Three representatives of global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland recently joined the Smallholder Farmers Alliance and local farmers to help harvest Haiti’s first commercial cotton crop in three decades. Since 2016, Timberland has worked with the SFA to reintroduce cotton farming to Haiti. Their goal is to create a new sustainable supply chain for cotton, while also forwarding the reforestation of Haiti and improving farmers lives.
At one time cotton was Haiti’s fourth largest agricultural export, but by the late 1980s, its cultivation largely ceased for economic, political and environmental reasons.
Now however, the Caribbean’s first independent nation is on the cusp of welcoming back cotton production due to the work of Timberland and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA). Since 2010, the popular outdoor lifestyle brand has supported SFA’s efforts to boost the yields – and the pocketbooks – of Haiti’s farmers.
Timberland continues to gain recognition for its efforts to reintroduce cotton farming to Haiti through an agroforestry program that will also improve the lives of smallholder farmers and help to reforest the country. This week, the global outdoor lifestyle brand was named a finalist for the U.S.
Smallholder farmers near Gonaives, Haiti recently planted the first commercial cotton crop in the country since 1987, with support from Timberland and other brands. The farmers planted a demonstration farm which will train other smallholder farmers to cultivate cotton. As a key supporter of the effort, Timberland provided participating farmers with shirts as a symbol of the future market for the cotton they planted.
Timberland shared the history of the its efforts to reintroduce cotton farming to Haiti at this year’s Engage for Good conference in Chicago. Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager community engagement and communication, relayed the global outdoor lifestyle brand’s work to date in Haiti and shared key lessons learned over the years. The brand’s partnership with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) began with a five-year commitment to plant five million trees in H
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As an employee of Timberland, I am offered up to 40 paid community service hours each year through the company’s Path of Service™ program, now in its 26th year. One of the ways I use my hours is to manage the Timberland Victory Garden, a raised-bed vegetable garden located on the front lawn of our global headquarters in Stratham, New Hampshire.
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Can using blockchain to verify cotton as organic help revive the industry in Haiti?
By Ben Schiller
Haiti hasn’t grown cotton in decades. Its once-abundant industry collapsed in the 1970s due to government corruption, economic mismanagement, and U.S. embargoes. But now, thanks to a project involving thousands of smallholder farmers, apparel brands like Timberland, and a blockchain network, it could be set for a comeback. Within a few years, if all goes to plan, the island will be supplying millions of pounds of organic cotton for shoes, shirts, and other clothing sold in U.S. stores.