What Does “Organic” Mean?

We all know the word organic just feels better. But what does it really mean?

From the veggies in your fridge to the clothes in your closet, crops grown organically are grown with GMO-free seed and follow practices that maintain soil health, conserve water, and support biodiversity.

Take that apple you ate for lunch. Why is it organic? Because the entire farming system used to produce it avoided the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. We’re officially changing the old saying to go something like “an organic apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Just like food takes the whole farming system into account, the whole apparel supply chain plays a part in determining whether that T-shirt you’re wearing is organic. Let’s start with the Holy Grail of organic textiles: The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). For an item to be organic, it must follow GOTS’ specific list of criteria through every stage of its process – from production to processing to packaging. Here are some of the major criteria:

Organic farming cannot use any pesticides.

For comparison, conventional cotton uses 16% of the world’s pesticides. Pesticide exposure has been known to cause impaired memory, severe depression, and immune system disruption among cotton farmers. Pesticides further permeate the ecosystem, waterways and surrounding arable land. By committing to organic cotton, we’re supporting better farming practices and protecting farmers’ quality of life.

Organic growing practices also support soil and land health.

Healthy land retains more nutrients and can produce crops for more seasons than conventional land. And here’s some cool science for you: Some organic growing techniques improve the soil’s ability to sequester carbon, pulling it from the atmosphere. On organic farms, soil productivity is often preserved with cover crops instead of synthetic fertilizer, so farmers can sell these crops for additional income, making this whole process twice as awesome.

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Organic agriculture uses water more responsibly.

A conventional cotton T-shirt takes 713 gallons of water to grow (enough to sustain one person for almost three years). Organic cotton uses far less water, and a more sustainable kind of water called “green water.” Green water uses rain water instead of irrigation, while “blue water” is pumped in from from lakes, streams, glaciers, and snow. Cotton cannot be certified organic unless it uses a certain amount of green water versus blue.

Organic farming supports biodiversity.

Research shows that biodiversity is greater on organic farms than conventional farms. Visit an organic farm and you’ll see more plants, flowers, insects, and butterflies. Why the abundance? Because organic farms aren’t filled with those nasty pesticides killing off natural pollinators. Living creatures are more likely to survive and thrive (PS: we’re really into bugs. Here’s more on that).

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Organic farms are in it for the long haul.

Fields can’t be considered organic until they’ve committed to the GOTS process for at least three years. This ensures that the soil has enough time to flush all of the toxins that have accumulated. So even if you’re farming organically now, you can’t be certified after your first year – No cutting corners!

Our Verdict: Organic Cotton or bust.

Apparel production touches the lives of people at every phase of the supply chain. Our commitment to sustainable sourcing is designed to protect the planet and all people throughout the supply chain (and that includes you!). When you shop organic cotton clothing, you can feel good knowing that you support it, too. So next time you’re shopping for clothes, choose organic. Consider it the equivalent of going to the Farmer’s Market (for your closet).

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Feeling inspired?  Shop MEN’S ORGANIC COTTON and WOMEN’S ORGANIC COTTON

 

 

Hemp Yeah, Man

There has long been a common misconception about hemp. No, it is not (just) something your older brother used to smoke out behind the garage, nor is it only good for making rope. As it turns out, hemp is a wonder weed. Its sustainable, durable nature makes it a great material for clothing. When made into clothes, hemp can be softer than traditional cotton and offer an elevated sense of comfort with high marks (pun intended) for breathability and fast drying capabilities. Aside from hemp’s awesome material qualities, it’s a sustainability all-star because growing hemp uses considerably less water than conventional cotton. All our hemp is grown to organic standards and processed using non-toxic methods. We regularly include hemp in our fabrics and are upping our usage season after season. Here’s why making hemp clothing can help save the world.

Hemp is Strong Like Bull

Hemp is three times stronger than traditional cotton and is one of the most durable natural textile fibers out there. Using hemp fibers ensures our clothing stays on your back year in and year out.

S18-Day_02-Toad_HandlebarCoffee_080_InblogHemp feels so good! Featuring the Toad&Co Men’s Epique Crew Sweatshirt

Hemp is Water Conscious

Did you know that conventional cotton requires a TON of water to grow and process into clothing? From irrigation to cleaning to dying, conventional cotton sucks up water during every step. But superstar hemp relies primarily on rainwater for irrigation, giving us yet another reason to love it.

Hemp Is Technologically Savvy

You’re an adventurous person, so there no telling what you might get into in your Toad&Co clothing. Whether you’re breaking a sweat (or the person next to you is…), it’s always nice to have clothing that works with you. Hemp is a natural bacterial inhibitor that helps decrease odor (score!) and wicks moisture away. It’s also a dense fiber so it provides UV resistance – no matter how lightweight your hemp blend shirt is.  That’s a whole lot of tech in a natural package!

So, have we convinced you? Keep an eye out for our organic hemp styles, and remember, hemp yeah man!

S18-Day_04-Toad_Tacos_443_For BlogKeep it comfy in hemp. Featuring Toad&Co Women’s Couvert Hemp Hoodie