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In The Field: Why Organic?

July 18, 2016

In The Field: Why Organic?

Why Organic?

What does organic mean?
According to the National Organic Standards board, “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on the minimal use of off farm inputs and on management practices that restore maintain and enhance ecological harmony."

Certified Organic is a title that is given to an item only when strict guidelines, made by The National Organic Standards Board, are met. Every step in the production of the item must meet the guidelines, from the soil where the item is grown to the processing facilities in which it is created.


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Organic cotton vs Conventional cotton
Cotton is one of the biggest crops grown for use in clothing production. Very few if any safety measures are taken to protect the workers from these toxins. Did you know that certain pesticides were first developed and used in World War Two as biological weapons?

Cotton crops alone account for $2.6 billion in pesticides used each year and the cotton crop fits the definition of a chemically dependent agriculture. Even though cotton only uses 2.4% of all cultivated land, 25% of the world’s pesticides and 10% of the world’s insecticides are used on it yearly. In other words, for every one pair of jeans and t-shirt produced, 1 pound of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used. The problems with clothing production do not stop in the field. During the conversion of conventional cotton into clothing, numerous toxic chemicals are added at each stage – harsh petroleum scours, softeners, brighteners, heavy metals, flame and soil retardants, ammonia and formaldehyde – to name just a few.


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The journey of organic cotton starts with securing untreated, natural (non-GMO) seeds. These seeds are often hard to come by and this can be a real issue for farmers. Once seed is secured, the land needs to be prepared and the seed sown. It takes approximately 60 to 70 days from planting until the first flower appears, and bolls appear 50 to 70 days after bloom. The growth cycle of the cotton plant lasts for approximately 5-6 months. During this time, soil fertility, water, pests and weeds need to be managed. 45 days after bolls appear, the cotton boll will begin to naturally split open along the bolls’ segments. Once the cotton boll is fully dried and fluffed, it is ready for harvesting.


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The general process of transforming seed cotton from the farm into the final garment includes ginning, spinning, weaving/knitting, dyeing, finishing, cutting and sewing. Organic certification ensures that the cotton passing through each stage of the manufacturing process is tracked.


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Organic wool
Organic wool comes from farms that put the sheep and the environment first. Organic sheep are reared, fed, sheltered and transported with consideration for their wellbeing. Cruel practices are prohibited and animal stress is minimised. Organic farmers take a preventative approach to disease, so animals are not routinely treated with antibiotics, wormers or pesticides. Organic animals are reared on organic feed and grazed on organic land, and are free to pursue their natural behaviour with plenty of space outside and a free range life.

Organic wool as opposed to conventional wool, pure wool goes right from the farm through the manufacturing process without exposure to any harsh chemicals.

Organic wool offers up several benefits:
Non-allergenic
Widely used by baby and kids with chemical sensitivities.

Mold and mildew resistant
Due to the wicking action, moisture is able to pass through the fibers. Mildews require held in moisture to grow.

Insulation
Fibres trap dry, warm air near the skin keeping us warm in the winter. When it's warmer, the breathable fibers pull heat and moisture away from the skin making us feel cooler.

Water repellent
Natural ability to repel liquids, rain and snow.

Durability
Fibers resist tearing and wool clothing will last for years.

Anti-static
Natural fibers don't collect static and dust or dirt can be easily brushed off the surface. Because of the lanolin, wool naturally stays cleaner than most fabrics.

Organic Cotton, Organic Wool and Your Baby

A baby’s skin is more porous and thinner than an adult’s skin. That means that their skin absorbs things very easily. It’s less resistant to bacteria and harmful substances in the environment, especially if it’s irritated. Babies also sweat less efficiently than the rest of us, so it’s harder for them to maintain their inner body temperature.

Think how much choosing organic baby clothing for your children cuts down on their exposure to toxins. Organic clothing uses cotton that is not farmed in the conventional ways. Pesticides are not used; rather, other safer methods are used to produce the crops, such as crop rotation, physical removal of weeds instead of use of herbicides, hand hoeing, using beneficial insects to counteract the bad and many more. Therefore, workers have better working conditions, water quality is not compromised by run-off, and strong healthy soil is built. The end product is a cotton fabric that is toxin free.

By banning and restricting harmful chemicals in organic textile production and processing, final products don’t contain allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemical residues from them. Tests on conventional clothing have revealed traces of pesticides, fire retardants, formaldehyde and toxic dyestuffs. These residues can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause allergies, skin rashes or respiratory problems.

Wool fibres are natural and have an affinity with human skin. Wool possesses qualities such as warmth retention, the ability to regulate humidity and it allows skin to breathe. Wool can absorb up to one third of its own weight of moisture and, if outside conditions allow, return it to the environment. Rocket Shop brand Disana and Engel uses wool that comes from Merino sheep, so the virgin wool is finely crimped, does not itch and feels soft and cosy. The Merino sheep are organically farmed and therefore live a healthy and stress-free life, and pesticides are banned from the pasture as well as the animals themselves.

Here at Rocket Shop we proudly and strongly recommend you dress your sensitive newborn in Organic Cotton and Organic Wool for at least the first 6 months of their life. This is why in Rocket Shop all our newborn clothing is Organic.

Why spend your money on Organic clothing?
Organic clothing also has other perks besides being toxin free. It is safer, sturdier and it feels amazing inside and out! When you buy organic clothing you are investing in water conservation, cleaner air, better soil and farmer livelihoods. The price for organic is therefore sometimes, but not always, higher.

Organic clothing may be more expensive when you first buy it, but when compared to the cheaper cotton product it gives you your money’s worth. Conventionally produced cotton material lasts 10-20 washes before it starts to break down. An organic cotton material lasts for 100 washes or more before it begins to wear down. This is because the cotton fibers in conventionally produced cotton take so much abuse in production because it goes through scouring, bleaching, dying, softeners, formaldehyde spray, and flame and soil retardants before it is even shipped to be cut for patterns.

Organic wool clothing can be wear all year round keeping children warm in the winter and cool and comfortable in the summer. wool fibers resist tearing will last and looking gorgeous for years.

It saves you money in the end!

Caring for the world and the people we share it with is a life choice. Choosing organic cotton is part of this choice. In 2014, 26 million metric tonnes of cotton was produced globally, much of it for the apparel industry. Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of this. By choosing organic over conventional cotton you have the purchasing power to influence brands, manufacturers and even farmers. So let’s change this number.

How organic works in the field?

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Growing organic cotton keeps farmers and their families safe. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. It also means farmers grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.

Organic cotton is 80% rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources. The absence of chemicals also means that water is cleaner and safer. In organic farming, there are no chemicals and therefore a significantly reduced risk of contamination of the local water supply.

Shop all Newborn Organics here
Shop Organic Cotton here
Shop Organic Wool here

Images from www.aboutorganiccotton.org.



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