Our new organic, Fairtrade clothing is a brilliant addition to our ethical range and we wanted to tell you more about it’s story.
Cotton is grown in hot countries such as India and China and is susceptible to a wide range of insect pests, these are usually controlled with a range of chemical pesticides.
Our organic cotton clothing has a whole new approach to this problem. The farmers spray the cotton with a sugar water solution which attracts the ants. Ants love to eat the sugar on the cotton plants and so they defend it from pest attacks. Happy ants, pest free cotton.
The Fairtrade organic clothing we sell is made in India and the cotton is grown there, it is picked by hand so using natural pesticides means that the farmers and pickers are also healthy.
We recently embroidered some of our Fairtrade Organic aprons for a local bakery in Olney called Amazing-Grains. Knowing that Olney was the home of the hymn Amazing Grace we were interested to know more about the bakery and its name.
Gareth the owner was made redundant after a 30 year career in IT, he realised that his heart no longer belonged in the corporate world.
Over the years, extensive travel had opened his eyes to the fact that most other countries held bread in high esteem unlike the industrialised products passed on as bread for the lowest possible price in the UK. So after dabbling in food distribution, Gareth decided to address this issue by learning to bake “real bread”, using good quality ingredients, and an honest approach. Sales began with friends, then from the local pub, to deliveries 5 days a week, all produced from a 30 Sq ft kitchen in a tiny 2 bed cottage in Emberton, just outside Olney in North Buckinghamshire.
Now baking 4 days a week from a converted workshop in East St in Olney, Amazing-Grains produces around 300 loaves a week, using only natural ingredients, time and no processing aids, to produce breads with a flavour, second to none.
The name of the bakery was based on the hymn Amazing Grace written by the curate of Olney, John Newton and published in 1779. It is one of the most recognisable songs in the English-speaking world.
We love supplying aprons to local businesses and particularly to one that has such an interesting story. You can find about more about Amazing Grains HERE
Fairtrade fortnight is run for two weeks each year when campaigners,
businesses, schools and groups show their support for the farmers and workers
who grow our food, crops and manufacture our clothes in developing countries,
people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world and who are often
exploited and badly paid.
I thought you might like to know about the people who plant, care for and harvest the cotton which we use in our Cotton Roots clothing. After all that’s what Fairtrade is all about – having a connection and supporting people at the start of the cotton chain – the farmers.
The reasons I love Fairtrade and consider it the “Gold Ribband” of ethical certification is because I know where every step of the manufacturing chain takes place. Including the cotton farmers, the weavers, knitting mill, dyers and manufacturer of the actual garments.
The cotton for our range of Fairtrade and Organic Polo Shirts, T Shirts, Hoodies, and Tea Towels is all grown in the Indian state of Odisha by Pratima Organic Growing Group.
We work closely with Sreeranga (Ranga), who is on the centre left picture above. Ranga often spends time with the cotton farmers and is vital to create the link between you, our supporters and customers, our team at Cotton Roots and the cotton farmers.
The cotton farmers have a Facebook page and I thought it would be a great idea to let our customers know about it. Maybe you can contact them and thank them for their top quality cotton? Or post some photographs showing the clothes you have which has been made with their cotton? This is the Pratima Facebook page.
Go on make the connection to the people who grew the cotton for you and who you try to support through Fairtrade.
It has been quite difficult – but finally we have our new stock on the way. Just a few more weeks.
Yes in October the result of lots of hard work is paying off. Our hoodies will not only be Fairtrade certified but they will also be made with certified organic cotton. We have designed the hoodies so that they will be particularly suitable for students and university student uniongroups in particular. We have found htem to be one of our top customers and particularly committed to Fairtrade clothing.
We will have available black, navy blue, red and royal blue. These will match our range of polo shirts and t shirts. I am excited by the quality. It is my passion that Fairtrade garments must be very good quality. I wanted them to better than the average hoodie available, still be a good price and most importantly that we can supply the same garment reliably over and over again. I think we have achieved this so once again it is exciting times at Cotton Roots. You can take a look at them here fairtrade, organic hoodies
Sauce Consultancy are environmental communications experts. They help their clients get their environmental message across. Whenever we supply garments to them they always give us great designs to work with which reflects their expertise.
They chose organic polo shirts for their staff which we supplied printed with their design. Each bottle in the design matches one on their website, and each relates to an area of expertise.
I have recently spent a Saturday on a “keeping bees” workshop. It was riveting. I loved it. Sue Bird ran the workshop and as she has fifty bee hives she certainly knew her stuff. But it was obviously more than a business for her and she loved her bees. I came away loving them too and full of admiration for them.
Did you know that the worker bees are all female. That the queen bee makes one mating flight in her life and that the drones all think yipidy do da and race after her, elbows sharpened, in full buzz, to try and be “the one?” When the hive gets too full the old queen if slimmed down again (by feeding her less) so that she can fly again. She will then leave the hive taking a swarm with her and leaving a young queen in her place.
I wish Sue had a website I could point you in the direction of – her workshops are so worth going to.
Anyway back to business. Just at that moment Neal’s Yard Remedies came along and asked us to supply organic yellow t shirts. Printed with their “Bee Lovely to Bees” design. You see they have a campaign to help the endangered honey bee and have an online petition which you can sign here. They want to promote banning particular pesticides which directly impact Bees. SIGN UP!
Jenny worked hard on this order and the final result was certainly very effective. It was great that Cotton Roots organic t shirts were selected for this promotional campaign. We are proud to have supplied Organic and Fairtrade garments to another outstanding company. I was especially rewarding that it was right at the time I was learning all about keeping bees.
I have a skip in my step. Simple things make such a difference. Finding new ways of doing things here which improve the way we work. A delivery which excites us. A new customer with a wonderful design. Ah happy days.
We had a delivery recently – directly from India full of our top quality aprons made with Fairtrade certified cotton. These are loved by the artisan manufacturer for example making speciality breads, sweets, pies.
eing They boxes always arrive literally “stitched” up. Take a look at the photograph. There is no chance of these boxes being tampered with. It’s sort of wonderfully “not mass produced” , so effective and looks very interesting.
I am always childishly pleased when I look at them and open them. Ahhhh the joys of changing our company into an ethical specialist.
Good news again! We seem to be going through a purple patch of good news. YeHa!
We have been in touch with the Soil Association and we think we can be the first “UK t shirt embroiderers to be certified as organic. Whoopee. Helen is on the case and looking into the auditing we would need to do. I have to say that the Soil Association has been so helpful and positive. We already have so many things in place I am hopeful so watch this space as we work towards the certification.
I will update the blog as we progress through the certification, the ups and downs, and try and give tips based on our experience for anyone else inerested in gaining certification.
THANK YOU to those people not only kind enough to read this blog – but to also take the time to leave such positive comments. I am so thrilled. 🙂