Organic is one of the fastest growing segments of America agriculture and consumer demand for organic products continues to rise. The vibrant U.S. organic sector is creating jobs and opportunities in communities across the nation. OTA's 2016 Infographic tells the story of Organic: a Bright Spot for our Farms, our Food, and our Future.
As consumers wake up to the national debate of GMO labeling, possible links of high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, and larger dead zones caused by chemical runoff, another movement is building in the sidelines: the effort to find and implement new, even revolutionary agronomy practices that can replace current unsustainable systems, and be scaled to meet growing demand for healthful foods, renewable textiles and biomass.
OTA and Textile Exchange (TE) have announced an important collaboration to strengthen the North American organic textile industry’s public policy influence and public relations efforts. The two groups have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together on legislative advocacy, public outreach and consumer education initiatives.
Fact: You can eat organic on a budget. Fact: Organic agriculture can help feed the planet. Fact: There are proven health benefits of organic. These are three of the more than 30 research-backed facts that OTA and partners digitally disseminated each day in September as part of its highly successful “Myth-Busting Month” social media festival.
Still a small portion of the organic fiber business in the United States, organic wool is starting to see some gains in the marketplace here. OTA member Jagger Brothers of Springvale, Maine, markets organic wool yarn certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) which it spins from organic wool imported from South America. The yarn is organically dyed at the GOTS certified Saco River Dyehouse, also in Maine, and brought back to Jagger Brothers for distribution. It is then marketed as The Green Line from Jagger Spun, a division of Jagger Brothers, as hanks for hand knitting and as one-pound cones for machine knitters and weavers.
Visionaries in the organic sector are investing in efforts to groom the next generation of organic researchers. Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters™ initiative to fund four fellowships totaling $500,000 for four Ph.D. students studying plant breeding in North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin is designed not only to improve seed for today’s organic farmers, but is seen as investing in leaders for the future.
As its name implies, OTA member Esperanza Threads brings hope through the gift of sewing. In 2000, returning to Cleveland, Ohio, after working in Native American missions in Montana, Sister Mary Eileen Boyle contemplated what she would choose for the next step in her life’s calling. An Ursuline Sister of Cleveland—an order whose mission is to transform lives through contemplation, justice, and compassion, she wanted to start something that would transform lives while respecting the earth and follow a holistic philosophy.
Located in a refurbished Verizon facility in Fairfax, VA, close to our country’s capital, OTA member company MetaWear has launched the first GOTS-certified ethical manufacturing and dye factory in the United States. This cutting-edge solar- and geothermal-powered manufacturing facility provides cutting, sewing, dyeing and screen-printing to produce certified organic cotton T-shirts.