As midwinter approaches and the light fades.

As midwinter approaches everything seems to be about feasting and celebrating the returning light, symbolically acknowledged in so many faith traditions. It’s also traditionally a time to pause, to rest, to reflect, a time to enjoy all of the good things in life. A time to kick back. Solstice is the tipping point, when the night is longest and the day is shortest. After that it’s all uphill to spring. Longer days, more sunshine, more light. It’s a time to connect with loved ones, and of course a time of giving back, taking stock, letting go of the old and welcoming in the new. For me, it’s a time for sparkling fairy lights and scented candles, cosy long evenings to cook great food and watch great movies.

This Friday in celebration of all things Christmas, we will be open until late for Stroud’s wonderful Goodwill and Late Night Shopping Evening. We look forward to welcoming you and yours into this wonderland of handmade beauty that is Made in Stroud and sharing some seasonal cheer with you.

Like a lot of businesses, we regularly review how we can minimise our environmental impact. We want to do our little bit to creating a better world and everything we do is aimed at that, from directly sourcing artists, to working with local charitable organisations throughout the year. We had a head start when we rented the building in Kendrick Street, which is an eco-conversion of two old shops. It incorporates a heat transfer system which pumps the hot air from the ceiling and circulates it down into the cellar, keeping the building warm in winter and cool in summer. Yes, we even have eco air con! Our hot water tank is tiny and super efficient, we buy our electricity and gas from Ecotricity, with whom we have run various partnership projects over the years. We have only ever used paper bags, made from recycled paper, and we use eco cleaning products. This year we have changed our search engine to Ecosia, which uses the revenue from searches to plant trees where they are most needed. 

We keep packaging to a minimum, sell only rainforest friendly chocolate, and our soaps have been palm oil free for 7 years now. Going palm-oil free lost us our main soap supplier at the time, but equally it gained us all the amazing new makers we have now. I love the risk involved in being authentic to my own values and the faith involved in sticking to them.

And we specialise in vegan and vegetarian hampers packed in a carton made from recycled card or an upcycled picnic hamper, and filled with any of our growing selection of local food and drink. What a great gift idea!. Last year we supplied one Stroud company with 50 vegan hampers and other with 4 of our Gold range hampers. This year we have repeat orders. Our clients tell us the response from their customers was great! Get in touch if you’d like to order from our range, get some made for you with our bespoke hamper service, or build your own in store.

All of this we do because we find it motivating, exciting and because it gives us a kind of “feel good” factor. It makes work enjoyable and slightly challenging, in a good way.

As Christmas is also a time of giving, are collecting donations for Stroud Food Bank this week. There is a hamper by the door where you can drop any food items you’d like to offer. We’ll be delivering this to Stroud Food Bank HQ on 12th December. We are also collecting store cupboard basics, festive treats and lovely toiletries for The Ronald MacDonald House at Bristol Children’s hospital. RM House is a wonderful free facility for parents who need to be near to their little ones while they are in hospital. These stays are unexpected and can be long and especially tough over the Christmas period. The running costs of the house are covered entirely by voluntary contributions, offering parents somewhere supportive and free to stay in hard times.

On the theme of change, I have been listening to the latest TED talk from Chad Frischmann about the challenges of humanity in the face of climate change, and how a “climate” (excuse the pun) of fear is not at all helpful, as it has a tendency to lead to apathy. As a massive fan of critical thinking and objectivity, I cannot recommend this podcast highly enough.

Frischmann is part of an organisation known as “Project Drawdown” a group of researchers and writers looking at solutions to global warming. He asserts that our everyday decisions about the food we produce, purchase and consume and how we manage land are the most important changes that humanity can make, creating new carbon sinks to effectively “draw down” carbon. 12 of the top twenty climate solutions drawn up by Project Drawdown relate to food production and land management.

Eating a plant-based diet is highlighted as perhaps the most important contribution every individual can make to reversing global warming. That and planting more trees.

The single most impactful solution globally according to this model would be properly managing HFCs used in refrigerators and air conditioning to cool the air. Very interesting and I highly recommend listening to this solution-based talk. It really is quite inspiring and challenges conventional thinking on this pressing problem. The amazing thing is that 80 of the suggested 100 solutions identified by the group are available to us already, and if implemented, would reverse the effects of climate change. Following the success of reducing the use of CFCs, this seems ultimately achievable in a short time frame, given the political will.

Give it a listen and leave us a message with your thoughts



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