Have you heard of Feed?
I posted about them at some point probably a year or two ago through Blanket Statements. The Feed Projects is a non profit social enterprise founded by Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson. I was immediately drawn to their burlap bags and their mission of giving.
Read about their company and history in this Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 article from 2010.
The Feed Projects mission is to create good products that help feed the world. They sell T-shirts, bags, and other accessories with a set donation built into the price to cover their mission to feed the world. The impact of each product is signified by the number printed onto the product.
This is my favorite (of course):
This week I learned that Feed Projects products will now be carried by Target. (USA Today, March 11, 2013) As much as I respect the work Feed is doing, I’m a tiny bit concerned about this. Now don’t get me wrong, as a consumer I like Target. For the most part. I think they have a much better record of giving back to the community than some other discount big box stores that I won’t mention or set foot in. But as a former employee of Target (I worked there in 2005-2006) I am not a fan of their treatment of employees. But that is part of my story and may not pertain to everyone – I’m sure everyone has horror stories of places they’ve worked. I also worked there during one of the lowest points in my life, and truly feel it was a life changing experience for my family.
That being said, when I started Blanket Statements four year later, one of the goals I had was to find blankets made in the USA. To do what little I could to help the US economy and bring jobs back home. I mean, I am just one mom, but if not me, who?
I ran into immediate trouble trying to source items made in the USA. Most everything, and I mean – most everything – is made somewhere else now. I started reading up on textile manufacturing, and sadly, it is probably 98% gone from this country. (And did you know almost everything also contains HFCS? – thankfully not blankets, but just about all food/beverages. Ick) I searched stores…online, and in stores like Sears, Macy’s, Meijer, and even Target – and sure enough – every single blanket in their stores are made in China or elsewhere.
What does this have to do with the Feed Projects? Well, in addition to Target carrying their bags and T-shirts – they will have dinnerware, bicycles, and yes, even blankets. My first thought was, oh no, blankets too? Blankets made in China? I mean, I’m torn here – I love Feed Projects mission, but is the merchandise being made under their watchful eye? Or is it their designs/logo put onto merchandise manufactured under perhaps less than desirable conditions?
Some of The Feed Projects bags are manufactured in Guatemala and Africa by organizations employing local women to sew the items and help support their regions. But the bulk of their items are made in China using a fair trade factory. They also have Feed NYC bags that are being made in New York to support the local garment industry there. I am just hoping that now that the Feed Projects is “hitting the big time” with distribution through Target that they continue to hold onto their ideals of fair trade. I just wish that they would do more manufacturing in the US.
That being said, Blanket Statements will be debuting some all-new cotton blankets manufactured right in the middle of the heartland in Iowa very soon. Stay tuned!