Our apparel is produced exclusively through our partnership with the Multicultural Refugee Coalition's (MRC) Social Enterprise, Open Arms. The MRC is an innovative nonprofit organization blending skills-based education with social entrepreneurship to connect refugees to dignified, fair-wage work in Austin, Texas.
Open Arms is an Austin based sustainable apparel manufacturer empowering refugees through fair-wage employment. The refugee employees of Open Arms that we work with on our dedicated team, Maria, Farzana, Sam and Biak, are both individuals with previous manufacturing experience, and those who wish to learn the trade to support themselves and their families.
Open Arms offers an apprenticeship program that is a gateway to future employment with the organization. Qualified refugee trainees receive free industrial sewing training to prepare for employment. Refugee apprentices receive up to 400 hours of paid, on-the-job training as well as onsite English language tutoring.
We visit with their team every Friday. Our commitment to manufacturing with Open Arms is profound, and one we look forward to our teams growing symbiotically in the years to come.
We recently harvested our second crop of organically grown Mexican Mint Marigold, an easy to grow perennial with many uses, chief to us, its application as a natural dye. In the Fall of 2018, we planted thirty Pomegranate trees and an assortment of native flowers.
New Leaf has established their farm through regenerative agriculture and permaculture methodology. The Berm Swale system that our Mexican Mint Marigold grows upon has dramatically decreased the amount of water needed to nourish the plant. Additionally, the dye plant helps to restore the nutrient balance of the clay soil on the farm, priming it for future crop rotation to edible plants, all while sequestering carbon in the soil.
In the coming seasons, we will continue our exploration of dye plant cultivation with New Leaf, and are honored to be founding partners of their endeavor.