New York: "Live Organic from Farm to Home"
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America's Organic Trade Association has just published an article on a show in New York that went beyond organic food. Organic is no longer just for eating, and more than a dozen cutting-edge and innovative organic fashion and home textile brands helped to prove that point in an inspiring, educational and entertaining two-day pop-up event. Presented by OTA and OTA's Fiber Council, the specially designed pop-up venue showcased the expanding choice of organic products for everyday living.
Living an organic lifestyle
Today's consumer is adopting an organic lifestyle embracing not only food - organic food is now found in over 80 percent of American kitchens – but also fashion and the home. The American organic textile market is now a billion-dollar-plus market, posting double-digit growth in recent years. Organic fiber is in high demand. Consumers are increasingly looking for clean products without toxins, unnecessary ingredients, and which are produced in ways that do not harm the environment.
The all-organic pop-up shop featured a wide variety of clothing made from organic cotton, ranging from T-shirts, baby clothes, organic wool sweaters and socks, organic sheets and blankets to organic mattresses. The show illustrated the connection between an organic T-shirt or sweater and the organic cotton or sheep farmer or an organic fabric dyeing factory and the impact on our water and soil.
While the pop-up focused on what we wear, you could also see the connection between organic cotton production and healthy organic food. Two-thirds of the harvested organic cotton crop is used in food and cattle feed. Organic cotton seed has been found to be a source of high nutrition, protein and energy in organic animal feed , and to boost milk production and butterfat in dairy cows. Cotton seed oil is one of the most widely used cooking oils, and organic cotton seed oil offers consumers the huge benefits of being produced from crops grown without pesticides and chemicals.
Representatives of the companies showcasing their products talked about their aims and ideals as organic producers. As the Sustainability Director for the outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland, pointed out, conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides and requires significantly more water than organically grown cotton. In fact, according to the US Department of Agriculture, in 2014 over 38 million pounds of pesticides were used on conventional cotton, making it third in pesticide use after corn and soya beans.
Jimmy Wedel, an organic cotton farmer from the Texas, is a third generation farmer who farms over 4,000 areas, almost all certified organic, explained how he has worked to educate the consumer in the importance of US grown organic cotton: you care about what you put into your body; you should care about what you put on your body as well.
At the show they were all talking about such typical organic themes as responsible sourcing, socially conscious practices, sustainability, the GOTS standard, traceability, chemical-free production and processing and reducing the environmental impact.
A healthier world for all
OTA felt it was achieving its goal of educating the consumer and promoting the organic fiber sector. "OTA and the Organic Fiber Council are thrilled to be telling the story of organic fiber and textiles, and to be showing the public in such a fun and engaging way why it truly makes a difference when you choose organic in every part of your life. And we're honored to be working with these industry pioneers – they're creating a healthier world for all of us," said Gwendolyn Wyard, Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for OTA and staff coordinator for the Organic Fiber Council.
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