feature: arti jalan of forage and sustain

Forage and Sustain is an online publication that approaches all things related to sustainable and conscious living with a fresh perspective. Founder Arti Jalan creatively explores a myriad of topics that affect us in our lives such as self-care, travel, lifestyle and fashion and educates us on how to shift our focus to have a more positive impact in these areas. We had a conversation with her about inspiration and tips for manifesting more earth-friendly day-to-day practices and a slower approach to life.

Wildcraft: Hi Arti, please tell us a little about yourself.

In a nutshell, I’m a wanderlusting soul turned conscious consumer, aiming to do my part in making the world a better place. I’ve lived in France, China and India, and am now back in Toronto. I’m obsessed with pain au chocolat, and went scuba diving for the first time ever in Indonesia in April!

WC: What motivated you to create Forage and Sustain?

The idea sort of claimed me, rather than the other way around! I had always been bothered by waste and overconsumption, and lived minimally, without realizing I was or that it was trendy. I would share my discoveries on natural skincare with friends and family, and felt a strong pull within me and couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Eventually, I realized it was the desire to regain a deeper connection with myself and the earth, and this was a term called “slow living”. I felt that sharing my learnings with other people would be an awesome way to create a community of like-minded, conscious consumers, and I would be able to help people live their best sustainable life.

WC: What does it mean to be a “conscious consumer” and what advice would you give to someone who wants to work towards that?

Being a conscious consumer means that rather than blindly and automatically reaching for the same products, services or experiences that you usually do, you choose to take a minute and think about the bigger picture. Are the skincare products you’re using actually nourishing you, or are they full of chemicals? Do the oranges you’re getting need to be placed in a plastic bag? Who made the $10 t-shirt you’re thinking of buying?

Becoming a conscious consumer means bringing awareness to all areas of our lives, from travel, to shopping, to the restaurants we choose to eat in. As for advice, I would say the most important thing is to always ask questions! If something seems too good to be true ($11 jeans for example), it probably is. Asking questions, doing your research and not taking things at face value are important steps in becoming more conscious. Also, remember to check in with yourself – choose progress over perfection. It can get stressful trying to do it all, so start with making small changes that are manageable, and slowly you’ll begin to choose better every time.

WC: An increasing focus is being placed on sustainability within fashion. What are some tips for being more mindful when it comes to the way that we dress?

It’s important to know that sustainable fashion doesn’t just mean purchasing expensive boutique brands and blowing your monthly budget. Maintaining sustainability within fashion is more of a practice than a list of places to shop. Some tips to begin the process are:

  • Don’t buy what you don’t need. It sounds simple enough, but overconsumption is a huge issue in our society, so scaling down and buying things you’ll wear more than a handful of times is a huge step towards limiting consuming habits.
  • Value the clothes you already have by taking good care of them and wearing them more than a few times.
  • Participate in the idea of a circular economy where you repurpose old clothes into new looks – get creative!
  • Instead of buying cheaply made clothing, spend a little more on durable, good quality items that will last
  • Shop second hand and participate in clothing swaps with friends

WC: On your site, you emphasize the importance of self-care and believe one’s willingness to nourish themselves (physically, mentally, and spiritually) can be reflected in their greater relationship to the planet. Could you please elaborate on this?

I truly believe that everything is connected, and that the relationship we have with our inner self reflects outwards into the world. If we are dissatisfied with ourselves or running on empty, it’s difficult to find the space to care about the planet and to fulfill our duty as visitors on earth. Nourishing ourselves is self-care in its entirety. The idea of “you can’t pour from an empty cup” applies here, as taking care of ourselves is number one. Once we have established a healthy and balanced relationship with our being, we can then hold space for doing better in all areas of our life.

WC: What are some organizations and/or people that have influenced you the most when it comes to living a more conscious life?

Instagram has been a great source of inspiration for me! I’m constantly finding new brands or bloggers who are dedicated to doing better by the earth, and it’s great to see how, globally, mindsets are beginning to shift. Some of the accounts that have impacted me are: The Good Trade, Recess City, Fashion Revolution and Eco Warrior Princess.

I also find that simple conversations with people – friends, family, strangers in cafes – are all ways in which I gather information and can be inspired.

WC: What’s in store for the future of Forage and Sustain?

Sometimes I get ahead of myself and want to act on ALL the ideas I have (and there are many!). For now, I’m planning on launching either a podcast or a YouTube channel, as I’d like to connect with a larger audience in a more meaningful and accessible way.

Check out Arti’s online publication at www.forageandsustain.com for more education and resources related to conscious consuming and slow living.