Buy handmade knitted accessories to help in Preserving Ifugao Ancestral Lands

Ifugao Women are known as the one of the most hard working women among all indigenous groups in the Philippines. In fact, women in Ifugao are the ones responsible in transplanting and harvesting rice in Cordillera Rice Terraces. But why are we seeing large number of un-utilized rice beds Ifugao?

Proudly Ifuao Made - photo by Lorri Wagner Talberg
Proudly Ifuao Made – photo by Lorri Wagner Talberg

Increasing expenses have lead a lot of the Ifugao Women to leave their ancestral lands in search of more lucrative work. They end up in the big cities, working some of the worst jobs, and making just enough money to live and send home a bit of extra cash to families they have left behind. When you buy from the Ricefield Collective, you’re helping people to stay with their families and their community on lands their ancestors have farmed for centuries.

Labor Day is Happy Knitting Day in Iguao
Labor Day is Happy Knitting Day in Ifugao

In an effort to help the Ifugao people, a group of US and European knitting teachers created the Ricefield Collective and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign. The Ifugao people still live on the lands that their ancestors carved into the hillsides about 2000 years ago, but it has been increasingly difficult for them to live on the rice and animals they tend. The Ricefield Collective organized the Ifugao who wanted to learn a skill which could earn them the extra income they needed, and they taught them to knit.

Proudly Made in Igugao
Proudly Made in Ifugao

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Today you can purchase beautifully knit hats and cowls knit by the Ifugao members of the Ricefield Collective and help them to stay where they are. The website is www.ricefield.co. You can find out a lot more about the story of the Ricefield Collective on their site, and you’ll also see lovely pictures of the knitwear they sell. The pieces are modern in style. Slouchy beanies that would look good anywhere are complimented by matching cowls or neck warmers. They sell matching sets as well as single hats and cowls.

Buy one of these and help indigenous Ifugao women stay on their land
Buy one of these and help indigenous Ifugao women stay on their land

The prices are competitive, but not super cheap. If you look online for hand knit cowls and beanies, you’ll find similar prices for similar quality items. So for a normal price, you get a beautiful and warm winter cozy, plus you know that the producer is getting their share and able to live on the income.

Beyond the immediate needs of the knitters themselves, the Ricefield Collective has the goal of setting up a fund that will be saved for emergencies, like mudslides, which can set back the farmers significantly. And the hats are truly cool looking. For $36, you can get my favorite style which is called Upward. It’s a two-toned hat with a curving vertical stripe in four different color combinations.

Check it out and help these people to live sustainably and happily. Visit RiceFiled Collective Facebook Page.

*Photos from RiceFiled Collective Facebook Page:)

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