Below are images of Coyuchi's farmers and factories and the people of India taken by Molly Knudsen, Coyuchi's Content + Design Manager.
October 2015: A week in India will leave you wishing for one week more. My first trip to the South Asian country was nothing short of wonderful. In route to meet colleagues and members of the Chetna Organic coalition in eastern India, I was greeted by the richest of cultures, the heartland of textile production, and greatest of all: tradition, rooted with time. My journey took me from New Delhi, through Rajasthan to Jaipur, then to farms in Orisa, Bhimdonga, Bhawanipatna and Dharamgarh.
Above: Hand carving block for traditional printing method. Woodblock printing dates back to 220.
Field note: Block printing in Jaipur was a highlight for me. I love brands like Block Shop that specialize in preserving and promoting traditional printing methods from India. I was heavy handed with the ink, and it took a few tries to get the tecnhique down. The block print carver and printer was patient and guided the small delicate whittled wood to line up perfectly, flower by flower, color by color.
Above: A snake charmer outside of Amer Fort in Jaipur.
Above: Inside Amer Fort, named after Amba, the Hindu mother goddess who was the protector of the world.
Above: Jaipur's Jal Mahal or "Water Palace."
Field note: After a two-hour flight from Delhi to Raipur followed by a six-hour car ride on an unpaved road, there was a noticeable change in scenery when we arrived at the organic farm. The land seemed more vibrant, the soil a deeper shade of brown, the air crystal clear, the children playing with a soccer ball, smiling and laughing. Underneath the jujube trees, we were greeted by a meal of organic food that was grown and prepared by the co-op on that very land.
Above: Organic cotton plants bloom in Odisha.
Above: The first picked organic cotton of the season.
Above: The community of Bhimdonga village has created a seed bank where it can preserve organic seeds in order to have a self-sustaining farming system.
Field note: The women of an organic farming community in Odisha turned a profit in year one of their self-sustaining fishing business, and have since taught themselves brick manufacturing. Organic cotton is only a part of the story within these organic farming communities. It is applied to all areas of life- from food to fishing to education.
Above: Organic farmers experimenting with brown strands of cotton seed.
Above: A trip to one of Coyuchi's cotton ginners, greeted by their mission statement.
Above: A weaver hand looms our Refugio Rug for spring 2016 collection. See the finished product here.
Above: Our factory's quality team checks the embroidery of our Diamond Cuff Embroidered Sheets. See the finished product here.
Above: Our Aloe Sateen Sheets, new for spring 2016, cascade off the roller. Next stop: quality control room, then packaging. See the finished product here.
Above: We partner with factories that work to preserve and limit water use. One of our partnering factories has a zero-waste facility. Read more about the story here.
Above: Organic cotton goes through a natural starching process.
Above: Our organic cotton yarns being warped. The warp is the lengthwise yarn on a loom that is held under tension. The yarn that will cross it horizontally is the weft.
Above: My wonderful tour guide Sneha and I experience traditional henna.
Above: Myself and Sneha riding Pinky the elephant in Jaipur.
What is Chetna Organic?
Chetna Organic is working with small and marginal farmers towards improving their livelihood options and making farming a sustainable and profitable occupation. They work with farmers from the rainfed regions of Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh covering around 43,500 acres. From 234 farmer members in 2004 to around 35,852 in 2014, Chetna’s strength has been collective action and the fair supply chain. Learn more here.