Ever wonder where cashmere comes from?
I got a message from a place in Italy asking if I was interested in designing something for my upcoming pattern book with some of their “sustainable” cashmere. The word cashmere I know, and although I was unsure what “sustainable” was all about, I readily agreed to accept some for free. The cashmere arrived in a week. Never…in all of my years…have I felt anything like
So I did a little research on Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm, and the owner Nora Kravis, and what sustainable means. Here’s what I found.
Environmental Sustainability implies that the end product consumes less than it produces.
In Chianti’s case their goat teams are grazed to re-claim and improve abandoned or under-utilized agricultural land. They recycle weeds into a luxury product. This is agricultural production that goes beyond organic, that integrates the principles of environmental health with the efficient use of non-renewable resources, ensuring farm profitability and quality of life for both the farmer and her animals.
Chianti’s Cashmere fiber is a renewable resource; the controlled grazing they practice with their goats increases biodiversity, and improves the quality of the soil. Goats raised outdoors benefit from climatic and atmospheric influences to produce naturally, top-quality cashmere. An added benefit is their longevity and well-being – animal welfare at its simplest and most effective.
By buying sustainable cashmere you are protecting the environment, improving the landscape, promoting sustainable rural development and being good to Chanti’s goats!
Their fiber is harvested from healthy goats that have been raised ethically and treated humanely their entire lives. Their goats have been raised respecting their natural instincts, social structure and needs, and still produce a luxury product. Their cashmere has been grown by goats who have never been tied or tethered, never been treated with chemicals or hormones, and have grazed only overgrown, untreated, unusable farmland, and their fiber has been processed without the use of chemicals or industrial coloring.
The SUSTAINABILITY of their production, from start to finish, is undeniable, and Chianti’s finished products are of unsurpassed quality, exquisite Italian workmanship, and moreover, every stage of production is totally traceable:
* Everyone of their goats has a name and answers to it
* Their goats are ear-tagged and micro chipped at birth so they (and you) know exactly who's who, where each animal is and exactly what each goat produces.
* Their goats recycle unusable bio-mass, breaking it down into organic soil amendments which improve the quality of the soil and increase its productivity.
* The extensive, grazing practices with which they raise their goats guarantee the utmost in animal welfare, health, and longevity that are otherwise impossible in intensive livestock schemes.
Hand-combing of their sustainable cashmere is painless and innocuous – Chianti’s goats are not maimed, wounded or killed to harvest their fiber and have an average life span of 10-15 years. That is easily double that of goats raised intensively for milk or meat production.
“We bring the goats to their place of work, and not vice-versa. There is no long-distance transport involved, and their production is truly ‘km zero’.”
“There are no middle-men involved: all production is in the rural territory where our goats are raised, ensuring that the farmer receives direct payment and the traceability of the entire process is ensured.”
SUSTAINABLE CASHMERE® PURE, UNADULTERATED LUXURY THAT IS GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
So now I understand what sustainable means. The cashmere that is combed from these friends is buttery soft, absolutely the most wonderful fiber I have ever knit with. I hope you enjoy the pattern for baby hats available in the “Free Patterns” section at www.leegantknits.com.
Thank you, Nora Kravis, for caring about the animals and all that you do for the industry. And congratulations on your world renowned Predator Friendly certification!
Visit the farm here: http://chianticashmere.com/