Organic cotton is now being grown in Colombia for the first time, thanks to a pioneering project initiated by German company, La Siesta, which has been manufacturing hammocks using organic cotton since 2008. Organic cotton has been grown in Latin America since the 1990s, starting in Peru, and is also grown in Brazil, Paraguay and in central America, Nicaragua.
Through the work of the SOCiLA initiative, LA SIESTA advocates sustainable cultivation of this raw material. SOCiLA is an initiative established by LA SIESTA founder Alexander Grisar that promotes organic cultivation of cotton in Latin America as well as the distribution of products made of organic cotton following sustainable value chains.
The idea for SOCiLA was born when Alexander Grisar retired from managing LA SIESTA in 2008. Before, he had already introduced organic hammocks to the LA SIESTA range. When he decided to have those made in Colombia he found out that there was no organic cotton available there. Thus, he had to import the organic cotton for producing the hammocks – which resulted in transports that have a negative impact on nature. To him it was this nuisance that provided the spark to founding his organic cotton initiative.
Grisar has made it his mission to raise awareness for the ecological and economical perspectives for organic cotton in Latin America. He counsels farmers, industrial enterprises, interest groups and governments on the development of projects and creates specific projects as well. Furthermore, he is very active in raising financial support and gaining know-how from development aid organisations and brands alike.
Presently SOCiLA focuses mainly on Colombia, the country that more than half of all LA SIESTA hammocks are produced in. Since 2009 Alexander Grisar has been visiting Colombia for SOCiLA three to four times a year. Pilot cultivations have already been made, thus creating the cornerstone for commercial cultivation of organic cotton in this country.