Our apparel is produced exclusively through our partnership with the Multicultural Refugee Coalition's (MRC) Social Enterprise, Open Arms. Open Arms is an Austin based sustainable apparel manufacturer empowering refugee women through fair-wage employment. Our production partners Thang, Sam, Maria, Farzana and Biak, are led by Emily, the Open Arms studio director.
The employees of Open Arms 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. In 2019, we will be supporting the hire of two - four additional team members to the Open Arms team.
We visit with their team every Friday, and soon will produce 150 garments with them every week. 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 first crop of organically grown Mexican Mint Marigold, an easy to grow perennial with many uses, chief to us, its application as a natural dye. This Fall we also planted thirty Pomegranate trees and native flowers that will later be used as dyes.
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.