“The idea of slow farmed beauty is one of mindfulness. sourcing should and can benefit all communities, individuals, animals and plants along the way.” – laurel
Do you ever think about where your food or skin care comes from? I ponder this often, and my mind can wander from the soil conditions of a farm to the living situation for the farmworker. I consider how their family might be supported through natural disasters like California wildfires, for starters. As a society, we are disconnected from where our food and skin care come from, which can leave us disconnected from our shared humanity. We are disconnected from the human hands that literally hold our food. Farming is back-breaking labor already, and natural disasters can lead to crop losses, structure losses and harmful smoke inhalation during harvesting. Next time you eat a meal, or wash your face, consider where/who/how those ingredients were grown. Consider the human connection that went into getting those ingredients to you. This contemplative practice fills me with overwhelming gratitude, humility, and awe. (This article was originally written alongside a financial contribution to Direct Action for Farmworkers, who support the rights of farmworkers in Northern California. It helped provide them with smoke filtration masks during fire season, along with fresh water and food deliveries.)
We work with close to 150 plant ingredients here at Laurel Skin. All of them are organic, biodynamic and/or regeneratively farmed. None of our plants are grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers, nor are they subject to mono-cropping or commercial wild-harvesting. Sourcing is so incredibly complex, and the deeper one gets into it, it becomes clear that most of what we read about it is romanticized marketing language. An organic ingredient does not ensure that no child labor was involved. A biodynamic ingredient does not ensure that no unethical labor practices were involved. And simultaneously, ethical labor practices don’t ensure that Mother Earth is not being harmed by irresponsible use of glyphosate or GMOs. Considering all of these factors when sourcing can sound like a lot, but it really just comes down to having love in the supply chain. Buying directly from a human supporting another human, built on a long standing relationship and omitting large corporations, is the safest way to ensure that the product you are purchasing has ‘love in the supply chain’ – omitting as much harm as absolutely possible within each individuals level of understanding.
Most skin care ingredients are grown and handled quite thoughtlessly. USDA ingredients from overseas are incredibly popular, and government regulation of USDA mandates (even domestically) are minimal at best. The team at Laurel Skin would have quite an easy time if we ordered all of our ingredients in bulk online from bulk ingredient suppliers. This would save us not only hours in labor, but it could cut our ingredient cost by 2-5 times. However, we believe that not only do we have a commitment to safer and higher quality ingredients for our customers, but we also have a commitment and responsibility to support all the beings involved from soil, to seed, to harvest – plants, animals and humans included. We have made it our mission to protect our planet, and that means supporting other people who LOVE our Earth as much as we do, who strive to take great care of it, and who take great pride in the ingredients that they send our way.
Biodynamic practices used in farming is one of our favorite choices, but really it is more about the commitment and deep understanding of those who utilize these techniques have for our Earth. How is it different from conventional and even organic farming? In short, biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. Started in the 1920’s by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, biodynamic farming is about diversity, fertility, and creating a balanced sustainable ecosystem. Biodynamic farmers truly speak the language of the Earth. They take the time to nourish the soil with fermented manure, minerals, and herbs. The health of soil determines the health and nutrition density of what one grows. They listen to the seasons and know the land on an intimate level. It is not just about growing, but about sustaining and strengthening the entire surrounding ecosystem. Regenerative agriculture can appear similarly in a working farm to biodynamics, and the use of this term is growing in popularity, which makes it susceptible to being misused or manipulated for financial gain. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity of the ecosystem, enriches soils, and improves watersheds. This type of farming is reciprocal by promoting the culture of living in relationship with the land. Both styles don’t allow for mono-cropping, pesticide usage, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, or anything that could potentially harm plant life, pollinators, nearby waterways, or animal habitats.
Here at Laurel we truly can see the difference that farming has on our ingredients. Every day is Earth Day for us. Our products have our hearts in them, as well as the hearts of the farmers who lovingly work to grow the most powerful plant medicine we can find.