While we were capturing and crafting stories to inspire you our readers and prove to you that our world carries close to her heart a bunch of caring folk who thrive on doing good work, while we were jumping around trying to attend and write up as many green events as possible and while we were teaching, sharing and generally having fun living our best lives … 2012 ran out. You are now reading our last issue of the year and my usual Christmas message is that of gratitude.
To think we lasted another year, to think you are still reading the Green Times, to think that you and I are both still here, that the planet is still feeding us, that we have learnt more about living with consciousness, for all the new facebook likes and twitter followers, for all your efforts at consistently living in greater and more expanding awareness of our little place in a magnificent orchestra that we are still a part of.
Of course Christmas is a spiritual celebration, as living on this planet and serving Her with this work is our mission at the Green Times. So it is in gratitude that we also love the spirit of Generosity and Goodwill that visits our homes around Christmas time, as it calls our Creativity – our core connection to the Creator – to guide us towards gifts that teach or heal, that share awareness of the greater good, that support local initiatives and people in need, that celebrate the crafty hands of those who made them with love or that keep feeding or giving during the year to come.
In a world of abundant examples of such gifts, here are a few great ideas from ethical suppliers that we’d love to share with you:
First of all for Christmas cards and gift tags …Growing Paper was founded by Roxanne Schumann in 2009, when she was a guest at her friend’s wedding and it dawned on her how much wasted paper was being used in the world to make cards and invites. This thought ignited the social entrepreneur that lay dormant inside her to conceive a card and invite that gives back to the environment instead of depleting it. After buying her first papermaking machine she opened Growing Paper and began operating in 2010.
The Growing Paper factory is situated at the foot of the beautiful Paardeberg Region, near Malmesbury. The factory produces quality handmade products beginning with the collection of post-consumer paper from a nearby school called Hottentots Hollands Primary School. The paper is then processed into pulp by adding water. From this pulp the Chief Paper Makers (members of the local community) are able to produce handmade sheets. The paper is then air-dried in an old attic.
Growing Paper is embedded with either flower or herb seeds and will grow as soon as planted with a little love and nurturing. All the paper products produced from Growing Paper are made by hand and the paper is 100% recycled and recyclable, using water-based ink. Any left over water is used for irrigation purposes and Growing Paper commits to recycling all used factory materials by delivering it to the local recycling depot. Growing Paper also donates any damaged or old stock to nearby schools, specifically Swartland Primary School.
The gift of nature
When you give a card made by Growing Paper you are not just giving a card but also the gift of nature. Roxanne and team are thrilled to be enhancing her environment in a responsible and innovative way. They also take pride in educating and bringing excitement to the lives of others through the remarkable metamorphosis of growing paper into flowers and herbs.
Growing Paper employs both men and women from the local community, who were previously unemployed and in desperate need of a stable job and income. The salaries earned at Growing Paper are much higher than the legal minimum wage. As the business is family oriented, whenever there is a family crisis at home with any of their employees, Growing Paper is considerate in working around this.
Growing Paper is 100% endorsed by nature and is now available as cards, gift tags, custom invites, business cards, calendars, bookmarks, coasters and notebooks.
NEO Trading’s aim is to help build a sustainable network of suppliers and retailers who are committed to offering products that meet people’s REAL needs, whilst not depleting our natural resources or harming our environment, its animals or ourselves. They actively source products which are made in South Africa in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Their Eco Products organic Baobab range, for example, supports over 500 women from rural Venda in the Limpopo Province.
Another one of their suppliers, HONEYGUIDE, manages indigenous Cape honeybee colonies using holistic and sensitive farming principles on environmentally pristine south Western Cape mountains. No sugar feeding, no GM soy pollen substitutes, no antibiotics and medicines are used in the hives and there is no exposure to agriculture or industry.
HONEYGUIDE BEESWAX OINTMENT is a deeply moisturising, healing and soothing ointment and is a blend of the finest quality cold-pressed biodynamic jojoba oil, almond oil and Honeyguide’s beeswax and propolis.
From the old-timey elegance of packaging to the traditional, wholesome ingredients, it’s easy to imagine Oh-lief’s natural body and Baby products alongside the enduring, generation-spanning ones of body care lore. At less than three years of age, however, this bright young skincare company’s journey is just starting; finding its feet with care and honest-to-goodness quality in the hard-nosed business world. Going through early phase teething, and recognizing a resonance in their firm belief in natural and organic products, founding sisters Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan share their views on natural skincare for all.
Shakespeare’s Juliet famously asked “What’s in a name?” and in this case, it’s a faithful indication of what these ladies and their product stand for: The curious pairing of words which comprise the ‘Oh-lief’ name is a whimsical play on ‘olive’ and ‘love’ (pronounced ‘lief’ in their native Afrikaans). Healing, certified organic extra virgin olive oil is the primary ingredient in these products; their conception underpinned by an ingenuous desire to provide pure, natural and simple skincare that won’t harm you or the environment.
Christine and Louiza’s commitment to natural, raw and locally sourced ingredients stemmed from the inspiring beauty of South Africa’s landscapes and from personal need.
“Christine and I have always had sensitive skins and really enjoy the feeling and benefits of organic products. When Christine had her child, Liam, her interest in natural ingredients grew because, as a mother, she couldn’t bear to put toxins on her baby’s skin.” says Louiza.
Dissatisfied by the misleading claims in the increasingly profitable organic market, the sisters set out to develop their own range. “We started off making products in my kitchen and sold our Natural Olive Bum Balm to the moms Christine met at her baby classes.” It was such a hit that they began to sell their products at the Neighborhood Goods Market at Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill, expanding into retail outlets and finally their own store and manufacturing depot in Woodstock. “Start small, dream big!” declares Louiza with evident pride in the growing number of women choosing them over the big name commercial brands.
Their newly launched Adult range focusing on pampering one’s soul, mind and body, beautifully packaged in Aluminum bottles in two fragrances.
Using cold-pressed olive oil as their base – “nature’s perfect moisturizer and a powerful anti-oxidant,” says Louiza – and beeswax as a preservative, all Oh-lief skincare products are free from toxins like SLS, petrolatum, parabens, and artificial colours and fragrances which are routinely used in conventional skincare products.
“To care for you and your children’s skin and hair, it’s best to use natural, organic and handcrafted products designed especially for your family’s needs. Mass produced personal care products are not always as gentle as they should be. Like our own, a baby’s skin has the capacity to absorb what we put onto it: lotions, creams, oils, soaps, ointments and bath products as well as all the harmful toxins they can contain. These toxins are contributing to the growing number of skin conditions affecting babies, children and adults.”
Accredited with Beauty Without Cruelty’s stamp of approval and founded on steadfast principles of holism and harmony – they also run a recycling initiative from their retail store where moms can return their empty pots to be refilled at a discount.
Check out these trendy floating bamboo sunglasses at 4est Shades.
Blessed Christmas and family times over the season of joy and festivities. Rest well, take time for Nature, allow her to replenish your soul and return safely to the green pages for a new year full of magnificent new ideas.
With love from Elma and the team Ruben, Lucas and Dylan