“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.”
Our cooperative business model is based on autonomy of the self. We believe we can make a healthy income while living in the village by using our creativity, our minds, and our hands.
In our village, and in most of Nepal, many young men and parents leave the village to make an income from wage labor jobs either in Kathmandu or abroad (Dubai, Qatar, Malaysia, Bahrain, etc). In most cases, leaving the village means workers do not see their families or their homes for years at a time. Our cooperative works with many different projects with the intention of providing economic opportunities for the people in Patiswara who would rather stay.
Our village, and Nepal in general, is dripping with natural resources. Not by the modern definition (ie. fossil fuels) but in a “livelihood” sense. Mountain micro-climates provide niches for growing many types of crops from temperate to sub-tropical, we have clean mountain water, endless species of medicinal herbs and plants, forest resources, and the accumulated knowledge of generations passed down that teach us everything from how to build houses by hand, to weaving mats, to caring for sick livestock, to how to honor the dead. There is abundance in the village, and we enjoy creating projects to involve those who love the village lifestyle but feel they aren’t meeting their economic needs.
The cooperative started a business in Fall 2015 steam-distill mugwort, or Artemisia indica (titepati in Nepali). It grows wild all over the village and has many medicinal uses, especially in joint and muscle pain/swelling. The mugwort is cut in the jungle, carried to a very basic steam-distilling unit in Reep Gaira, where it is heated by firewood and steamed with our spring’s water. It has a strong sagey, therapuetic smell, also used in aromatherapy. We use the extracted mugwort essential oil and the mugwort distillate (water) for various products.
Artemisia balm – A mixture of pure steam-distilled mugwort oil and chyuri tree nut butter. Chyuri (Diplokenma butyracea) trees are endemic to the foothills of Nepal. We take the tree nuts to a nearby Chepang village, who crush and process the nuts to make “tree fat” using traditional methods. This nut oil is extremely effective against joint pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle pain/swelling. Mixed with the mugwort essential oil, it’s a double anti-swelling, healing effect. This balm is highly medicinal (think tiger balm on steroids), and tried and tested by the village women in our area who are constantly complaining of aching knees and backs because of all the work in the fields they do. It works.
Artemisia massage oil – Distilled mugwort oil (roughly 10%) and niger seed oil as a carrier oil. Niger seed (Guizotia abyssinica, madishe in Nepali) is a cold-pressed, edible oil, can be compared with extra virgin olive oil. Perfect for general massages with a great therapeutic smell, and for aches and pains.
Artemisia tonic (water) – This is the hydrosol produced from steam-distilling mugwort (aka. the condensed mugwort steam). It’s a great treatment for any sort of skin issue, and you can also use it as a general skin tonic. We also drink the hydrosol, which helps us to detox and is great for stomach issues like parasites, and for regulating female cycles. We package it in sterilized vodka bottles we collect in the village.
Homemade soaps – We make homemade soap out of coconut oil, orange peel, artemisia tonic, and either lye or wood ash processed for the base. Because it’s a “super-fatted” soap, you don’t have to use lotion after washing, it’s very gentle, and can also be used as a shampoo. We use this soap for everything!
Gorkha is Nepal’s Orange Country. We have an ideal climate for citrus and most families have at least a few orange trees, and there are many successful orange farmers in our area. Our priority is organic oranges. Right now we are buying most of them from Bikash and Rojan, but soon Maki’s 300 orange trees will be fruiting as well. There are two main varieties: suntala (your traditional “orange”), and keep (mandarin). They are crazy delicious.
Once a year we sell oranges bonanza, usually in December at Sotai clinic in Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu. We sell organic oranges in bulk, homemade orange marmalade, homemade orange peel soap, village bottled orange juice, vegetables, herbal teas, artemisia products, and anything else the cooperative has been involved in. Hope you’ll visit us this coming December!
We are currently constructing 4 large mushroom houses (hoop house) and cutting logs for us to cultivate shiitake mushrooms in the long run (it will take about 2 years for them to start producing to their full potential), and oyster mushrooms on straw in the meantime. We will be selling these mushrooms, most likely in nearby villages, Gorkha Bazaar, and potentially Kathmandu.
Patiswara Village is also perfect coffee-growing climate (yes, we know, this place is amazing). There are a good number of trees in the village that were planted about 20 years ago from a NGO project that faded out. They are Arabica trees, the villagers take the beans out of the berries, then we buy the beans, take the second shell off, and roast it ourselves at the house. We’re thinking about getting into this a little bit more….perhaps planting more coffee trees and trying to buy coffee from the village in bigger quantities. If coffee sparks your interest, and you want to be a part of this, let us know!
How to buy the Cooperative’s Goodies:
If you are in Nepal, find our products at Yellow House Sunday market in Jhamsikhel, Le Sherpa Farmer’s market in Maharajgunj (the wheatgrass shot stand, the Crystal Earth Community stand, and the kimchi stand), Sotai Clinic in Jhamsikhel, and Earthy Naturewear in Pokhara. Fill out the contact form below if you want to order anything in bulk, or begin selling at a new location.
We’re always open to new ideas, and to collaboration! Contact us with any suggestions; we’d love to hear them!