Archive for May, 2014

Women Traveling Solo

Women Traveling Solo

Traveling alone as a woman can be an empowering experience. However, safety is always a consideration and some prep work before you go will help to make the most out of your journey. Whole Earth Provision Co. will be hosting a free workshop to help make your trip memorable for all the right reasons. That takes some pre-trip planning, preparation and luck. And luck, as they say, favors the prepared.

The workshop takes place on Thursday, June 5th at our Dallas Preston Forest store starting at 7 pm. Hostelling International’s Coleen Barry will give you special tips on traveling alone, safely and enjoyably. She will also cover budgeting, accommodations, language and cultural customs.

Coleen Barry has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. She usually travels solo, but occasionally acquires travel companions along the way. She likes to alternate her time spent traveling from place to place with stops devoted to volunteering or taking part in work exchanges. Coleen has a Master’s Degree in Art History from TCU. After working at the Grace Museum in Abilene, she left to travel for a year. She is now a freelance copywriter and hopes to one day engage in full-time sustainable travel.

Please join us on Thursday evening and take the first step toward a journey of a lifetime.

Texas State Parks Month Check Presentation

Check Presentation to Texas State Parks

We’re sending out a great big Texas thank you to everyone who donated during our April is Texas State Park Month fundraiser at our Whole Earth stores, and to everyone who attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Austin. On May 22nd, thanks to you, we presented Texas State Parks with a check for $26,828! The money will be spent on new trail maps and on stargazing programs for state park visitors. From left to right: Brent Leisure, Director of Texas State Parks, Sean Bibby of Whole Earth, Janis Johnson, Texas Parks & Wildlife Marketing Group, Walter Wakefield of Whole Earth, Josh Havens, Director for Communications at Texas Parks & Wildlife, Holland Jones of Whole Earth, and Darcy Bontempo Director of Marketing for Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Chaco 25th Anniversary Tour Comes to Austin!

Chaco 25th Anniversary Tour Comes to Austin!

On May 28th, the Chaco Footwear Fit for Adventure Bus Tour will roll into Austin at our North Lamar store. Chaco is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a tour that will visit festivals across the South with side trips to festivals in Telluride, Oklahoma City and Cincinnati. Austin gets a sneak peek as the first unofficial stop on the Tour.

Whole Earth Provision Co. has been selling Chacos for almost 25 years. In the beginning, they were called Geckos, in honor of the critter’s amazing footpads that allow it to scale walls and cling to the ceiling. The name was changed to Chaco in 1995 to end confusion with a t-shirt company. As the years have passed, Chaco has added sandals for women and kids, flips, boots and shoes to their offerings.

Chacos are a great favorite here in Texas. Short of snow days, you are likely to see them out on the street at any time of the year. And when summer arrives, they are everywhere. We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, May 28th from Noon to 4 pm to welcome the Chaco Fit for Adventure Tour to Austin. Come check out the new Chacos, the giveaways and more!

Vibram Class-action Lawsuit Settlement Information

Vibram has settled a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of making false and unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of its Vibram FiveFingers footwear. The company will put $3.75 million into an escrow account to pay out settlements to class members and will remove all claims that its products either strengthen muscles or reduce injuries—unless it comes up with proof. The company has established a website where consumers will be able to get dates, deadlines and notices about making their claims.

According to news reports, consumers who purchased a pair of the shoes between March 21, 2009 and the date of the first dissemination of summary settlement notice or class notice, will be eligible for an estimated refund between $20 and $50 per pair. Class members can submit a claim for up to two pairs of shoes without any kind of receipt or proof of purchase, though the company can request proof of purchase at any time.

Customers will need to apply directly to Vibram to receive a portion of the settlement money. Whole Earth will not be accepting returns as a part of the Class Action Lawsuit.

Clothing that’s Sustainable and Socially Responsible

Whole Earth Assistant Buyer Shannon Owens at Texas State

Whole Earth Assistant Buyer Shannon Owens at Texas State

Earlier this year Whole Earth Provision Co.’s very own Shannon Owens was a guest speaker at Texas State University’s Fashion Merchandising Career Forum for High School students. The focus of her session was on sustainability and social responsibility in the fashion industry. Shannon knows that our customers expect us to carry quality items from socially responsible companies. Whole Earth was green before it was considered cool, and we believe that we have a responsibility to put just as much thought into materials and functionality as we do into fashion and style, not to mention how those items were manufactured. Fashion often comes at a high cost to the environment and can exploit factory workers around the world.

Our buyers work hard to find clothing made with low impact fabrics such as Hemp, Bamboo, Tencel, Modal, Merino wool, Flax Linen, Organic Cotton and recycled fibers. These materials have a minimal impact on the environment over their life cycle and don’t require as many chemicals or as much water (as anybody can tell you who has had Bamboo take over their backyard) in their production. The Fair Trade clothing brand Indigenous invests in natural and organic fibers and uses eco-friendly dyes. Scan the QR code on any Indigenous tag and you can discover where the item originated, how the fibers were raised, and a profile of the South American artisans who hand-knit or wove and constructed the garment.

Whole Earth looks for socially responsible companies like Inkkas, one of our newest shoe brands. Founded on the principles of Fair Trade, they source their materials from Peru where every colorful pair is handmade, utilizing designs by local artisans. And Inkkas plants a tree for every pair of shoes that they sell. Austin-based Open Arms is another socially responsible company, employing female refugees and using re-purposed t-shirts to create one-of-a-kind products such as scarves and skirts. They pay living wages as well as offering ESL classes, a family-friendly work schedule and enrichment opportunities.

TOMS, Chooze and Patagonia are known for their charitable and environmental initiatives. Many people know TOMS as the “One for One” company: for every pair of shoes sold, they give away a pair of shoes to a child in need. The Dallas-based shoe company Chooze follows the Good Returns business model. They invest a portion of their annual profits in anti-poverty programs that provide training, support, education and loans to women so they can start their own businesses to lift themselves out of poverty. And since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of their sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment and created the non-profit 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that give 1% of their sales to grassroots environmental organizations.

SmartWool and Patagonia are also working on animal welfare issues. SmartWool partners with New Zealand Merino Company, developers of the world’s first Merino wool accreditation program that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability and animal welfare by monitoring every participating farm and how it cares for its sheep, sheepdogs, workers and the land. Patagonia is part of a similar program in Argentina partnering with The Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI that focuses on sustainability, animal welfare and the restoration of grasslands once destroyed by grazing. The Patagonia website also has an interactive map The Footprint Chronicles where visitors can learn about Patagonia’s global supply chain.

Whole Earth is committed to offering our customers clothing that not only has style and quality but also comes from companies that look beyond the bottom line and are dedicated to making the world a better place though sustainability and social responsibility.

Dansko Days!

The calendar may say Spring, but it’s already early Summer here in Texas. We’ve been wearing sandals for weeks. If you’re looking for something new, come visit Whole Earth during Dansko Days and see the latest styles, just right for the long summer months ahead.

We’re having events in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Southlake, so you’ll have a chance to meet our Dansko reps and receive a gift with a Dansko purchase (while supplies last) no matter which city you call home.

AUSTIN
Westgate Store
view map and hours
Saturday, May 10th
10:00am – 4:00pm

DALLAS
Mockingbird Store
view map and hours
Saturday, May 17th
10:00am – 4:00pm

HOUSTON
Post Oak Store
view map and hours
Sunday, May 11th
11:00am – 4:00pm

SAN ANTONIO
Quarry Market
view map and hours
Saturday, May 17th
10:00am – 4:00pm

SOUTHLAKE
Town Square
view map and hours
Sunday, May 11th
Noon – 4:00pm

Whole Earthlings Celebrate Mother’s Day

At Whole Earth Provision Co. our amazing staff members have lots of ways to make sure that their Moms have a special day. How do we know? We asked! Here are a few of our family traditions.

As you might expect, getting outdoors is high on the list of Whole Earth Mothers’ Day activities. Family picnics, day hikes and visits to public gardens are very popular. If you don’t already have a favorite picnic spot, this might be a great time to begin the search for that special place. Be sure to take a kite or two. Flag Pole Hill in Dallas and Zilker Park in Austin are two of our favorite spots to have a picnic and fly a kite. And don’t forget to take your camera. Some Whole Earth families make it a point to take a family photo every year on Mothers’ Day. Mom is often the family photographer, so be sure that she’s in this photo!

Many Whole Earth Moms love gardens and gardening. The Dallas Arboretum was mentioned several times as a favorite Mothers’ Day destination. This is a wonderful time of year for visiting public gardens in Texas as roses and many native plants are still in bloom. Helping Mom in her own garden is another way we celebrate. Planting flowers that attract bees and butterflies, helping to take care of organic gardens and mini orchards and creating beautiful landscapes are just a few of the ways that some Whole Earthlings spend time together with their Moms.

Maybe your Mom has a favorite State Park! Hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, exploring and just hanging out is a great way to enjoy Mothers’ Day. One Whole Earth family heads off to Dinosaur Valley State Park every year. The Texas State Parks website is a great resource for finding State Parks close to home.

Some Whole Earth Mom’s begin their day with breakfast in bed prepared by the kids, while some families head off to Mom’s favorite restaurant for a Mothers’ day brunch or dinner. For others, it’s a party! The generations gather for a feast featuring all the family’s favorite foods. Afterwards, the Dads take charge of the kids so that the Moms can relax and enjoy their special day together.

Does Mom have a favorite game that everyone can play? One Whole Earth family has an annual Farkel tournament to celebrate Mothers’ Day. Others play classic yard games like Croquet or Badminton. One Whole Earthling Mom is an artist. On Mothers’ Day, mother and daughter find a beautiful spot and spend the day painting together.

If you won’t be seeing your Mom on Mothers’ Day, don’t forget to take time to call or Skype. This is a great time to ask some family history questions or to request a favorite family recipe.

For some of us, our mothers are no longer living. But we can still celebrate our happy memories and abiding love. One Whole Earthling wrote:

Since I was a young man, whenever I was away from home, I would keep a travel journal. I would send post cards, from places both exotic and mundane. The one constant in that exercise of communicating through writing thoughts and feelings, observations and experiences, was that I always sent a card to my Mother, if no one else. It was she who taught me to write; to let people who mattered to me know how I felt about them; to keep in touch by sharing experiences; and to send thank you notes written in my own hand. It is the simple act of writing with a single confidant in mind: one who inspires me. One who quite literally gave me my voice, a meditation, if you will.

My mother passed in 1994, 19 years ago. Every Mother’s Day, I find a time to open my journal, read a few things to her out loud. My backyard, a knoll beside the river, the cemetery, a bathroom on a bus speeding across the Atacama desert in Chile have all served as a podium for me to share with her. Happy Mothers’ Day, Lula Bell.

And a Happy Mother’s Day to all of you from Whole Earth!