As Patagonia is the outdoor hipster of clothing labels, is it any surprise that they’re going to start growing hemp in Colorado for their materials?
Patagonia is partnering with the State of Colorado to start growing hemp in the San Luis Valley, according to Westword. The partnership is a result of Governor Jared Polis’s goal to make Colorado a leader in the hemp industry.
Hemp isn’t new to Patagonia’s brand. They’ve been sourcing hemp from China for their workwear line for a decade. But since the U.S. legalized hemp in 2018, they’re ready to bring their business closer to home.
“It’s a marquee brand, Patagonia. It’s a very good, professional operation. In the San Luis Valley, they’re excited about hemp and crops that bring an interesting and sustainable value,” Polis said. “(It) really is great. It brings together our strong outdoor-industry presence, international trade, and our growing hemp industry.”
Wright-Oaks Farms, a family-run hemp farm located in the San Luis Valley, will grow and manage the crops for Patagonia. Patagonia’s Chinese hemp textile producer will ship the seeds and offer guidance on the process.
“Pretty much all of the hemp textiles to date have come from China. They’ve been doing it for 1,000 years, so they’re the experts on how to grow it, turn it into a fiber and, ultimately, a textile fabric,” said Ed Auman, Patagonia’s Work Wear director. “Our supplier in China provided the hemp seeds — because that was the big crux, being able to get hemp seeds specific to industrial hemp — so we had to import and ship them to the San Luis Valley.”
Both Patagonia and state officials hope to see Colorado become leaders in the hemp industry. Polis’s goal is to grow the state’s hemp expanse by 2,000 acres by 2021.
“Colorado is a very globally connected place. You have great global companies like Patagonia who are piloting projects here. This is another opportunity to work with an international market and an international supply chain. We’re located right in the middle of the country, so we’re easy to access,” Polis said. “We’re really excited to be working to help build that processing capacity. A lot of it is about getting to that critical mass of production. … The state looks forward very much to the economic development that hemp can bring.”