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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!