If you’ve been following lately, you’ve most likely noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about hemp. You can read all about it’s history and story here in our previous blog post.We’ve been to Annapolis twice in the last few months in support of hemp farming in Maryland, most recently for the hearing of House Bill 902. Although it’s not looking like it’s going to make it through this year, we are hopeful that it’s only a matter of time before our legislators recognize the potential of this amazing plant and allow it to be grown in our state.
So why is Lady Farmer so focused on trying to grow hemp? What about all the other wonderful natural fibers like organic cotton, flax, and tencel that are, well….legal? Here’s a little overview of our journey so far with sourcing fabrics for our clothing.
In the beginning of this project, our intention was to create sustainable, earth-friendly clothing from American grown and produced fabrics. Given those parameters, we quickly discovered that our options were extremely limited. With the North American Fair Trade Agreement signed into law in 1994, domestic sourcing and manufacturing all but disappeared to foreign shores where cheap labor and lack of regulation resulted in the current fast-fashion scenario. Couple that with the fact that the options for healthy and environmentally responsible fabrics are limited anyway and you’ll get why we’ve been scratching our heads. With conventionally grown cotton, polyester, synthetic and antimicrobial blends, fleece, industrial fibers made from plastic bottles, a myriad of chemicals, toxic dyes, solvents, etc.– all OFF our list, we’ve had to look carefully at our choices.
Yet while the path to our production goals might be narrow, it is at least clear. We don’t have much choice in American grown sustainable fabrics at this time, so we do the best we can. So far we have been able to locate responsibly manufactured organic cotton, tencel, linen and hemp from reliable sources. However, much of it is grown in China, which brings us to where we are today.
Hemp is on the very precipice of coming back to the US, and when it does it will be a major step in the direction of a domestically grown and manufactured textile compatible with the highest of health and environmental standards. Furthermore, growing our very OWN hemp and overseeing the processing and manufacturing of the fabric gives us the opportunity for absolute transparency every step of the way.
Lady Farmer traveled to Loveland, Colorado last week for the NOCO Hemp Expo and learned so much about industrial hemp, clothing, food, nutrition and medicinals. What we also learned was that while the industry is growing quickly in all of those areas, there’s great opportunity and need for American farmers to grow hemp specifically for textile production. Well hello–that’s us!
So that’s our story so far, and that’s why you’ve seen us get increasingly excited about this whole new (old!) product that will soon be “coming home.” We hope you’ll follow as this story continues to unfold, as each state moves closer to allowing the return of this truly American resource. We’ve got a way to go but meanwhile, we’ll be learning as much as we can to get ready for the day that door opens once again–locating, gaining access and preparing land, researching seed varieties and sources, lining up equipment, helpers and processes to get us where we want to be– from seed to sewn to sold.
As always, thank you for your support and interest!