The synthetic garment industry is the second largest source of freshwater pollution worldwide, after agriculture. It is only natural then that a water-loving seeker of sustainable, living economy solutions like myself would be drawn to seeing firsthand the Indigo supply chain from start to finish......take a peak with me at how it is done:
I arrived at Riverdog Farm in Capay Valley, the first commercial Indigo farm in the US since the Civil war - thanks to Rebecca Burgess and the Fibershed Project - and realized that I had made a major faux pas in my outfit: what am I wearing? - a synthetically-dyed blue shirt? I've got to get my act together.....
The harvesting crew......friends from Oakland and San Francisco and Nicasio....
Just hours in to the harvest, we've already got a truck bed full - Farmer Lawrence takes a break to admire our handiwork.
Matt Katsaros, Founder of Flint Outdoors, who makes handmade bags in the SF Bay Area, and uses natural dyes to color his canvass artisan pieces, is a fellow harvester. Here, he sits next to the harvest of Indigo that he’ll use to turn into a beautiful blue handcrafted bag! (Note: The bage he is toting is not Indigo-dyed, it is a satchel to collect the harvest)
Rebecca treats us to tasty watermelon snacks :)
The Indigo leaves are left to dry, and then we stomp on them to separate the leaves from the stems. Time to dance!
Composted on a hand-made composting floor which uses gravel, Organic Lundberg rice hulls, mud, and ancient technology to wick water away and allow the wet leaves to compost without molding. Once the leaves are composted, they look just like dirt. And smell heavenly (if you love dirt as much as I do :)
Pictured here, the beautiful, aromatic, Indigo leaves next to the beautiful, luminescent blue it creates on canvass.....