It’s Crazy Eddie time, people.) One lucky reader will get to add this 100 percent organic-cotton cardigan by fair-trade clothier Indigenous Designs to their spring wardrobe. Plus, we’re throwing in a gorgeous alpaca cable-knit bag to create a matching ensemble worth $139! Enter now for your chance to win!

Click here to enter to win an alpaca purse and Weekender cardigan at Ecouterre!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrities Rave Over Indigenous Fashion & Socially Just Cause, March 2010

"I love the one button hoodie. Mine is silver and so comfortable. Love the arm length, the lightweight hood, and cool button. Nice fit. Anything fair trade and organic is great. Love Mother Earth.“ Annette Harper, Comic.

“"Wow! Thank you very much for giving me such a beautiful item of clothing. It's so nice and soft. It's lovely. I fully support the work of Indigenous Designs. Indigenous truly rocks! Their commitment to making the world a better and happier place is outstanding.“ Eva La Rue, CSI, Miami

"I have always loved fashion and I have always loved the ideas of organic and fair trade products. Combining the two is a splendid idea! Indigenous Designs is excellent and commendable." Rebecca Mader, ABC’s “LOST”

"This sweater is absolutely gorgeous. It is so stunning! I fully support fair trade and organic clothing. It is so wonderful that Indigenous stands up for what is right and what is fair in this world. They should be commended for their excellent efforts and their truly beautiful clothing.“ Kate Linder, CBS Young & the Restless.

"I completely support everything that Indigenous stands for and believes in wholeheartedly. This sweater is definitely something I will wear and cherish. It is beautifully crafted. Indigenous is refreshing and intelligent in what they do. I will tell many friends about Indigenous too.“ Bridget Marquardt – Girls Next Door

"I love this scarf so much! I love the colors and the texture of it. It is a really beautiful scarf. I completely support Indigenous Designs 100%. The organic and fair trade spirit rocks! I have much love and admiration for Indigenous. What an amazing company!" Nina Dobrev, star of The Vampire Diaries" and April 2010 cover girl, Seventeen Magazine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Loan to Indigneous for Ground Breaking Project

Former RSF borrower Indigenous Designs has just received another loan from RSF, this time in the form of a Project-Related Investment(PRI). The new loan from RSF will specifically support Indigenous Designs as they work with Transfair USA to create the very first standards and procedures for a U.S. apparel and home goods Fair Trade Certifications.

Click here to read more regarding Indigenous' new ground breaking project on Fair Trade apparel:

"Pioneering companies like Indigenous Designs will pave the way for consumers to demand more information about working conditions at factories and farms where their clothes are made", says Todd Stark, Transfair COO, of the collaborative project between the two organizations. Watch this short video to hear some other perspectives (including that of RSF CEO Don Shaffer)on the exciting progress Indigenous has made in their field:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Top 10 Ideas for Change in America

500 Words for Change in America -

Click on this link to vote for Slow Money on Change.Org:

Folks across the country know something is wrong. There's just something about the system we've created over several decades that is inherently flawed. Some blame the government, others big banks, still others blame political parties, but all agree that there's something that's just not quite working the way it should. People are losing homes, jobs, and health coverage at an alarming rate because of the societal turbulence in the enormous yet formless thing we call the economy.

Enter and their 10 Ideas for Change in America. Taking advantage of the concept of "the wisdom of crowds," launched a campaign to find 10 great ideas. It began with thousands that were submitted by ordinary individuals and organized interest groups alike. These were whittled down through online voting to a more manageable 70 or so, and right now the voting is getting down to the wire to choose which 10 ideas will be presented to the White House - as in formally presented to senior people there, not just sent in an envelope to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. You can (and should!) vote too.

All, or nearly all at least, are worthy ideas. Each has its merit and is worthy of consideration. But for those with an interest in food, three of them rise to the top quickly, and first among equals is Slow Money.

The idea is a simple one: invest as if food, farms and fertility actually mattered. Get anyone who invests money (and if you have a 401k or an IRA, that's you too) to direct just 1% of it toward small food enterprises and local food systems. Get at least that small sum of money out of the hands of Wall Street, huge banks and multinationals and use it, quite literally, as seed money. Invest in local farms, food systems, artisans, brewers, bakers, cheesemakers and so on and keep that money close to home.

We'd create a thriving economy that makes real, healthy food, instead of a fake one that just makes money for bankers. One that invests in people and the land, not in some distant amorphous concept called Wall Street.

In their book Inside the Apple, a Streetwise History of New York City, this is how Michelle and James Nevius describe the building of the palisade for which Wall Street was named: "The wall had two major problems: it wasn't needed and it didn't work."

Also interested in investing in the land is the American Farmland Trust, whose idea for saving farm and ranchland is doing quite well in the balloting, as well as an initiative to put a garden in every school. Both are important concepts you've heard me advocate for vociferously for years.

Slow Money is new and novel though, and needs more votes before this thing wraps up at 5pm EST this Friday, 3/12. Please visit, vote for these 3 ideas and any other 7 you feel are worthy. It's fun, important, and it only takes a couple minutes. Thank you.

By Kurt Friese, Restaurant owner, SFUSA board member, and publisher of Edible Iowa River Valley

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SLOW MONEY "Ideas For Change in America"

Did you vote yet for Slow Money on "Ideas For Change in America" competition? The top 10 voted ideas will be presented at an event in Washington, DC to relevant members of the Obama Administration, and then promoted to's full community of more than 1 million people. The competition ends at 5pm EST on Friday, March 15th. Here is the link to vote:

This competition is particularly timely for Slow Money, which just launched its internet communications campaign last week in purusit of a million signatures on the Slow Money Principles by the end of 2011, on the way to a million investors investing 1% of their assets in local food systems within a decade. Most of the other ideas in the competition are sponsored by well established organizations with large national networks. This is a great opportunity for Slow Money to show that interest in local food and genuine economic alternatives is a real, emerging force for social change.

The strength of people’s response to Slow Money in this competition has been a wonderful surprise. We’re moving up fast and have a real shot at making it into the top ten.

Here's what folks who've already voted are saying:

"Slow Money is one of the best ideas for funding land and food based projects I've ever heard of." Lizbeth Brown

"Slow Money is an inspired and important concept. A crucial attitude shift." George Gibson

"Yes jam packed, simple, yet geometric in its potential impact. Slow money, slow food, nutrition, health and wealth based on positive environmental impact, the focus on producing in place of consuming, justice, fairness and consciousness... This is a future I could, and would like to live with." Jorge Navarro

Please vote today and pass along to your friends. Slow Money is committed to investing in small food enterprises and local food systems, connecting investors to their local economies, and building the nurture capital industry. For more information on Slow Money, please visit their website at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hollywood Celebrities Looking Eco-Fabulous in Indigenous

•"This scarf is so beautiful. I love how it feels. It has such vibrant colors. I'm delighted to wear any of the items from Indigenous Designs,” says Maiara Walsh of the ABC series, Desperate Housewives.
•"I love Indigenous Designs! Its designed by artists and eco friendly :) Cool! Its a great line!“Tami Erin
•"Indigenous is comfy and beautiful. I dig them. I dig Indigenous Designs,” says Shar Jackson of the upcoming movie, The Untitled Kris Black Project (2010)
•"I love this shirt. It’s beautiful. I am in deep support of Fair Trade fashion,” says Edin Gasky of the AMC drama series, Mad Men.
•"This is an absolutely gorgeous tunic. I am going to wear this everywhere! It is so nice that Indigenous is helping these people in need". Tatiana Del Torro - American Idol Contestant -
•"This is the softest fabric I have ever felt. It's like wearing a baby blanket,” Brienne De Beau & Christina DeRosa of the upcoming movie, The Untitled Kris Black Project (2010).
•"I want to wear this all the time". "I love supporting Fair Trade". Jeremy Jackson, Bay Watch

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fair Trade Attire-Greening the Fashion Industry, by Lyra Mag

We’ve covered Indigenous for several seasons…and though the “greening” of the fashion industry is ongoing, this label was already THERE--- built on sound, sane principles of ‘do no harm’ (true organic materials, vegetable dyes, hand loomed and hand made fabrics/clothes made by global artist co-ops paid fair wages etc).

What sets Indigenous apart is that the attire---has always been so on trend and stylish…it doesn’t surprise us that big name Hollywood celebs have started to wear their clothes for style and because “mindful purchases” are part of the mindset these days.

Check out the article:


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Indigenous is proud sponsors of Greg Reitmans, On the Green Carpet at Sundance Film Festival 2010.

Indigenous is proud sponsors of Greg Reitmans, On the Green Carpet at Sundance Film Festival 2010. Celebrities wearing Indigenous at Sundance Film Festival included Paris Hilton, Marisa Tomei, LeVar Burton and Bradley Cooper.

There were three, ‘On The Green Carpet’ video blogs produced at the 2010 Sundance film festival. The themes of the video blogs were based on the themes Peace, Health & Sustainability, & Freedom. The blogs were all well received and are currently syndicating on The Environmentalist, Matter Networks, TONIC, and Odyssey Networks. Additionally, Wall Street Journal is reviewing them now and are potentially planning to syndicate them this weekend. Will keep you all posted.




Thursday, January 7, 2010


In a society obsessed with instant gratification, novelty, and conspicuous consumption, it’s easy to dismiss fashion design as frivolous. Skirt lengths and platform heights appear inconsequential when juxtaposed with real-world concerns like climate change, economic strife, water shortages, and hunger and malnutrition. But if you consider the fact that clothing is something we envelope our bodies in every single day, to ignore the apparel industry’s environmental and social impact would be negligent, not to mention foolhardy.

$2 billion of hazardous pesticides are used every year to grow cotton—more than any other agricultural crop.
Clothing uses more water than any other industry besides agriculture. Conventional cotton, which is grown in more than 70 countries and comprises almost 50 percent of textiles worldwide, also happens to be the most toxic crop in the world. Roughly $2 billion of hazardous chemical pesticides are released into the air every year, accounting for 16 percent of global insecticides—more than any other agricultural crop. (To put this in context, it takes about a third of a pound of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to grow enough cotton for a T-shirt.) The World Health Organization estimates that at least 3 million people are poisoned by pesticides every year, resulting in 220,000 deaths worldwide annually. In rural communities, where poverty prevents farm workers from taking the necessary precautions, miscarriages, premature births, and sickly children are rampant.

Like any good product design, clothing production can be accomplished in a better, smarter, and more socially and environmentally sustainable way.
Ecouterre is about changing people’s minds about what “fashion” design entails, beyond fleeting fads and mindless consumerism. Like any good product design, clothing production can be accomplished in a better, smarter, and more socially and environmentally sustainable way. And we’re not the only one’s who think so—organic clothing, produced without toxic pesticides and dipped in low-impact dyes, is gaining popularity across the globe. In 2006, retail sales of organic cotton products reached $1.1 billion globally—85 percent higher than the year before, according to the Organic Exchange. Organic cotton is by no means alone on the playing field. With improved technology, other strange and wonderful eco-fabrics have entered the fray, from salmon leather to fiber derived from milk.

We’re excited about the future of fashion design and think that it’s time for hardcore fashionistas and hardcore greenies alike to start paying attention to eco-fashion—and, more important, start engaging in dialogue with each other. We hope that Ecouterre will provide that forum, as well as pave the way to a smarter, more sustainable future.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fair-trade organic Indigenous Designs awarded YouTopia Grant

Starting a new decade and marking the beginning of its 15th year in business, Indigenous Designs has been awarded the Free Range Studios 2009 YouTopia Grant.

The organic, fair-trade clothing company will use the grant to demonstrate to the fashion world and conscientious consumers that how they spend their money is like voting with dollars and can have a positive effect on impoverished communities in the developing world and the planet.

“So many great companies in the competition had so many brilliant ideas that it’s a huge honor to be considered with them,” said Scott Leonard, CEO and co-founder of Indigenous.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that we won this grant to show our business model to the world as an effective, profitable way to do good things for people and the planet while producing high-quality, stylish fashions.

"The competition for this grant is a testament to a new kind of business leader rising to the challenge of environmental and social change. We're privileged to be trusted to take a leading role in the movement.”