Sunday, April 25, 2010

Heed the Call

India has one of the most overt religious cultures in the world. Sacred cows roam the street, women are adorned with bindis between their eyes, at the beginning of every spring each street is littered with color to mark the holiday Holi, incredible mosques make up some of India's most spiritual places. All of these things are commonplace here; religion is expressed and tolerated openly despite what people may view as a troubled history. Every evening I hear the call to prayer and am transfixed by the way it wanes sadly among busy streets. Understanding is paramount in India and regardless of outside perceptions there is unity and togetherness in this identity. There is much wisdom in this old culture and I am humbled by its everyday lessons.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Certified Organic

Yesterday, we went to three organic farms in Old Faridabad, about an hour outside of Delhi. It was super exciting to see the organic movement beginning to reach India. The foundation we work with, Concern India, has been supporting this project for less than a year. In that short time they have been able to create a network of 100 farmers in five villages. In addition they are also providing sales and marketing support, ultimately creating the market and distribution for these Certified Organics in the Delhi area. I see so many similarities between these pioneers of agriculture and the more established organic producers in VT and around the US. Best of Luck!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Wild Wild East

Please don't be alarmed by the burning mound of trash, at least 50% seems to be contained by the dumpster. Much like when the pioneers went West it is impossible to know what you will see around the next Delhi street corner. What a model of controlled chaos.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Tablecloth Fabricated

This is a project I just finished for the April Cornell website. They asked me to show a tablecloth being made. Immersed in the world of manufacturing, I have learned that if you want to know everything it will take years in the business. That said, from my experience you are not going to learn without being hands on with the process. For this video I spent a half hour in the sampling room with our linens team and a tailor. I took photos, video, asked question and intently watched the whole process. This is how I saw it; it is way more interactive then photo's and text.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to Basics

Education for everyone isn't a worldwide standard. In fact, most countries would have to say otherwise. In India, education costs some families more than they can afford, this is where NGO's have devoted much of their efforts. Kids from migrant families and children of slum residents benefit from the organizations that provide informal education. This method of learning has produced tremendous success for kids who would otherwise be illiterate, for kids who would be void of skills many of us consider basic necessities. The greatest part about visiting these projects is personal motivation! To see how hungry these kids are for intellectual nourishment is inspirational. It begs the questions; what more can I learn? what else can I know about? From my own selfish perspective...I love that this is part of what we do.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Free Food is Free Food

Yesterday we held a Food Distribution outside our office in Okhla. The event was funded, organized and managed by CO employees. When we began serving, It was a mad house. Girls and guys on either side, crammed into packed lanes of young & old waiting for their plate. All told we easily served three hundred people over the span of an hour and 1/2. Some of the little ones even managed to make it thru more than a few times. For $500 dollars it is amazing how many people we were able to feed, even we ate the food. A true example of how a little goes a long way. The picture's tell the rest...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Market Research

Production is cool. I'll just start with that. To see a product being sampled and to watch it enter and pass through production is a trip. What you hold in your hands in the store, what you wear daily, what you sleep on, all of these things were, presumably, produced abroad. And here we are, in the thick of the manufacturing process where most people hold unfounded perceptions. We make clothes in India, we do not support child labor or sweatshops, we do support the livelihood of over 350 Indians, and we believe in how we run our international business. Whether you believe this or not, I am here, and I will be one to attest to the important and essential function we provide, as employer and shoulder to lean on, as a foundation for professional and personal respect, and as a business that strives to increase its global social impact. So here's your chance, connect with us, connect with India, connect with a product's origin, connect with the people we employ, connect with the organizations we support, for one reason...its something we're damn proud of. Interested?? Comments welcome...