Why model Arizona Muse started a charity called “Dirt” – WWD
Model and environmentalist Arizona Muse hasn’t slowed down since being named a global sustainability advocate for Aveda.
On Thursday, she launched “Dirt”, a charity dedicated to biodynamic agriculture, a form of regenerative agriculture that promotes biodiversity, soil fertility, water conservation and community development. She revealed her efforts the day before at Sustainable Angle’s Future Fabrics Expo in London, an organization of which Muse is a board member.
More used by wine growers, biodynamic farming is less common in the fiber industry (despite fashion’s growing affinity for regenerative farming with Timberland, Stella McCartney and more).
Saying that his mission with Dirt is to help “make the soil sexy” by supporting biodynamic education, research and conversion projects, Muse reiterated that “our disregard for this precious resource means we risk destroy one of our best solutions to the climate crisis. The food business is growing, but the clothing industry is late for the party. “
Muse believes fashion needs to recognize the producers behind “the garment we wear” as being at the heart of value creation in the industry, alongside its work with organizations like Fashion Revolution.
With global farmers most at risk of poverty, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Muse added that “the farmer suicide crisis, not only in India, but around the world, has highlighted that we need to do all we can to ensure that those people who are at the heart of so many industries can enjoy their wonderful and vital work, and also feel valued.
Dirt currently has 10 projects in the pipeline, with varying funding needs. These projects include forest protection in Brazil, mine regeneration in Uganda, the expansion of biodynamic wool and leather farming in the UK and two projects in Egypt – one to re-green desertified land and the other to further develop the cultivation of biodynamic cotton.
Throughout the pandemic, Muse has spent time living and working on a farm, saying “I have never seen anything impact degraded soils like biodynamics. Biodynamics was the first form of sustainable farming system to emerge in response to the industrialization of agriculture. It is almost 100 years old, 20 years older than organic and various studies show that it is much more effective in improving soil health.
Running the day-to-day operations of Dirt, Muse hopes to expand the adoption of biodynamic farms in the fashion industry and later in the beauty and jewelry sectors in 2022. Dirt will be funded by industry contributions from fashion to begin with, as well as environmentalists.
In the coming year, Dirt will help connect brand partners with relevant projects of their choice which are further monitored by a certification called Demeter.
“The vagueness around certain terms is fertile ground for greenwashing, especially in fashion. The regenerative is already being co-opted and is losing meaning because there is no certification, which allows brands to take only a small aspect of regenerative and then affix it to a collection. Words like “sustainable” and “ecological” have lost almost all impact due to a lack of standards. Biodynamic certification ensures that a set of standards are met that require improvements in soil health and community well-being, and that the term cannot be used deceptively, ”added Muse, who added requested help from the Demeter certification body.
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