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Organic Food & Fiber

This blog post is addressed to family and friends. It’s addressed to associates and folks I’ve met in passing an it’s addressed to folks I’ve yet to meet. It’s addressed to all the organic and good livin’ folk who just  can’t get enough tips for living healthier and it’s addressed to all non-organic and not-so-good livin’ folk, interested in creating the best life possible. If your category has not been mentioned, it’s addressed to you as well.

In caring for ourselves, those around us and the earth we all share; my experience has shown that the best way to incorporate change is to incorporate the change in all possible areas of our lives albeit better food choices, better living environments better health or whatever it is that you have a desire to change, incorporating it wherever possible keeps it at the forefront and can be a huge step toward accomplishing and achieving the intended desire.

Judging by the amount of pollution on the planet that has seeped into every important area of our lives; from the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, from our living environments and the furnishings in them,  from the fabrics we use and the clothing we wear, as inhabitants of the planet we have left a huge footprint. As environmentally conscious consumers it should be our goal to incorporate organic and sustainable living in every area of our lives and those whose lives we affect.

As a clothing designer and business person it is my goal to be informed and to provide products that are good for the people who purchase them and also products that are sustainable and good for the planet.  The clothing and products produced by Olio Studio have always been done with a conscious effort to minimize waste and optimize usage of cutting scraps. Incorporating recycled fabrics into new work continues to be a creative outlet.

Keeping an ethical and organic lifestyle at the forefront has included  constant and sometimes painful research and sourcing for organic materials to work with and promoting organic through the company Olio Organics. When non-natural materials are used eg. threads, this too will change when an adequate, efficient and ethical alternative is found.

Very recently at the One of a Kind Spring show, in Toronto, a lady glanced at one of the tags on a garment and asked, what makes it organic? Although I took the time to briefly explain and before doing so jokingly asked her if she had a week, honestly I was in shock. Her question is the basis for the blog you are presently reading! Organic food and fiber bear many similarities since they both originate from the earth! Both are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Crops are rotated, manure and other earth friendly techniques are used. Organic fiber is grown on certified organic fields. Why, one might ask, is this important?

There is a strong association between breast cancer and exposure to chemical pesticides. A Finnish study showed that women whose breasts stored the highest levels of a lindane-like residue were ten times more likely to have breast cancer than women with lower levels. Lindane is a pesticide. Organic farming doesn’t pollute groundwater and avoids all  the risks associated with GM crops. Farmers in Canada, Kansas and Nebraska who use the pesticide 2,4-D suffer a higher rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the US death rates from myeloma are highest in rural farming areas. Migrant farm workers suffer an abnormally high rate of multiple myeloma,stomach,prostrate and testicular cancer. Organic farming has none of these risks.

A study done by the Globe and Mail and CTV News showed that the nutrient quality of fruit and vegetables, compared to 50 years ago, today’s regular fruit and vegetables contain dramatically less vitamins and minerals. The average potato has lost 100% of it’s vitamin A, 57% of it’s vitamin C and iron,28% of it’s calcium and it goes on.Similar results were found for 24 other fruits and vegetables. Supplements anyone?  Another US study compared the nutrient levels in organic and regular foods and in every case the organic crops had higher nutrient levels-27% more vitamin C,29% more iron, and 14% more phosphorus. Conventional orange trees are fed nitrogen fertilizer which causes the oranges to absorb more water which makes them bigger.  It has been reported that organic oranges contain 30% more vitamin C even though they are half the size!

Organic farming helps protect the climate. Organically managed fields produce organic carbon.Organic soil is full of living creatures which carry carbon. More carbon in the soil helps stop global climate change.

Lastly, the pros for organic fiber, clothing, food or organic anything for that matter are much more extensive than can be expressed here in one blog. Organic farming is not only better for humans it is also better for wildlife. A typical organic field has five times as many wild plants, 57% more species, and 44% more birds in cultivated areas than a regular farm. Organic farms have twice as many butterflies and twice as many skylarks. Every time you eat an organic lettuce or tomato, you help restore wildlife and your own!

Jannis Ruck

About Jannis Ruck

Jannis peruses and observes the complexity of diversity and uses the juxtaposed and entwined threads of life to create a beautiful fabric that is an olio of the differences.

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