Events + Contests

Published on August 17th, 2009 | by Kelly Rand

4

Bags for the People

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If you frequent your local farmer’s market, being a crafty person that you are, you bring along your very own handmade bags to carry home your produce, right? Right. In fact no matter the market, I bet you have a handmade tote bag that is at hand to carry home your loot.

Well, what about the non crafty people? Should they be relegated to using plastic bags? What if everyone was given a free handmade bag to carry home their fresh produce instead of those plastic bags? And what if these bags were made out of fabric left overs such as outgrown t-shirts and scraps?

Bags for the People was formed in reaction to when Glenn Robinson would work at his local farmers market in Union Square in New York and hand out hundreds of hundreds of plastics bags every day. He would see people that would bring their own bags, but they would still rely on some plastic, too.

Having some free time on his hands Robinson used some old clothing to create bags that he then gave away at the farmers market to help curb plastic bag use. The simple idea was received very well and people thought they were being given a gift with their purchase. “People were so excited to get these bags,” Robinson said.

Run by a team of six people, Bags for the People started out simply creating the bags and handing them out at the market with the idea of reducing the need for plastic bags. Since then the idea has grown and big plans are in the works for this simple idea and modest organization. Currently Bags for the People offer sewing workshops and opportunities to make the bags. Robinson sees the idea as simple to replicate and wants to make it easy for people to do in other areas and other towns and possibly have Bags for the People Chapters to get people sewing for themselves.

Robinson sees the bags and the organization as a catalyst for people to start DIYing. In teaching people how to make the bags themselves with the classes and workshop, they are also gaining the skills to mend their own clothes or even make clothes. The workshops also bring people together and helps to spread creativity and inspiration to do more to help the environment and the connection to the farmers market and healthy eating can’t be missed.

You can make your own farmers market ready bag by downloading the pattern from Bags for the People, or by participating in any of their bag making workshops. If you would like to become involved with Bags for the People you can email them directly from their website.

[Image courtesy Glenn Robinson and Bags for the People]

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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.



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  • MD

    Old pillow case from the sali anne or good will, or from a dumpster near any University, University students throw away gobs of new or almost unused stuff here, works great for a reusable bag.

  • http://www.jofabrics.com Ask Netfah from J&O Fabrics

    Love to see that not all creative thoughts have to come with a price. Love the intent behind the idea and the inspiration to keep it growning! A great idea to spread to our crafty customers right here at J&O Fabrics! Thanks

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