Textile Exchange (formerly Organic Exchange) started life in 2002. The Farm Development Program (FDP) now the Farm Engagement Program commenced in 2006 with the generous funding and support of strategic partners ICCO (the Dutch development organisation). Textile Exchange works to improve the lives of cotton farmers by supporting the expansion of organic cotton production and markets by building a network of organic cotton farmers globally; supporting the growth of organic cotton production and facilitating the markets. Over the past 4-5 years Textile Exchange has worked to improve the production and the markets for organic cotton and through profiling organic cotton farmers they present a fully traceable value chain right back to the growers giving the organic cotton industry a ‘human face’ vital for tracking the economic and social development of the rural communities that grow it.
The Textile Exchange conferences are an excellent way to support farmers through ‘trade not aid’. For this years conference, to help pay for farmers to attend they have produced, for sale, their first ever fundraising t-shirt. They have produced it under their new campaign ‘Support a Farmer – Buy a T-shirt!’ and have now partnered with ethical clothing leaders Mantis World and Gossypium to produce its first limited edition T-shirt collection for men, women, and children. Prama Bhardwaj, Katie Powers and Matt Peters and the rest of the team at Mantis World supplied them with the luxurious, GOTS certified 100 percent organic T-shirt which was ethically produced by them in their award-winning Tanzania factory from locally grown Organic cotton, ensuring that the local economy gets the most value and they arranged the eco-printing too. The farmers of the bioRe cotton program in Tanzania grew the cotton and allowed Textile exchange to use photos of their farmers and children for their campaign.
Also Abi and Thomas Petit at Gossypium an independent, ethical clothing brand based in Lewes in the United Kingdom who designed the beautiful and original artwork. Textile Exchange Farm Engagement Director Liesl Truscott believes that “…the organic cotton T-shirt is a perfect way to connect our cause, raise awareness from field to street, and include consumers in directly supporting organic cotton agriculture.”All proceeds from your purchase of a tee will help provide funding costs for at least 10 small-scale farmers from Africa, India, and Latin America to attend the 2011 Textile Exchange Global Conference in Barcelona this September.
By financing farmers’ travel and accommodations to Barcelona, Textile Exchange enables farmers’ face-to-face participation in global networking and business-building opportunities. “We know coming to our conferences can take farmers to a completely new level of connection to market and business awareness. The largest global meeting of textile brands and retailers with an increasing number of manufacturers, the Textile Exchange annual conference provides a fantastic opportunity for people within the Industry to meet, get to know each other, and transact business, as well as learn about more sustainable textile products and processes. This opportunity to connect has resulted in many long-term business relationships. By making farmers a part of the stakeholder discussions and allowing them to see for themselves where their organic fibre ends up, future trade relations are improved and mutual understanding and respect is built between growers and retailers.
http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/about-us/our-achievements for image biore
“We support the expansion of organic cotton – a proven ecologically and socio-economically beneficial way to grow cotton – by providing opportunities for farmers to improve practices, build knowledge, and connect to the market.” Liesl Truscott, Farm Engagement Director.
The limited edition T-shirt comes in a men’s, women’s and kid’s version, with a special discount for students. View the T-shirts beautifully captured ‘in action’ in a small organic allotment in Bath, United Kingdom by photographer Calvin Talbot.
left: Liesl and her son Hugo, photographed by Calvin Talbot.
To purchase your Love. Organic Cotton. T-shirt now!
Keep an eye out for new developments with Textile Exchange. 2011 will see further focus on them supporting the integrity of organic, seed security, business development, consumer awareness and promoting responsible/sustainable value chains. Since the beginning of the year they have launched their Cotton Briefings report, their Good Business Guide and an Organic Cotton Classifications Guide. Plenty more to come into 2012. But for now support their Love. Organic Cotton. campaign
Take a look at their ‘Love. Organic Cotton’ campaign: http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/about-us/support-a/love and photo scrapbook: http://farmhub.textileexchange.org/about-us/support-a/love-organic-cotton-scrapbook to see the Tee in action.
To directly purchase your Love. Organic Cotton. T-shirt today visit:http://www.gossypium.co.uk/catalog/new-this-month-c-172/
Find out more about the TE Sustainable Textiles Conference in Barcelona Sept 18th-20th 2011