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Best Practice Achievements
Our production process is optimized by the use of sustainable technologies. As all of our products are handmade, very little energy is being expended in the manufacturing process. At the same time, the campus where the artisans work is equipped with the technology to harvest and recycle rainwater, generate solar power, and use water recycled from the dying process via a treatment plant to support green belts around the property.
Our hand felted wool-- which is untreated and natural-- comes from sheep that feed freely in the native desert surroundings. The felt-making process supports the sustainability and resiliency of the surrounding community. The artisans and their neighbors have innovated a use for the byproduct of felt making, which is called “wool manure.” Instead of going to waste, this byproduct is used by local farmers as a natural fertilizer. Beyond the nutrients in the wool itself, wool naturally absorbs water – about 20 times its weight – so gardeners and landscapers can conserve more water by using the wool manure. As the wool soaks up in the soil, it fluffs up and expands, increasing soil porosity and improving the soil’s ability to retain oxygen.
Arcadia Home hand-knitted products, like our popular dog and cat breed ornaments, are made by our partners high in the Andes Mountains of Peru near the shores of Lake Titicaca. This Fair Trade artisan group is unique in that it is made up of women farmers taking a break from their seasonal work of farming their land. They live and work near the city of Puno, an area dominated by Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, and is the capital of Peru’s folkloric tradition. The material we use, alpaca, is a natural fiber that comes from the world’s oldest domesticated animal. For thousands of years, alpacas have been bred exclusively for their coats, which produce some of the most luxurious fibers in the world.
Not only is alpaca a wonderfully luxurious natural fiber, but alpaca cultivation provides small family farmers in this area with a steady source of income (and fabulous gardening fertilizer). As these animals are crucial to the livelihoods of farmers in this area of the world, they are treasured, well treated, and highly respected. Alpacas are also one of the few herd animals which do not damage the terrain they graze and roam on. The alpaca's two-toed feet are soft pads protected on the top and sides by toenails. Unlike hard hooves, they leave the terrain undamaged. As they graze, they only eat the top of the grass rather than uprooting it as many other animals do. This means that the fields they graze in are well maintained and can be used for a variety of purposes, including planting crops.
Arcadia Home is committed to educating our artisans and customers on the benefits of sustainability by preserving heritage artforms, promoting fair-trade business practices, and providing our customers with heirloom quality, ecologically mindful, and socially conscious designs for decorating their homes. In addition to creating a full-time livelihood for the artisans making the felt, Arcadia Home is also helping to support an all-woman team of seamstresses who applique, embroider, and hand-stitch the beautiful, finished products. The production gives them a dependable income stream that they tend to spend on the health and education of their children. In this way among others, the hand-felted wool operation enriches the entire community.