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and Toquilla Production
Located at the equator on the South American continent, Ecuador borders Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean. It also includes the Galapagos Islands. Though small in size, Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world -- a "hotspot" of global importance. Sadly, this diversity is threatened by deforestation from oil pipelines and poverty.
Toquilla is the fiber from which the famous "Panama Hats" were and are made. Though actually produced in Ecuador, these hats were first discovered by Western fashion during the building of the Panama Canal. The renewable fiber comes from a palm, bleached and hand-woven -- each a unique creation primarily woven by women. Your purchase helps bring economic opportunity to these artisans and their families through a fair trade economic model-- 1) artisans receive a living wage, benefits, 2) working conditions are clean and safe, and 3) environmental sustainability is the bottom line.