Handmade Nature Bags are completely free from plastic, cotton, and any other man-made materials. In fact, these Earth-conscious tote bags are made entirely from natural jungle vines. They create zero emissions and never see the inside of a factory.
When you buy JungleVine® products, you directly support the Khmu artisans who hand-craft each piece.
The Khmu are the indigenous people of Northern Laos. Their rich culture dates back thousands of years. Some scholars believe it to be 5,000 years old, which would make it among the most enduring cultures in the world. Some Khmu continue to live at a subsistence level, farming and foraging for their basic needs — food, medicine and fiber for clothing and shelter. Many have no monetary income aside from their earnings from making JungleVine® products.
Their villages are extremely remote, and it has been only within the past decade that some of the original footpaths leading to many villages have been converted to rough dirt roads, so muddy and deeply rutted during the rainy season that they are impassable for vehicles. The Khmu themselves don’t own vehicles, but many dream of owning a motorbike that could transport them to a distant city if they needed to visit a doctor or hospital.
Traditionally, the Khmu used their handmade fiber bags to gather food from the fields and forests. The bags offered on this website have been crucial to their survival for thousands of years. To make the bags, they harvest stems from a fast-growing native vine,Pueraria phaseoloides. When harvesting the vine, the Khmu leave the crown in the ground so that the vine, a perennial, can regrow rapidly. Using a sharp blade, they split the stems and strip the fiber from the pulp. The waste pulp, or hurd, is fed to their chicken or goats, leaving nothing to waste. They hang the fine hair-like bast fibers to dry, and once dry, they hand-spin the fiber using no tools, just their hands and legs, and spool it onto a stick in preparation for making Nature Bags or other JungleVine® products. From vine to bag, it takes about two weeks to create a single piece.
Nature Bags are famous for their beauty, handcrafted quality, and the fact that they are not only carbon neutral but carbon negative. The availability of the Nature Bag worldwide is perfectly timed with the current urgency for sustainability in all lifestyles and combating global climate change. Nature Bags are wonder of durability and flexibility. More than that, though, they are the vehicle that can deliver the dreams of an impoverished people.