Power of a Purchase
When you buy hemp you’re doing more than adding a luxurious, linenlike item to your wardrobe – you’re also supporting sustainable agriculture. The hemp plant requires no artificial irrigation, is naturally inhospitable to pests, and thrives without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The plant’s deep taproots protect precious soil from erosion. And the tenacious yet supple hemp fibers are equally well suited to a low-impact, long-wearing life span. Patagonia’s hemp collection comes in two weights: a light Island weight and Hemp Roving, a heavier hemp denim.
As it happens, very little is pure or natural about cotton when it is raised conventionally. Conventional cotton crops in six California counties alone are dusted every year with 57 million pounds of chemicals. And research shows that extensive and intensive use of synthetic fertilizers, soil additives, defoliants and other substances wreak terrible havoc on soil, water, air and many, many living things.
There is, of course, an alternative. Growing cotton organically bolsters biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, improves the quality of soil and often uses less water. Growing organically takes more time, requires more knowledge and skill, and, for now, costs more. But it is worth it.
In 1996, Patagonia converted thier entire sportswear line to 100% organically grown cotton. The move didn’t compromise quality. Rather it improved the feel of the fabric and provoked a fundamental change in attitudes about agriculture.