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Stagl Organics & Urban Farming in Salt Lake City

This is the first installment of The Slow Craft Series; a dialogue about craft, creation, and creativity and the power that slow diligence can have on shifting values in our communities.

When I moved to Salt Lake City, I didn't expect to find many advocates for urban farming in this desert landscape. As I write this, it's currently 98 degrees and climbing and if I can barely survive this heat, I had no idea how delicate herbs and delicious tomatillos could stand it. That was before I discovered Stagl Organics and their fellow members in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups.

On a warm Saturday morning, I got to visit them on one of their four backyard plots that they have throughout the area. I was met by Jahnava and Shad and we went from an urban neighborhood street to a beautiful backyard garden. I was in love with what they had been able to create, and was so excited to learn more about their efforts to bring sustainable, fresh produce to their community.

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As they showed me the space, they talked a lot about the new processes they're using to create a sustainable garden that continues to produce amazing food for their members. It was so interesting to see how such an ancient practice was still being improved while staying, quite literally, true to its roots.

Simply spending time in the garden with Jahnava and Shad was such a peaceful experience. There was something about the fact that we were surrounded by something that had been cultivated with such care and passion that was really special. I was reminded of what had originally introduced me to the farmers at Stagl Organics, which was an interview that  Jahnava gave to Devour Magazine. She said something that I think is so important:

"Eating good, high-quality and organic food is very important to us, and growing it ourselves is how we wish to live."

I think that this is the perfect start to The Slow Craft Series. To start with the earth, as one of the most vital necessities of life and something that has become so corrupted with the fast-paced community we all find ourselves a part of, was what prompted me to start this series in the first place. I wanted to know what comes of being connected to the things we choose to surround ourselves with. What does it do to us to slow down, make with our own hands, and find ourselves in close proximity to the creation of things?

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As you wait for me to transcribe my interview with our next Slow Crafter, follow Stagl Organics on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about how you can get involved and volunteer in Salt Lake City!

| Worker’s Nobility |

I’ve been so surprised at how many connections I’ve been able to make with all of these amazing people around the world working to reinvent the fashion industry. I was recently given the opportunity to talk with the lovely team at Worker’s Nobility. When I was interviewing their founder, I was reminded why I love the sustainable and handmade initiatives that I see happening right now in fashion. Hearing the story of her clothing and her family helped me to see the real value in being dedicated to a sustainable lifestyle. I love the attitude of the team at Worker’s Nobility towards natural resources and the purpose of clothing. Read on for an interview with their founder, and don’t forget to visit their lovely shop here!

“Worker’s Nobility is a brand that represents people with nobleness of mind, character and spirit.”

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I’m a down to earth woman in my thirties. I grew up surrounded by fabric and wood.  My parents made clothes and my grandfather was a charming carpenter. Ever since I can remember I loved designing clothes and houses. I became an architect and after several years developing my profession I realized that clothing represents the most primitive form of  architecture. The same way a house is divided in rooms a piece of clothing is made by patterns. Both protect the person. I love that idea of comfort and protection that you get from clothes or from a house.

2. Where did you get the idea to start Worker’s Nobility? What was your goal?

Five and a half years ago I moved to the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon. Of course I was missing my family so I bought a second hand sewing machine and I started sewing during my free time to relieve my homesickness. At first I sewed paper.  Then I bought fabric to make pillows and little by little my own wardrobe. In Portland I was fascinated by all the wonderful locally made products and the importance of sustainable and honest living. I wanted to apply my creativity in a conscious way so I created Worker’s Nobility. I love one of the definitions of Nobility: nobleness of mind, character or spirit and we all are workers in different ways. My goal for Worker’s Nobility is to create clothing for all those loyal friends.

3. What is your favorite piece you’ve designed?

A few years ago I started studying traditional European work clothes. I fell in love with a Norwegian work shirt called a Busserul. In the late 1800’s fabric was expensive compared to human labor. Working people developed a pattern system made out of rectangular pieces to achieve zero waste. You can find this pattern in traditional clothing all around the different European countries. I always loved geometry and finding a rational use of that for clothing was marvelous.

4. If you could travel the world, where would you go first?

I would start from my home town. I think you really need to learn your own culture first. Once you have your own identity you can appreciate humbly all the wonderful cultures and enjoy how greatly diverse we are. I love to meet people from everywhere to see how different we are but in the most basic way how similar we are.

5. What is different about Worker’s Nobility? What sets you apart?

The fashion industry is huge as everybody knows. There are so many talented people creating incredible clothing. Our difference is in our clients. They appreciate timeless clothing, high quality and sustainably made by us. Worker’s Nobility .

Photography: Worker’s Nobility 

Iluut | Sustainable, Transparent, Affordable

| sustainable fashion . iluut |

I love connecting with brands doing amazing things for the environment! One of my favorites is a company from Europe called iluut. They’re currently crowdfunding as the final step in their production process, and I can’t wait for them to get started! I had the chance to talk with their founder, Elina Cerell, and ask a few questions about what motivates them as a sustainable fashion brand!

  1. What is your inspiration for creating a brand about ethical production?

As Europeans, we aspire to see a positive change in values, and attitudes in the consumption and make of produce here in Europe. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and we think that there is an absolute need of change. It’s sad that the industry that creates so much beauty is so polluting. That’s why we’re actively searching for new innovations and ways to reduce the ecological footprint in clothing industry and make a difference.


When we got to know each other for two years ago we started making a lot of research. We weren’t that satisfied with the modernity of existing sustainable clothes, so we decided to create our own. 🙂 Like in fast fashion, there are many brands to choose from and surely everyone will find the one that fits well. We think also in sustainable fashion is very important to offer options – and hopefully one day all the brands will be sustainable. 

  1. Why should people be investing in sustainable fashion?

Great question! Here are some good reasons to do so:

  1. health: We live in a time where there is so much information around us, however we feel that this does not necessarily mean honesty and transparency. What good are facts if we do not know what we are consuming? It’s incredibly vital to know whether there has been harmful chemicals used in our clothing production. If there is, it potentially can be harmful for the employees’ health and welfare. You can watch the documentary film True cost which is a real eye opener: http://truecostmovie.comNot only we will be concerned for the employees, but also to the customers. This is such a strong theme that the sustainable industry is advocating themselves in, if we start the process right, this will grow then times fold and have a positive ripple effect to everyone. 
  1. working conditions: Like we mentioned before, the health and welfare of the employees is vital. As a sustainable fashion brand, we try to ensure that the clothes are produced under good working conditions. That’s why we visit personally regularly our suppliers. It can be tricky to track the whole production chain so this is something we encourage people to ask from the brands: where were the production done? 
  1. economy: By buying sustainable fashion products, you support an economical model where everyone in the supply chain should be fairly paid. The products aren’t as cheap as fast fashion ones because the producers usually pay a lot of attention into the garments’ quality so that they’ll last long. So, in return, this is a better investments economically and sustainably. 

Now is a great time to start and change our standars of the fashion by starting in our own wardrobes. We should think of quality and know more where our clothes are from, alongside, of course, to a well-thought out garment design to cater to the modern woman.

iluut’s crowdfunding campaign just started and we are extremely excited about it. Take a look at the pre-sales and find your favorite piece hereOne thing is guaranteed: you’ll know where iluut’s clothes are made. Full traceability is important for us.

  1. What is the biggest misconception about eco-friendly fashion that you hear?

 It’s often stated that sustainable fashion products are expensive. That’s why we have made a decision to work with a lower margin than the industry usually works, so we are able to offer an affordable price to our customers. Sometimes we also hear that sustainable clothes aren’t beautiful and modern enough. That’s why iluut has super talented, contemporary designers who know the trends very well and are gifted in changing the trends into timeless but modern clothes. 

  1. What motivates you to create this kind of fashion in a world dominated by the fast-fashion industry? 

As we all know, our natural resources are diminishing due to over-use, therefore, as an industry we need to re-think the future and start today. We believe the sooner we do so, the better.That’s why we’re working hard to make a positive impact in fashion and to inform everyone and hopefully shift people’s attitudes and values into a more sustainable industry.  Also, we’re happy that we can use our creative talents and skills to create beautiful clothes. We want to work in a way that everyone will be happy, the people and the nature. 

 

| the edge of uncertainty |

A recent obsession of mine has been the Netflix original series Chef’s Table,  featuring  a world renowned chef on each episode. Alongside a portrait of their culinary achievements, the documentary explores a chef’s source of dedication and interpretations of life. On a recent episode, Argentinian native Francis Mallmann, a rugged culinary rogue, reflects on the path that he chose for himself:

“My life has been a path at the edge of uncertainty.

Today I think we educate kids to be settled in a comfortable chair. You have your job, you have your little car, you have a place to sleep, and the dreams are dead. You don’t grow on a secure path. All of us should conquer something in life. And it needs a lot of work, and it needs a lot of risk.

In order to grow and to improve, you have to be there, at the edge of uncertainty.

“There’s a whisper on the night wind. There’s a star gleamed to guide us, and the wild is calling, calling.

Let us go.”

If I were to choose an ideology that represented how I felt about living, this would be a herculean competitor. Though I’m not a world-class culinary marvel, cooking on an island in Patagonia, there are ties to be formed between what we do back in the land of 9-5. It’s not a particularly exciting adventure, but doesn’t that make the challenge to live “at the edge of uncertainty” even greater and more rewarding?

This show has been one of my biggest motivations for starting this blog and beginning to alter my current lifestyle. Not only do I aim to be more socially conscious, but also I want to be more adventurous in creating a life that isn’t just a 9-5 work week. I want to be better at living “at the edge of uncertainty,” as intimidating as that might be.

 

Photography: C&G Co. |  Hannah Walke