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Carefully selected and thoughtfully considered, we’ve got everything you need from spatulas and whisks to incense and candles. We have BPA-free baby bottles, paraben-free makeup and French presses. As we stock for each season we strive for all of our products to be created with socially responsibility, fair trade ethics and sustainable manufacturing processes.

This is also where you will find the latest Wheatsville Wear: from t-shirts and hoodies to travel mugs and water bottles. This department not only improves your wardrobe, it turns houses into homes, and refrigerators into magnet holders.

Local Vendor Spotlight: Matr Boomie

What is your origin story? Who started the business and why?

In 2006, Manish Gupta embarked on a journey to create opportunities for marginalized artisans in India to realize their creative, economic, and leadership potential. Through grassroots efforts with a team in India, he and his wife, Ruchi, found master artisans and created workshops to transform unskilled men and women into skilled artisans. We gathered a team in Austin, Texas to create modern product designs inspired from traditional Indian art forms. Today, the little company launched in our Austin apartment is a leading wholesale and retail company in the ethical, sustainable, fair trade market. In 2018, Matr Boomie was awarded the People & Planet Award from Green America. This award is given to small businesses who show dedication to a green economy and worker empowerment.

What makes your products unique? Why should someone buy them?

Matr Boomie makes products that beautifully pair modern design with handmade art forms. We have a design team in Austin that creates and selects designs that are relevant for the market. The designs are then handcrafted by artisans in rural India using traditional art forms that have been passed down through generations. We prefer to work with marginalized groups like women, minorities, and rural artisans so they can have fair access to trade opportunities and fair wages.

Are your products fair trade?

Our products are all fair trade. Many of our products are made from sustainable and responsibly-sourced resources, and several of our products are made from recycled or upcycled material such as cotton, sari, or metal. As part of our mission to create a world that’s more compassionate, kind and connected, Matr Boomie goes beyond fair wages. We also invest in development projects, healthcare, education, skills training, loan programs, and scholarships for women, minorities, and people with special needs. 
Purchases of Matr Boomie’s exclusive products sustain jobs for people throughout India who have been handcrafting artisanal goods for generations. We partner with women’s groups, minorities, people with special needs, urban slums and isolated rural communities to empower artisans through dignified, sustainable employment. Above all, we value:

  • Safe work conditions
  • Education
  • The confidence and well-being of our artisan partners
  • No child labor

What are your most popular products and why?

  1. Jewelry – handmade, unique, India-inspired styles that are affordable, lightweight, and colorful
  2. Bells – handcrafted bells made from recycled tin that are hand-tuned and have a distinct sound that is unlike most bells
  3. Puzzle Boxes – handcarved wood boxes in fun designs that are a puzzle and a small storage space in one

Do you have a special tagline or slogan?

Made by hand. Made with love. Made for good.


How many staff members do you have?

28 – 14 in Austin; 14 in India

Where are your items sold?

Matr Boomie products are sold in fair trade and boutique stores nationwide as well as in several popular online stores, museums, and zoos.

SOCIAL NETWORK
WEBSITE:  https://matrboomie.com
FaceBook @MatrBoomie — Followers: 3,536
Twitter @MatrBoomie — Followers: 4,037
Instagram @MatrBoomie — Followers: 1,977

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Fair Trade - Give the Gift that Gives Twice

If thinking globally and shopping locally is kinda your thing then consider picking up a Fair Trade gift or few at Wheatsville this holiday season. When you choose Fair Trade you are giving more than just a gift- by choosing FAIR TRADE products you are supporting businesses that encourage democratic decision-making, transparency, gender equity, and independence all over the world. It’s also a way to give gifts guilt-free; the knit hat you buy might warm a head but it will also warm your heart knowing that your purchase supports a mission to end injustice in the world. This holiday season you can be twice as nice by choosing any or all of these awesome brands we’re proud to partner with. Here’s a few:

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Vendors Are Partners: Alaffia this month’s Fair Trade Partner

Thanks to Robin Michael, Alaffia Western Regional Sales Manager, for answering a few questions about Alaffia.

What is your origin story? Who started the business and why?

Alaffia is a fair trade (certified by IMO) hair, face, and body care organization that began in 2003 by founders Olowo-n’djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde. The two met when during Rose’s service in the Peace Corps, she was stationed in Olowo-n’djo’s village of Kabole.  Headquartered in Olympia, Washington, Alaffia’s clean, safe, and efficacious products incorporate indigenous, nutrient-rich ingredients handcrafted at our six women’s cooperatives in Togo and Ghana. A percentage of each product sale contributes to our Empowerment Projects in West Africa, addressing vital areas for the self-empowerment of the people of West Africa—maternal care, education, reforestation, and eyeglasses.

Do you have a special tagline or slogan?

Beauty – Equality - Empowerment

What are your most popular products and why?

  • Babies and Up Lemon Lavender Bubble Bath- safe, clean bubbles without irritation!!
  • Purely Coconut Hand & Body Lotion- made with hand crafted fair trade coconut oil, for a non-greasy moisturizing formula.
  • Charcoal Based Underarm Deodorants- best-selling formulas that wear well with lasting protection!

What makes Alaffia products unique? Why should someone buy them?

Fair trade AND efficacious. We combine the ancient wisdom of plant based oils with science to create products that are accessible, safe and effective.

Are your products fair trade, organic, co-op made, non-GMO?

We are a Fair for Life fair trade certified body care company- one of only two (Dr. Bronner’s is the other)!

How many staff members do you have?

U.S.- 175
Togo- 700 year-round, and 14,000 empowered

What would an employee say is the best part about working at Alaffia?

  • “The work is very diversified, and I get to try my hand at many things.  Furthermore, the work feels meaningful, and I think it attracts such great coworkers- talented, smart, and all of whom want to help the business succeed.” -Matthew Barrett, Marketing Supervisor
  • “Truly, it’s the people I work with.” -Jen Luck, Sales Planner (formerly of First Alternative Co-op)
  • “The fact that we empower and employ people across the globe, here and in Africa, to make the world a better place.  It’s all about making the world a better place…through kindness, empowerment, empathy, listening, sustainable practices. The kids who are able to stay in school because they received a bicycle through Alaffia’s “Bikes for School” program- you never know which one  is going to change the world or help inspire someone else who will change the world.”  -Dane Halter, Alaffia Broker

Anything else we should know?

Our empowerment projects have affected more than 50,000 lives for the better!  Follow link for more details: alaffia.com/empowerment/

SOCIAL NETWORK

  • FaceBook @Alaffia
  • Number of Followers: 18,233
  • Twitter @AlaffiaSkinCare
  • Number of Followers: 4657
  • Instagram @alaffia
  • Number of Followers: 17,200

More History, Fair Trade Ingredient Information, Baskets and Empowerment Projects

Over the years, there have been moments that shaped the natural products industry. One such moment occurred when Olowo-n’djo Tchala met Prairie Rose Hyde. No one could have imagined a young woman from rural Washington and a young man born and raised in rural Togo, West Africa with a sixth grade education would go on to build one of the most successful fair trade body care organizations in the natural products industry.

Olowo-n’djo Tchala was born and raised in the village of Kaboli, Togo where he shared a single 8’x10’ room with his mother and seven siblings. After failing to afford school tuition, Olowo-n’djo dropped out of school in the sixth grade. In the years after, he worked alongside his mother on her farm. In 1996, Olowo-n’djo met and fell in love with Peace Corps Volunteer, Prairie Rose Hyde, while she worked in Kaboli. After her service ended, the couple moved to the United States with a shared goal: finding a way to alleviate poverty in West Africa.

Rose entered a graduate program at the University of California, Davis studying International Agricultural Development and Ethnobotany, the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants. Olowo-n’djo studied English and earned a degree in Organizational Theory. Determined to make a difference in his home country, Olowo-n’djo applied for a $50,000 business loan and, not familiar with the American banking system, did not understand why the bank could not fulfill his request when he had no personal financial assets. Eventually, Rose’s brother offered his house as collateral and the couple obtained the loan, traveled to Togo, and formed what we know today as Alaffia.

Fair trade is a movement of individuals and organizations working to ensure producers in economically disadvantaged countries receive a greater percentage of the price paid by consumers. While there are several definitions of fair trade, they all include:

  • Fair Trade Price: base price for raw ingredients or goods is adjusted higher than open market price.
  • Price Premium: a percentage above the base fair trade price is paid into a separate account for development projects in producer communities.
  • Working Conditions: fair trade operators must adhere to basic human & labor rights, including the right to organize, no child labor, access to health care, and so on.
  • Environmental Stewardship: fair trade organizations must minimize environmental impact.

To Alaffia, fair trade means paying a fair price or wage in the local context, providing equal employment opportunities, engaging in environmental sustainable practices, providing healthy and safe working conditions, being open to public accountability, and reducing the number of middlemen between producers & consumers. We believe fair trade should be environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable and give local communities the opportunity to self-empower.

Fair Trade Unrefined Ingredients:

Shea Butter

Shea butter is the oil from the nuts of wild Shea trees scattered throughout the wooded savanna of West and Central Africa. Shea butter has been used for centuries in Africa. It’s protective and emollient properties are most valued for skin care. In recent clinical trials, shea butter was found to help to protect skin against climate and UV aggressions, reduce appearance of wrinkles, soothe irritated and chapped skin, and moisturize the epidermis.

Handcrafted, unrefined shea butter contains the maximum amount of bioactive phytochemicals. Most shea butter available to the general public outside West Africa is white and odorless: in other words, it has been refined to remove the natural scent and color of natural shea butter. In the process, the majority of the antioxidant agents are also removed. The yellow tint of unrefined shea butter is due to the Vitamin E content. Remove this color, and the beneficial vitamins have also been removed. Refined shea butter is often hard and grainy, not smooth and creamy like pure, unrefined shea butter.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is traditionally extracted oil from fresh fruit of the coconut palm, Cocos nucifera. Coconuts have been cultivated in coastal West Africa and been part of the diet and skin care for centuries. Virgin coconut oil is an important food oil, and is applied to skin and hair directly to protect from sun and wind damage.

Virgin coconut oil is high in natural antioxidants and protects skin from damaging free-radicals. It also helps keep skin looking firm, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Repeated use of virgin coconut oil helps keep skin smoother and more evenly textured by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells. We extract our virgin coconut oil by hand using traditional fermentation methods in Togo, West Africa from fresh coconuts grown organically on small farms. We use our virgin coconut oil in its natural, unrefined state for maximum effectiveness.

Refined coconut oil has been stripped of natural antioxidants and is highly prone to free-radical generation. Free radicals damage skin cells and cause skin aging and cancer. The antioxidants in unrefined coconut oil not only prevent free-radicals from forming in the oil, but also help protect against free-radicals that the skin is exposed to.

Baskets

The Alaffia basket weaving program began in 2004 and the first Alaffia Basket Weaving Cooperative was established in Tchevié, southern Togo in 2006. In 2008, Alaffia baskets were Certified Fair Trade by GiFFT and the Alaffia Internal Control System with full quality parameters was established. In November 2014, our Togo basket weaving program underwent a full and rigorous inspection by the Institute for Marketecology (IMO) Fair for Life Social & Fair Trade Certification Program. IMO is one of the first and most renowned international bodies for inspection, certification and quality assurance of sustainable products. Our Togo baskets are now Certified Fair Trade by IMO. Furthermore, our baskets, as well as shea butter, other oils and soaps received IMO's highest possible Fair for Life performance ranking (5). To our knowledge, our West African Togo baskets will be the first and only to be Certified Fair Trade. The certification covers the baskets woven in our Sokodé, Togo center.

Empowerment Projects

Alaffia’s success is not simply measured by profit. Our success is measured by empowerment. Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alaffia products. Alaffia invests in our communities because it is our moral responsibility and to ensure African resources empower African communities. The goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Our Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication (Female Genital Mutilation), Eyeglasses and Reforestation. All of Alaffia’s projects empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty. Click for more information.

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Hemp History Week Recipe from local author Mariann Garner-Wizard

In support of Hemp History week, consider ordering a copy of Austin author Mariann Garner-Wizard’s book Hempseed Food: the REAL Secret Ingredient for Health & Happiness. More than a cookbook, Hempseed Food provides historical and nutritional information on the versatile hempseed along with delicious recipes. To order Hempseed Food visit Lulu.com

Mariann is a longtime Wheatsville owner who was delighted to share one of her favorite recipes from her book with us.

Freedom Fighter Zucchini Hemp Casserole (great for garden vegetables and herbs)

  • 3-5 zukes, sliced in 1/8 in rounds:
  • 2 T. safflower or sunflower oil
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T. ground toasted Hempseed
  • basil, oregano, thyme and/or marjoram to taste
  • 1/3 C. Italian-flavored bread crumbs
  • 1 large tomato, or one can cooked, peeled, no-salt-added tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 T. dairy butter

Put oil in ovenproof casserole dish. Cover bottom with a layer of sliced zucchini. Season lightly. Sprinkle chopped onion over zucchini. Add another layer of zukes and more seasoning. Cover with tomato pieces. Sprinkle ground toasted Hempseed and more herbs over tomato. Add a third layer of zucchini, season sparingly. Layer with Bell pepper pieces and more salt, pepper, and/or herbs. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Cover and bake at 350°  for 35-40 minutes (until zukes are tender). Remove cover, top with bread crumbs, dot with butter, increase heat to 375°, and bake 5 minutes more to brown.

Alternatives

  1. For a main dish, add 1 C. cooked, chopped chicken to first layer, 1 C. fresh, frozen or drained canned corn to second layer, and 2 chopped Serrano peppers to third layer. Spicy!
  2. Substitute yellow or white squash for zucchini or use them mixed together.
  3. Omit tomato. Add 1/2 C. shredded cheese to each layer (cheddar mozzarella, and/or Colby are good).

recipe reprinted with permission by the author

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Pay Less for Clean Water

Here’s an earth-friendly AND money-saving idea: start filtering your own water! Filtering your own water reduces the number of plastic and glass bottles that we have to dispose of; even if they avoid the landfill, recycling has a carbon impact on our environment.

New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Water Filter

Estimated Usage

Each filter cleans 1500 gallons of water =
32 glasses of water 365 days per year

Economical

Filter System
$113.99 = 8 cents per gallon

Replacement Filter Cartridge
$63.99 =  4.3 cents per gallon

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Kishu Water Filters

As you know, there are many ways to filter your drinking water; there are filters that attach to your tap, pitchers you keep in the fridge, gravity fed systems used by campers, and systems that are plumbed right into your house. However, taking enough filtered water with you for your long journeys from home can be a challenge. Kishu sticks change that. Kishu offers toxin absorbing charcoal sticks that are small enough to fit in any sized water bottle so you can fill up wherever you are and still enjoy clean water.


Kishu Charcoal is made in Japan by artisans who follow the same traditional methods used for thousands of years.  Sustainably harvested branches of oak trees are carefully heated in hand-made kilns to over 1000 degrees. After many days of continuous, closely monitored carbonization, the branches become very dense, transforming into a hard glass-like material. The end result is 97% carbon and is called ‘activated’ charcoal.


Activated charcoal is used in almost every water filtration system in the world. It is highly absorbent and will soak up containments in drinking water such as lead, mercury, cadmium, copper, and chlorine. Additionally, it will impart beneficial minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The end-result is clean, great tasting water!


Kishu sticks come ready to be used right out of the package. All you have to do is drop a stick into your water bottle or pitcher. We have three different sizes; To-go size, a medium size (perfect for Klean Kanteens), and a pitcher size. These sticks will continue to work for four to six months as long as you boil the stick for ten minutes, once a month.


Once six months is up, you can repurpose your Kishu stick in many different ways. Here are just a few examples: You can throw it in the fridge or hamper to absorb odors, you can compost it, or you can break it up and throw it into the garden as bio-char. The possibilities are vast, and by repurposing you increase the value!

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Where’d you get that?

If you’ve been in the store lately, you've seen all the really awesome Wheatsville merch. we have for sale. We’ve been asked, and perhaps you’ve wondered yourself; where do we get this stuff made and what do we look for when sourcing it?

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