I grew up in a politicized household. I learnt early about environmentalism, organic food, socialism and liberalism. I went on rallies for Friends of the Earth, CND, Action Aid and campaigned for the Labour Party. I started becoming aware of injustice in society and wanted to make a difference wherever I could. I thought this was how all kids grew up. Its not as I learnt painfully in school.
By the time I left school I was depressed, suffering from social anxiety and struggling to fit in. I was also highly sensitive which meant that I felt everything acutely. I tried college but was overwhelmed by it. I didn’t have the confidence to succeed at job interviews. My parents had split up and I didn’t have the support I needed. I didn’t know how to ask for support. I didn’t know what support I needed. I was at rock bottom.
Two things happened. Firstly, I found Organic Roundabout, a worker’s cooperative, an organic fruit and veg box scheme. Roundabout reconnected me to my politicised roots and added new elements including vegan/vegetarianism, animal rights and cooperative working. I attended an open day, not an interview, and joined the cooperative instead of being appointed. This was the opportunity I needed to get a step on the ladder.
Roundabout led to becoming a founding member of Sage Wholefoods, a worker’s cooperative, operating a health food shop of the same name in the Moseley area of Birmingham, UK. At Sage I developed an interest in alternative health and discovered homeopathy as a therapy that made a big difference in my life.
Secondly and simultaneously I became spiritually aware. I found a support network in spirit that was absent in my world. I read books, went on retreat, studied spiritual principles and ideas, and eventually developed my own personal spirituality based on my experiences of communicating with spirit.
I was at Sage for nine years. By 2006 I was the only original member left. The co-op had appointed new members, as equals on the same wage. It was clear that equality of opportunity and working conditions couldn’t make up for a lack of equality of experience. Missing out on starting the co-op on low wages, low takings and learning the self-discipline needed to be effective in a non-hierarchical workplace was a loss to the co-op. It created conflict and over-reliance on me.
Despite struggling with this I had no intention of leaving until one day I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders sitting in a meeting. Within the week I was off sick with work related stress. I chose to walk away.
I left my work which was my passion, but I also had to give up the lovely flat above the shop that I lived in. I was heartbroken. I knew that if I ran my own business it wasn’t going to be a co-op. Sage closed eighteen months after I left, and I had the chance to start again.
When I set about starting a new wholefood shop in Moseley, I wanted it to reflect everything important to me.
I wanted a wholefood shop that not only sold organic food, to make a difference for the environment and for health;
fair trade food, to make a difference for the farmers and farm workers and their families in developing parts of the world;
special diet food, to make a difference for people who needed gluten free food or no added sugar food;
vegetarian and vegan food to make a difference for those who chose to abstain from eating meat and/or dairy products to make a difference to their health, the environment and the lives of the animals we share this planet with;
body-care products free of toxic chemicals and not tested on animals to make a difference to our health and contributing to building a humane society that does not need to test its cosmetics or medicines on animals;
household cleaning products that make a difference to our environment by not poisoning it;
nutritional supplements and alternative remedies that make a difference for people who choose to take their health into their own hands and no longer have confidence in a conventional healthcare system set up for profit and shareholder dividends,
but also to make a difference for my employees by providing meaningful and fulfilling employment for people who value the difference we make in a workplace that values its employees and their contribution;
to make a difference to Moseley by occupying a shop unit with a bespoke, independent shop to draw people in from all over the region
to make a difference to me, to live a life I could not have hoped to live when I left school.
I named the shop Indigo Wholefoods. A reference to indigo children and the bluey-purple colour that appears in their aura and can be seen with kirlian photography. Indigo children are intensely sensitive beings, capable of great creative endeavour, but susceptible, due to their sensitivity, to conditions such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, Asbergers Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia amongst other conditions. Indigo children are very sensitive to chemicals, food additives and preservatives and many parents of Indigo’s have found that an organic diet makes a difference for them. My spirit guides tell me that I am Indigo.
“A lot of growing up is about learning to hide how you are feeling so you can protect yourself, and then a lot about being really grown up is unpicking all those defensive measures and working out who you actually want to be.” Says Cathy Rentzenbrink, in her book, A Manual for heartache.
As I look back over my life, seeing how it all led to Indigo, discovering the root cause of the ethics and principles I hold was a deep and pervading sense of injustice. I realised that having opened Indigo, I hid behind it and allowed it to speak for me.
A business built on ethics and principles that does not promote and provide education on those ethics and principles is merely selling product for profit. Making money does not get me up in the morning. It’s a chore. Making a difference gets me up in the morning. Indigo must make money. Without it Indigo would not exist and that would be a tragedy. But Indigo makes money because it makes a difference and the money it makes can drive more difference making.
The Indigo Foundation is the product of this realisation. A vehicle to deliver education, personal and spiritual development, campaigning, lobbying, healing and empowering each individual personal experience.
I intend The Indigo Foundation to be a global education space to explore the ethics and principles I have discussed in the Indigo Origin Story. Indigo Wholefoods and The Indigo Foundation will work hand in hand. They will not be separate entities, but two faces of the same entity. Working together to deliver the difference I always wanted to make.