Spread the holiday spirit by cheering on artisanal, social, and eco-friendly enterprises.
What’s sweeter than gifting chocolates for Diwali, Eid or Christmas? Making sure that those treats are organic and handmade. Mason & Co. sources their organic cacao beans from a family-run smallholding in Tamil Nadu. Try their 75 per cent Zesty Orange or 70 per cent Sea Salt Dark Chocolate that they make at their factory in Auroville. A far bigger temptation is their eight-bar dark chocolate collection gift pack.
Earth Loaf’s organic chocolates are handcrafted in small batches from cacao beans from a single estate in Karnataka, and their gorgeous wrappers are silk-screened by hand in Mysore. Try their 72 per cent Raw Dark Chocolate bar and the Gondhoraj & Apricot one.
Available at www.placeoforigin.in.
Bhairavi Naik and Rohit Kulkarni’s ceramic studio, Curators of Clay, will make you want to trade your space-saving, stacking Tupperware for their bespoke pottery. Their tableware and home decor accessories are handcrafted in small batches by the two potters in Bhugaon, Pune. Tea drinkers will be delighted by their gorgeous range of teapots, creamers, tumblers, and mugs. For those who have a sweet tooth, Curators of Clay pottery is perfect for baking; they even have custard jugs! They also have handcrafted porcelain tea lights for the festival season.
To order or customise a gift, drop in at their Pune store, visit their Facebook page or write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairtrade And Organic Tea Hamper
If you’re planning on assembling a food hamper, choose a tea carton with the Fairtrade and Organic Mark. The Fairtrade Mark means that apart from meeting social and environmental standards, an additional premium is paid to the producers for the purchase you make. Oothu green and black teas come directly from the Nilgiris, while Monteviot and Makaibari Tea have a dazzling range from Darjeeling. Pukka Tea’s Vanilla Chai, Supreme Matcha Green, Clean Green, and Cool Mint Green are perfect for detox after a festive binge. Best of all, you can feel zen knowing that the money will be democratically spent by farmer and producer committees on community projects such as education, eco centres, and smokeless chulhas.
Available on Amazon and Makaibari.
Over the last few years, Under the Mango Tree has become known for its fair-trade sourcing practices, in which they procure honey directly from beekeepers. Their fabulous Bees for Poverty Reduction programme enables farmers to generate additional income through honey, with the bees boosting yield through cross-pollination – a sweet deal for both bees and farmers. UTMT has a range of single-origin honeys – Eucalyptus Honey is perfect to soothe sore throats after a night of inhaling firecracker fumes, while their Sweet Clover Honey is a delicious addition to sweets.
Available at most grocery stores and on www.bigbasket.com.
We’ll be honest: it’s hard to actually give away Tara Books’ stunning children’s books to kids. The Chennai-based independent publisher of picture books for adults and children has an eclectic list of titles created by writers, tribal artists and designers. To Market, To Market! by Anushka Ravishankar and Emanuele Scanziani charmingly portrays an Indian market, and is perfect for curious toddlers. Adults will love The Nightlife of Trees, an award-winning handmade book by Gond artists Bhajju Shyam, Durga Bai, and Ram Singh Urveti. The arresting visuals are a tribute to the magnificence of trees, and draw from the art and folklore of the Gond tribe. Don’t forget to check out their stationery section for the one-of-a-kind Flukebooks, perfect for jotting down organic recipes.
Bengaluru-based Little Latitude has a range of books and toys which are not only beautiful but also environment-friendly. For instance, Vinay Diddee, who started Little Latitude, makes toys with rubber wood that is not treated with harmful chemicals.
Available at www.tarabooks.com. Find the store list for Little Latitude here.
Organic cotton is not only good for your skin but also for the soil, and farmers. With the use of integrated pest management measures, the soil retains its fertility, and farmers practise inter-cropping, which ensures their food security. Good Earth’s Gumdrops kids collection is eco-friendly and adorable. There are elephant soft toys, sleeping sets for infants, and quilts to choose from.
Grown-ups can head to No Nasties to buy colour-block pocket tees made with organic and Fairtrade cotton. Each purchase comes in organic cotton bags and recycled cardboard tags made by a women’s self-help group near Pondicherry. While you’re at it, slip in a little Doug accessory as part of your gift. No Nasties’ Once Upon A Doug project supports women cotton farmers who make these adorable clouds with a silver lining, from scraps of recycled cotton during the lean season.
If you’re looking for something more ethnic, check out Ethicus and Tula, two fabulous seed-to-stitch enterprises that are revolutionising the cotton supply chain.
Available at all Good Earth Stores. Shop at www.nonasties.in,www.onceuponadoug.com, www.jaypore.com, and www.tula.org.in.
Natural And Seasonal Cosmetics
It’s tough finding cosmetics that are made completely with natural ingredients. SoulTree is certified by BDIH Germany. The brand pays fair price to farmers, ensures that plants are not picked clean of flowers or fruits, and that harmful chemicals are not used in their products. They have a wide range of beauty products, but check out their Traveller Essential Miniature Kit which has 30ml bottles of moisturiser, shower gel, and shampoo. Their lipsticks use organic ghee as a base.
Available at www.soultree.in.
Fuel that caffeine addiction with a coffee subscription to Blue Tokai. The hand-picked, single-origin coffee is roasted and then ground as per your specifications and delivered to your doorstep. Whether you like the full-bodied, low acid Monsoon Malabar coffee or the dark, oaky Vienna roast, there’s plenty to choose from. If you are not sure of which blend to gift, choose the Mixed Bag.
Available at www.bluetokaicoffee.com.
Gentle Detergents And Cleaners
Most homes get a thorough cleaning before Diwali, so eco-friendly soaps and detergents make an offbeat but handy gift. Common Oxen products use safe or natural ingredients, and are also a great gift to yourself. Their detergent Swish Wash is free of synthetic fragrances, phosphates, and carcinogenic chemicals. It is made of botanical oil soap, washing soda, baking soda, borax, rock salt, and lime and orange essential oils, and leaves your laundry smelling of the sun. Common Oxen also has kitchen dishwashing soaps, bathroom cleaners, and body soaps.
Available at www.commenoxen.in.