I came across Arti Jalan’s online journal ‘Forage & Sustain’ on instagram and instantly fell in love. That might sound a bit extreme, but it’s true. Her aesthetic is perfect so I was immediately attracted to all her visuals and very quickly realized that her mission and ethics were 100% aligned with my own. Forage & Sustain helps you live your best sustainable life by sharing valuable environmental news and insights, tips and tricks for living a minimal/zero-waste lifestyle, and great product suggestions for more conscious consumption.
What inspired you to start Forage & Sustain? How did it come to be?
Forage and Sustain was born out of a desire I didn’t even realize I possessed at first! I would just go on Pinterest and Instagram and feel a really strong pull towards certain types of imagery, and I recognized eventually that they all had something in common – slow living. Once I was able to identify that, I paired it with my personal desire to do better by the earth. Pollution and waste have always bothered me, and I’ve tried to live as minimally as possible, without even realizing it or knowing it was a trend. Skincare was also a big one for me, as natural skincare and healthcare are two areas which I really felt strongly about. I was aiming to be as natural as possible when it came to the things I was putting in and on my body, and from that I think it led to becoming a conscious being. As I learned more, the more I unraveled. About a year ago I decided to take these passions and turn them into a platform where other people could learn from as well!
Have you always been environmentally conscious? Did a particular event/experience trigger your awareness?
I wouldn’t say that! I have been a lifelong vegetarian, but I was definitely pretty ignorant to the environment until my mid-twenties! It’s not that I didn’t care, but more so I wasn’t really aware of how my daily actions (using plastic straws or cutlery, or buying fast fashion) affected the earth or marginalized people. I think the launch of my paper shop (yes, I have a boutique paperie as well called Owl and Oak!) is where I began to care about my personal contribution to the world. I didn’t want to create a paper line that wasn’t environmentally conscious, as there is already so much waste in the world. I decided that all the paper had to be FSC Certified, and the packaging from biodegradable plant-based plastic. From there, my interest in the earth and its protection grew.
What do you love most about running an online platform?
While it’s still in its infancy, my favourite thing has been the connections I’ve made! I love being able to hop on Instagram or read emails from people all over the world who are resonating with my mission, and who are doing something similar. It’s so amazing creating a global community of like-minded individuals, and having it online means I get to connect with people from all corners of the planet!
How do you create/curate your content?
I usually just think about the things that I find interesting, and gauge whether other people are interested in it as well. Sometimes I’ll do polls on social media to see what people are feeling, or if there is a topic that’s trending, I’ll do some research on that. The biggest thing has been scaling down! There is SO much to talk about that I could write for weeks! I also think about what people might be struggling with, and how I can make their transition to living consciously easier. My thing has always been to help people live a sustainable life without compromising on style or comfort, so if there is something that I’ve learned that I can share that will help others in a manageable way, then I’m all for it! I think one of the biggest things that hinders people from living sustainably is the time it takes to do research on say skincare labels, or ethical brands. If I can step in and help clear that grey area, then I’ll create the content!
What is the number one part of your self-care regime?
Being a freelancer and entrepreneur means I’m fortunate to have more time in my day for self-care and slow, intentional living. While I definitely always make my bed (I believe that a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind), I think my number one is taking my time. When I used to work a 9-5, one of the things I hated the most was having to wake up at a set time every day, rush into the shower and out the door to work. When it comes to self-care, I’ve realized I need to allow myself to rest as much as my body needs, have a warm glass of water with lemon in the morning, and give myself time to journal and write out my gratitude list. This little routine starts my day off right, and I feel calm and purposeful, rather than frazzled and rushed.
What are some misconceptions you feel exist about self care?
I think that there is this idea that self-care is a long, drawn out process of candles and flower baths and hours of yoga and meditation. That’s all really great, and definitely a way to treat yourself, however, self-care can really just be asking yourself what serves you in a particular situation, and listening to the voice in your head or your gut instinct telling you that you need a break or to skip the party and stay in. I also think there’s an idea that self-care is a once a week appointment with yourself and a mud mask. While it can be that, I think it should be a continuous process of checking in with your true self and living your life in a way that serves the most authentic part of you.
What products are you loving right now?
I’m LOVING my Well Kept razor hehe. In regards to other products though, I’m really loving Sahajan’s essential oil cleanser. It’s so great that I actually look forward to cleansing my face at night! It’s unreal how easily it takes off my waterproof mascara and how great it makes my skin feel. I also really love Province Apothecary’s brow serum! I just have a sample but it smells great and works so well! And Luna Nectar’s Moon Boost lash enhancing serum – seriously a natural magical potion for lash growth!
Had you ever tried using a safety razor before well kept? if not, did you have any hesitations?
This was my first time ever using a safety razor! I’d been interested for a while, seeing as they’re plastic-free and meant to give a close and better shave. I was definitely intimidated to use it, as I’d heard they could really slice your skin. But even on the first try I realized how easy it was, and how great the shave was! When we think about slow living, the Well Kept experience is totally in cadence with that. I used my agave fiber exfoliator, the shave oil and then the razor, and it totally transformed my shaving experience! There really is something about doing things with intention – instead of hastily running a Venus razor over my legs, I took my time and felt so much more connected to a simple process, where I was fully present and not thinking about my running to do list. Thanks for providing an experience that gives a few moments of respite in a busy world!