In December of 2018, the Cornelia Walker Bailey Program entered a partnership with the International Center for Indigo Culture (ICIC) and the State Botanical Garden at the University of Georgia to reintroduce indigo on Sapelo. The seeds, initially recovered from Ossabaw Island, were initially planted during May of 2019 on SICARS’ largest farm lot (Lot 1.)  Not knowing what to expect out of this first attempt, we were pleasantly surprised this October to see a large patch of leafy green plants emerging from the ground in which the seeds were planted.  After harvesting them, seeds were separated and set aside for replanting during our next growing season. Because an increased amount of seed was produced, we hope to yield even more indigo moving forward.
Indigo leaves can be applied in various ways but are most commonly used to produce natural indigo dye, which involves a multi-step process to derive the bluish-purple color used to dye clothing such as denim. With the success of this year’s yield, we look forward to the possibilities the reintroduction of indigo has to offer Sapelo Island.  Stay tuned to see where our indigo story goes next.

Indigo on Sapelo Island. Photo by Rinne Allen

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