F.A.V.E (Fruits And Vegetables, Etc.) Bags was born in 2009 when 3 graduate students at Arizona State University collaborated on a real-life thesis project to help provide women in rural El Salvador with a family-friendly means to earn an income. Their idea for reusable produce bags was an innovative one that earned them several awards in the areas of sustainability and social responsibility.
FAVE Bags is still owned and run by one of its original creators, Christen Forrester DeGroot, a graphic designer and social justice warrior, military wife and stay-at-home mom of 4. Giving women in impoverished communities an opportunity to earn an income while still caring for the needs of their families is a cause close to her heart.
In 2019, Christen partnered with close friends who work with at-risk women in the small Indonesian village, where she had lived and volunteered after college. Many of these women have been rescued from human trafficking situations and their organization (duckswithoutborders.com) works alongside them to provide the support they need to improve their lives and stay safe from their captors.
In the impoverished areas where FAVE Bags has production workshops, most of the women have very few employment options and are usually forced to go to work in factories, where conditions are harsh, pay is low and work days are extremely long. Many have to travel long distances to get to work. Mothers are not present in the home and this often leads to the breakdown of the family unit.
Our hope is that FAVE Bag sales will continue to grow to the point where these women are able to leave their factory jobs and sew from home or our village workshop, which provides an on-site children's room, with flexible hours and the ability to care for the needs of their families as well as pursue their dreams.