Verve takes its pick of edgy eco-warriors and trusty favourites for sustainable shopping across India
Established in 1996 in Mumbai, Good Earth set trends in home décor and lifestyle and design that continue to be hugely influential and a part of signature contemporary Indian style all over urban India. From the floating candle waterlilies and frangipanis, to fine stemware collections made from lead-free crystal (wine tastes so much better!) to healing Ayurveda, naturopathy and aromatherapy remedies in their luxe home spa line Amritham, Good Earth makes going natural not only responsible, but also fabulous. Verandah, their interiors and garden space in Mumbai’s bustling Raghuvanshi Mills compound, is an expansive treat. In collaboration with talented designers working out of diverse places across the world, Verandah offers the best in contemporary design in furniture and home accessories, and succeeds redefines traditional Indian living space as well as the international idea of easy tropical living.
At Raghuvanshi Mills and other locations across Mumbai. Also at Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Singapore.
Mother Earth looks to the future: ours and our planet’s. Industree, the well-known social entrepreneurship, combines its years of experience in the developmental sector with the retail acumen of the Future Group, to address issues of environmental as well as social sustainability. The first exclusive Mother Earth outlet at Bangalore opened in April 2009 across 3 massive floors, with a wide range of carefully selected merchandise that helps build environment and social sustainability through home, apparel and food. Mother Earth sources from rural producers and Fair Trade partners and encourages green, artisanal skills, which provide non farm-based incomes to its rural masses. Their focus on rural producers and artisans is the basis of their ambitious vision of an inclusive and sustainable economy. “The true greening of India will happen,” as they say, “when we increase incomes at the bottom of the pyramid and reduce migration to urban centers, which is going to become one of the major contributors to increasing carbon emissions and pollution.” Connecting this vision with rapidly urbanising India, of course, are the stores themselves: their new outlet opened to rave reviews just last month in Mumbai.
At SoBo Central, Haji Ali, Mumbai. and 541 - 543, Amarjyothi HSBC Layout, opposite Dell, Koramangala Intermediate Ring Road, Domlur, Bangalore. Also available at select stores across India.
Down To Earth
The Morarka Organic revolution started in 1993 in the village of Navalgarh close to Rajasthan’s Thar desert in Rajasthan. Over 70,000 farmers now grow organic products for them. Their retail outlet in Mumbai now stocks pulses, spices, condiments, a wide variety of cereals, ghee, most kinds of oil and veggies. They also have a garment section, which stocks dresses, T-shirts, scarves and kurtas, yoga mats, bedsheets and comforters. With plans to expand into a pan-India chain in the works, we can only say: we hope it’s soon!
At Down to Earth, Commerce Centre Building, AC Market, next to ICICI Bank, Tardeo, Mumbai.
In an ecstatic review of Pune’s landmark shopping destination, a blog on the Internet says: ‘India doesn’t need gigantic malls. We need innovation in every aspect of life. We need organisation to avoid chaos on our streets and give the Indian shopper a pleasant shopping experience.’ In its stunning recreation of the ethos and aesthetic of the Indian street shopping experience, Either OR really does provide the alternative space for design that its name promises. Long established as Pune’s favourite store for quirky and natural designer clothes, Either OR would be cutting-edge anywhere in India, with its natural-dyed tees, block-printed fabrics, furnishings, wire toys, bamboo chimes, socially sensitive literature and more. Local creativity sustains and nourishes the whole eco-system of Either OR. Every product in the store aims to provide an alternative – whether to home accessories or clothes. To its delighted fans, it embodies the very best principles of an environmentally, socially-conscious lifestyle. It’s the sunny side of the street.
At 24, Sohrab Hall, 21, Sassoon Road, opposite Jehangir Hospital, Pune.
The latest landmark on Mumbai’s green scene takes the fate of the world very seriously indeed. Omved is a store where each and every item, sourced from master artisans, tribal craftsmen, cottage industries and village units, is chemical free, natural, handcrafted, fair trade, made in India and biodegradable. Their wide range of lifestyle products, clothing and organic food are all authentic and ethical, embracing design and sustainability, and committed to reviving India’s ancient Vedic traditions. Omved, which claims to be the first store of its kind in the world, offers everything from organic spices endorsed by Eco Cert, Ayurganic or herbal-dyed organic bath and bed linen, PVC-free yoga mats, non-toxic incense and 100 per cent chemical-free body, hair and face care products. At last count, Omved had over 900 products and 283 suppliers, and recycled everything possible for their packaging. A natural choice, you say? We should think so.
At Grand Galleria in Lower Parel, Nepean Sea Road, Vashi and Juhu in Mumbai. See omved.com for details.
Jayashree and Ganesh Eashwar, who started out with a farm on the outskirts of Bangalore, soon realised that departmental stores give cursory attention to organic products, with a neglected, ill-stocked shelf or two. And that NGOs who work directly with farmers do not have the tools to link up directly with consumers. “Basically, what we are doing is the opposite of NGOs - by linking with others who do the same thing, we are making sure we manage to provide a range of products - rice from the South and the North East, pulses from the hills for example, in our own store, and in other stores. Pretty much like the old time barter system.” Dubden stocks not just vegetables and fruits, but also pickles, jams, preserves, cooking oils and whole grain breads – both certified organic and the ‘convergence’ offerings of farmers and NGOs who maintain rigorous standards of fair and healthful cultivation even as they remain technically uncertified. From herbal to natural to eco to full-blown organic, both their own and that of other brands, Dubden’s Healthy Living store in Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, is a delight. Music to ears around the country; they also retail online.
At Dubden Green, 4A Shahpur Jat, New Delhi. Visit organicbounty.com to know more.
Set up in 1990, Kavita Mukhi’s baby is one of India’s pioneering names in natural and organic food. Most of its products are sourced from small organic farms and farming communities all over the country. A rigorous quality check and stringent standards of hygiene are guaranteed, from the farm to the Conscious Food workshop in Mumbai, and from there to the shelf.
Available at Conscious Food retail outlets all over India. See consciousfood.com for details.
One of the country’s best known organic brands, thanks to their presence in FabIndia stores across India, Organic India is rather special. The company has been given exclusive rights to harvest crops from certified organic forests throughout the plains and mountains of central and northern India due to an excellent reputation for enriching the environment, and a commitment to the well being of local farmers and tribal craftspeople. Their yummy Tulsi tea collection is one of those organic products that is a byword in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. With herbal supplements, syrups, and wholesale foodgrains, spices and herbs, Organic India offer the best out of sustainable farming.
At FabIndia outlets and select stores across India.
The legendary NGO retails in Mumbai, Delhi and Dehradun, and its fame has only grown with its longstanding commitment to the environment and local ecosystems of India’s agrarian economy. Vandana Shiva’s organic baby produces a wide variety of agricultural produce, from breakfast cereals to rare dals like bhatta and naurangi (rare for city-slickers, at any rate), all of it worth the eating. Their outlets in Dilli Haat and Hauz Khas also house the Slow Food Organic Cafés.
At Hauz Khas and Dilli Haat in Delhi and in Andheri, Mumbai. Also in Dehradun.
24 Letter Mantra
24 Letter Mantra has a wide range of organic food: about 80 per cent of the stock here is organic and the rest is natural. Flour, foodgrains, different varieties of beans, organic sugar and jaggery, pickles, oats, paneer, yoghurt, fruits and vegetables are all available, as are cookies, and other baked stuff without artificial colouring and preservatives.
At 24 Letter Mantra, Whitefield, Bengaluru. See 24lettermantra.com for more. Also available at Spencer’s outlets.
It’s the sort of place you know you can trust, because they open on Saturdays only between 10 am and 2 pm, when stuff is freshest. Your go-to place for organic fruits, vegetables, condiments, pulses, spices, and manure.
At Adi Naturals, JP Nagar, Bengaluru.
Relying on a network of trusted farmers across India, the Chennai-based Green Shop makes its organic food products available through their online outlets and select stores in Chennai.
Available at Green Shop outlets in Sholinganallur and Anna Nagar, Chennai and through organicgreenshop.com
The Eco-Nut is a health food store with an interesting range of organic foods as well as a variety of health foods, whole food supplements, whole grain bread, fermented products and non sugar snacks, as well as non chemical alternatives for personal care and home use. The store sources several of its products from the farm and production facility in the mountains of Kodaikanal, India.
The Eco-Nut store is located on 1st Floor, E34, 2nd Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai
The little big chocolatiers earned major brownie points from us this festive season with their simply divine organic chocolate range. Food of the gods, indeed!
At Fantasie chocolates, Mumbai.
Portico New York
Home furnishing gurus Portico recently launched their all-new Supernature Organic Collection, a uniquely different collection that is all about going organic the easy way, beautifying your surroundings as you pitch in for the environment. Stylised bedding that uses environmentally sensitive fabrics and responsible production techniques; a signature line of 100% organic satin sheets, woven in 300 thread count, printed with organic dyes and processed with no harsh chemicals, the designs are a blend of modern and eco chic.
Available across Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle outlets and leading home décor and furniture outlets across the country.
Did you think the eco-friendly clutch was an impossibility? Wrong! Hidesign’s natural leather accessories makes chic go green. The selection, released just in time for the festive season is available in coral pink, black, red, plum, avocado green, brown and olive.
Available at select stores all over India.
The Bombay Paperie
Handmade paper is one thing, but knowing that it’s also recycled is the stuff of green dreams. The Bombay Paperie’s sumptuous, history-drenched products open up a world in which paper is not merely the means to an end where art is concerned, but forms an objet in itself – if you don’t believe us, turn to our eco+logical shoot to observe the effects.
At Bombay Samachar Marg, Mumbai.
Ma Passion Signio Paintings
Artistic genealogies of miniature painters can be traced back to the guilds of the Mughals and Rajputs. Using water-based paints made of vegetable or gemstone extracts, these painters create masterpieces on Valsi (thin sheets of handmade paper). Single strand squirrel hair brushes allow the artist to create the detail in the paintings. Apart from the miniature style, you also find adaptations of Italian renaissance paintings and Dutch artists, with Indianised imagery. Ma Passion Signio Paintings collects and curates the work of several miniature artists in and around Jaipur, Rajasthan, in a form that uses both eco-friendly materials and preserves a way of life and an art.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Green Meetings at The Renaissance, Mumbai
With healthy welcome drinks, water pitchers in place of plastic bottles, recycled stationery and organic tea sessions and coffee breaks, this Mumbai hotel proves that green is in the details. Paperless communication tools and fresh, organic local food complete the initiative. A great way to reduce your carbon footprint even during traditionally carbon-heavy business meetings.
At The Renaissance, Powai, Mumbai.
An hour’s drive from Cochin airport, CGH Earth’s Marari Beach resort is designed to recreate the rhythms of the fishing villages of the scenic Kerala coast. The habitat interaction is all about evolved tourism, from a detailed run-down of your carbon footprint to the conscious attempt to get you to enjoy a holiday that is about being, rather than doing. With investments in recycling and pollution control, Marari Beach is considered one of the most eco-friendly beach hotspots in Asia.
Visit cghearth.com/marari_beach/ to learn more.
‘Slip into a skirt, slip farmers out of debt.’ Sounds strange? Not to the founders of Ethicus, a new fashion label based out of Tamil Nadu, where they grow organic cotton which does not disturb the ecologically-sensitive atmosphere of the elephant reserve in Kabini, Karnataka and the tiger reserve of Annamalai forest in Tamil Nadu. They also grow Ahimsa silk, a term used for silk grown without killing the silk worm. The emphasis is on going from farm to fashion, on the fast track – and the products, hand-crafted by rural artisans, include sarees, stoles, bed and table linen, curtains, decorative cushions, baby gift sets, tees and accessories. It’s all about letting your mind breathe. The collection is out in stores soon.
To learn more, keep an eye on ethicus.in.
Grassroot by Anita Dongre
‘Environmental glam,’ is how designer Dongre describes her collection, which marries style to fabrics produced in environmentally-conscious and eco-friendly ways. A good life, as the collection establishes, is all about going back to the basics.
At AND and Anita Dongre outlets, as well as select stores, across India.
The girly-girl fashion line goes eco-chic this season, with three collections that are all about eco-awareness through design.
Available at Remanika outlets and select stores across India
Dhirendra Singh’s eco-friendly designs on Ahimsa silk and eco-fabrics are ‘like the flow of a river,’ if fans are to be believed. With a sharp focus on design, these are a dream.
At Bliss, Mumbai and through Dhirendra Singh’s workshop, Sector 5, Noida.
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