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Our story starts in Jalapao, Brazil

By Joana Higgens - April 8th, 2020 Posted in Article No comments

The golden grass handcraft is not only extrodinarily beautiful in and of itself (nature always finding a way to surprise us, ey?), it also comes from a truly enchanting land! The region known as Jalapao is part of the state of Tocantins in Brazil. For a bit of reference, Brazil is made up of 26 states and the Federal District. Tocantins is one of those states and a city named Palmas is it’s capital. This particular region (Jalapao) is a 195km drive from Palmas and it is composed of five conservation areas, including Jalapao’s National Park, and has 34 thousand square meters in total!

It is commonly referred to as a desert oasis, where you can find orange sand dunes which are 40 meters high, beautiful waterfalls, emerald coloured natural pools and breathtaking views. Bucket list goals!

It is said that, more than 100 years ago, the Xerente Indians were the ones to have started making items from golden grass. They then taught this craft to the Afro-Brazilian community who resided in Jalapao around the 1930s, who then passed on their knowledge the following decades. In the beginning, women would make items for their households and sporadic selling. It quickly became apparent, however, that the golden grass craft was appreciated by the wider community and now there are at least 16 community associations making artisanal products using golden grass.

The love for golden grass has never stopped growing and it has transformed the way these communities live, injecting prosperity and hope. Nothing comes without its challenges though. The battle now is against climate change and unlawful harvesting due to the increased interest in Jalapao’s unique golden grass plant.