Farm-to-Closet Initiative - Season Two

Farm-to-Closet Initiative - Season Two
Over the past six months, our partner, Oshadi Collective, has cultivated, nurtured, and harvested 20 more acres of regenerative cotton. We were lucky to be able to safely have the farmers continue working during the pandemic and grow another fallow plot of land into a biodiverse ecosystem.

The Seven Tendencies Towards Regeneration

Robert Rodale, one of the biggest champions of regenerative agriculture, created the seven tendencies towards regeneration. For him, regeneration is more than just agricultural practices, it is applied to your community and self as well. We totally agree and are inspired by these principles on both the farm and in our day-to-day lives. These principles are taken from the Rodale Institute, found here.

The Seven Tendencies Towards Regeneration

1. Pluralism

Land:
Increase in diversity of plant species

Community:
Increase in diversity of business, people, and culture

Self:
Increase in diversity of personal experiences, capacities, opportunities and openness to new experiences

2. Protection

Land:
More surface cover of plants, ending erosion and increasing beneficial microbial populations near the surface

Community:
More resistance to economic and cultural fluctuations because of quantity and variety of businesses and people, which increases overall employment and community stability

Self:
Improvement of personal hardiness and an ability to withstand crisis, accompanied by a boost in the body’s immune system

3. Purity

Land:
Without chemical fertilizer and pesticide use, a greater mass of plants and other life exists in the soil

Community:
Without pollution of the environment, more people can exist in better health

Self:
By ending detrimental habits such as smoking or thinking negatively, the potential for growth, happiness, and success increases

4. Permanence

Land:
More perennials and other plants with vigorous root systems begin to grow

Community:
As businesses and individuals become successful and stable, they can contribute more to the community

Self:
New, more positive, personal spiritual behaviors take root and provide a deeper meaning to life

5. Peace

Land:
Past patterns of weed and pest interference with growing systems are disrupted

Community:
Former patterns of violence and crime are reduced, improving overall security and well-being

Self:
Negative emotions such as anger, fear, and hate lessen in intensity and are replaced by tolerance, compassion, and understanding

6. Potential

Land:
Nutrients tend to either move upward in the soil profile or to accumulate near the surface, thereby becoming more available for use by plants

Community:
“Trickle up” economics – more resources and money accumulate and are more available to more people

Self:
The positive qualities and resources in yourself and your environment become easier to access and effect more people around you

7. Progress

Land:
Overall soil structure improves, increasing water retention capacity

Community:
Overall community life improves, increasing the health and wealth of its inhabitants

Self:
Capacity for well-being and enjoyment increases

The Farmer Community

The Farmer Community

The 20 acres is split up into 3 plots of land. Each plot has its own caretaker that manages the property and makes sure the farm is running smoothly. They work with our small team of farm managers to ensure they are implementing regenerative practices and their crop is on schedule. We also have an amazing group of people from the local community working with us when we need help. They distribute compost and manure, sow the cotton seeds, weed, and harvest the mature cotton bolls.

This Season on the Farm

Cotton may be the main focus of the farm, but there is so much more to it. Meet our entire ecosystem living in harmony on the farm:

The Soil: Our First Priority

Our belief is that if you focus on healthy soil, the rest will come. Healthy soil is potent medicine for Mother Earth: it has the potential to restore balance to the global carbon cycle, grow and foster an abundant diversity of life, and create a symbiotic network of resources.
Soil Organic Matter

Soil Organic Matter

Soil microorganisms break down carbon-rich plant matter and microbes to create the glue that holds together soil, soil organic matter (SOM). The more SOM, the better soil can retain water, cycle nutrients, withstand weather events, and keep carbon in the ground.

Energy Cycling

Healthy soil is amazing at fostering a cycle of birth, growth, death, and decay - then birth, again. If left to its own devices, nature is amazingly talented at repurposing all of the ecosystems’ byproducts to help the future beings grow in abundance.

Mycelial Network

Mycelial Network

In the soil lives a communication network amongst the plants: the mycelial network. Interconnected pathways of fungi go from one plant’s root system to the next. These pathways are crucial for plants to share nutrients and other resources amongst themselves.

Next steps

The cotton from these 20 acres and the first 4-acre pilot farm will make up our first Farm-to-Closet collection this spring. We made sure to grow long-staple cotton, which makes a perfect, lightweight fabric for all of our signature dresses. The next steps are working with spinners, weavers, natural dyers, and dressmakers to turn this cotton into a beautiful collection!

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