Cut your carbon emissions; increase your cardio

WS logoThe next time you just need to pick up a few things at the store, why not cut your carbon emissions and squeeze in a little cardio at the same time?file_10_3

Just pop this handmade fair trade basket from Ayindisa in Ridgefield onto your bike’s handle bars and away you can go to the market. It includes two plastic cinch ties to attach the basket to the bars, so even someone as un-mechanically inclined as I can do it.

The basket – made by the Ayindisa Basket-Weaving Co-operative in the village of Yarkibisi in one of the poorest regions of Ghana, West Africa – is between 9.5 and 10 inches high; 14 inches wide; and 9.5 inches deep. Sporadic rainfall in that region, coupled with harsh weather conditions, forced these weavers find a way to supplement their families’ incomes.

The cooperative began in 2007 with five women and now employs more than 30 women and some men. They use grass harvested in a neighboring region where there is ample rain. The dyes, which are all natural and non-toxic, become a pigment used for soaking the grass.

file_9_9In addition to providing sustainable employment for marginalized communities, proceeds from these basket sales help fund social development projects. For example, in November, 2011 Ayindisa teamed up with the humanitarian organization “Engage Now Africa,” and completed their first bore hole well, which now provides clean and safe drinking water for thousands of people living in the weavers’ village of Yarkibisi.

What an amazing effort.

$45. Ayindisa, 18 Prospect Street, Ridgefield. (203) 894-1115.

Melinda McGarty Webb