Wake-up call. 3AM. Time to catch our flight to Ayacucho, a little, non-touristy village, located between Cusco & Lima, high up in the Peruvian Andes. This is where most of the LNKnits magic happens.
5th time here already for me! And along the years it has become somewhat of a tradition to pay a visit to the atelier of Manta, Solid International, before doing anything else. Even though we’re kind of ‘altitude stoned’ and extremely tired. This is the place where 200 from the in total 350 women who knit for LNKnits work, in humane and honest conditions.
Some of the knitters have been there from the very start, before anyone even heard of an alpaca, a ‘beanie’ or an oversized cardigan or scarf. It’s always extremely heartwarming to see them again.
Since my dear sister Anneleen wasn’t able to be here, I had to dance all by myself What made it even funnier was to dance to the tunes of Miss Camille herself, guided by a local Peruvian guitarist. Si señor!
Over the last 4 years, the quality of the pieces these women make, has gone from great to excellent. Props to them for their remarkable work! At the atelier in Ayacucho, the knitters not only get an honest income for the great work they deliver, they also benefit from day care right next to their workplace where they can leave their little kiddo’s in safe hands.
We danced, chatted, laughed, held speeches, went through the quality control of the new AW16/17 collection pieces and got a complete tour through the new atelier, office & day care.
After what turned out to be, once again, a very emotional visit, we took off to the local market to do groceries for our next typical Peruvian dish…. Quinoa con verduras!
Today we will travel even higher into the Peruvian Andes to visit the local Quinoa farmers. #LNFairfood will not only be a Peruvian inspired cookbook with easy & healthy recipes, it will also mark the launch of our #LNFairfood superfood label. Together with ‘Quito’, also part of Solid International, we will distribute 5 local Peruvian superfoods. Honest superfoods, evidently offering an honest income to the farmers as well.
As you probably guessed, one of the superfoods we will distribute is Quinoa. You most likely already all have tried (and hopefully loved!) this high protein ancient Andes grain, which is easy to work with and, most importantly, just is very yummy.
More about that tomorrow! I’m off for some cooking!
(© Joshua D’hondt Photography)