Search

Food Forest

Not just any trees - You're helping build food forests!

For every hat sold on this site, 12 food forest trees will be planted.

food forest

We partnered with Trees For The Future (trees.org) and thanks to your purchase, we are able to provide 12 trees to a family farm in a part of the world that desperately needs to end hunger, end poverty and end deforestation. We realize that the whole world is connected and by helping families even as far away as Sub-Saharan Africa, we are also helping ourselves.

A recent study published in Science magazine states global tree restoration is our most effective climate change solution to date. We’re not waiting on a debate, its time to roll up the sleeves and get to work, helping people and the planet the best way we can.

The Problem.

We lose trees at a rate of 50 soccer fields per minute as our food systems destroy our ecosystems. Most of this degradation occurs in the developing tropics of Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia where hundreds of millions of chronically-hungry, smallholder farming families use destructive and short-sighted agricultural practices that further degrade their communities trees, soil, water and biodiversity, making them even more likely to migrate and more vulnerable to the climate changes that lie ahead.

OUR SOLUTION

The Forest Garden Program is a simple, replicable and scalable approach with proven success. By planting specific types of fast-growing trees, fruit trees, hardwoods and food crops in a systematic manner over a four year period, families can positively change their lives forever. Forest Gardens consist of thousands of trees that provide families with sustainable food sources, livestock feed, products to sell, fuel wood and a 400% increase in their annual income in four years. Modern farming practices in every country need to be changed in order to feed the world’s population with small scale local production taking a much larger role. Regenerative farming and Permaculture principals can drastically increase yields and increase biodiversity, soil health at the same time.

THE GOAL

We see converting degraded and denuded farmland into Forest Gardens one of the planet’s best ideas for eliminating hunger, extreme poverty, deforestation and for lessening humanity’s contributions to climate change. Trees.org has a goal to break the cycle of poverty and eradicate hunger for their first 1 million people by planting 500 million trees in 125,000 Forest Gardens by 2025. This will entail working with approximately 125,000 families to revitalize a quarter of a million acres, coupled with interventions at different levels of the value chain (related to inputs, credit, water and marketing) to ensure the long term sustainability and continual spread of Forest Gardens.

If we can grow a movement by convincing massive numbers of farmers across any given landscape to plant Forest Gardens, we can, first and foremost, eliminate chronic hunger and extreme poverty on that landscape, but even more, at scale we will have a program that can reverse deforestation and meaningfully begin to mitigate climate change.

WHAT IS A FOOD FOREST?

Watch this video from our friend and mentor Geoff Lawton

GEOFF LAWTON DESIGNED OUR ONGOING FOOD FOREST PROJECT IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA

Even manufacturing hats from responsible materials and all of our efforts to tread lightly still cost the environment. With that in mind we decided to turn the adjacent acre of land at our original warehouse in St Augustine, Florida into an abundant food forest using permaculture principals. We hope this will be an example to other companies and anyone wanting to learn about food forests, food security and the abundance that can be created by working with nature, instead of against it. Modern agriculture is degrading our soil and is unsustainable. Permaculture and regenerative agriculture are examples of how we need to move forward producing food for the future. This will be an example of how we can localize food production without the use of harmful pesticides and with good design will increase production and nutrient level dramatically per acre. The St Augustine Food Forest isn’t open to the public yet but please stay tuned for updates.

october 2018

 

october 2019

 

october 2020

 

 

WE CURRENTLY OPERATE OUT OF TWO HEADQUARTERS.

ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA – USA
Home of our 1 acre food forest project

We decided to grow our own corporate responsibility right next to our original hat warehouse in St. Augustine, Florida. This food forest is a place for people to see Permaculture principals in action, a place to learn about food security, regenerative agriculture and more. The site was designed by world renowned permaculture designer Geoff Lawton.

>> See more here

On April 22nd, 2015 (Earth Day) we added 15KW (58 solar panels) to our St Augustine warehouse. Currently this is powering 100% of our electric needs. Powering business by the sun is a dream come true and because of you we were able to achieve this.

check our solar output here.

Ditching single-use plastic is one of our primary goals at all levels of Conner Hats. Americans use 1500 plastic water bottles every second. For us, this really drives home the fact that we need to do our part to limit the production of plastic.

Reducing single use plastics is important for many reasons. Huge amounts of plastic end up in our waterways and ocean. Birds and sea life mistake it for food and many die from ingesting or choking on plastic. It also breaks down into very small pieces which are eaten by fish. We then eat the fish and the PCB’s, dioxins and other toxic chemicals can end up in us.

Things we can do to help might seem small, but everything helps. Choose products that use no or minimal plastic packaging. Recycle everything you can. Say no to plastic straws. Use Reusable bottles and cups. Use reusable grocery bags. Let your favorite take-out restraint owner know that there are cheap alternatives to plastic and petroleum foam.

Besides a whole new line of hats made from recycled plastic bottles we have also stopped the use of single-use plastic connectors to connect our hang tags; we use a biodegradable string instead.

We asked our Conner Hats metal emblem supplier to stop individually bagging each tiny emblem in a plastic pouch, instead they are sent flat on sections of cardboard. This alone stops the production of thousands of tiny single use plastic pouches.

All of our packaging is single use plastic free including our new biodegradable backing tape.

Clothing/Hat garment labels are generally woven synthetic material that will last 1000+ years and pollute. We have recently chosen to use organic cotton printed with vegetable dyes for our inner labels, even our inner size labels ore now made from paper. These labels will eventually turn back into soil. We have been thinking about the end of life for our hats. After they have been used for many years and if they are made from biodegradable material like organic cotton, hemp, raffia straw or wool they could be composted and turn back into healthy soil for your garden. Stay tuned for a video on this soon. So now we are excited to sell many hats from biodegradable materials, no single use plastic, compostable tags and labels and even new biodegradable tape for our boxes, all of it will eventually and turn back into healthy soil!

It’s our job to care about what touches your head, that’s why many of the sweatbands and linings are made from third party tested organic cotton and are AZO dye free. All of our deluxe stretch terry hat bands have been third party tested and do not contain AZO dyes or Formaldehyde.

Further details on some of our hat materials:

Cruelty Free Wool
Starting March 2018 we will be changing our wool hat production to Cruelty Free wool. This means that we went back into our supply chain and only source wool from farms that do not practice Mulesing. Mulesing is the removal of chunks of skin on the buttocks of the sheep to stop a disease called Flystrike. Over 20 million Merino lambs are Mulesed in Australia each year. Hopefully by educating people on this topic Australia might consider the alternatives to this cruel practice.

Hemp
Hemp is very easy to grow and is three times stronger that cotton. Hemp crops don’t require much water and can be grown without herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.

Organic Cotton
We third party test our organic cotton to confirm OCS certified 100 and AZO Free.

Leather
We test our leather to confirm No Organic biocides, Azo Dye-Free, No Prohibited Metals, No Flame Retardants, Formaldehyde-Free, No Chromium (VI)

Some people may have a problem with leather for environmental or humane reasons. We use leather because it’s an excellent hat material. It’s extremely durable and some of our leather hats are still in use over 40 years later. Look for a link to our blog here on this subject in the near future.

Organic Raffia
The Raffia palm found in Madagascar has the longest leaves in the plant kingdom and can grow to eighty feet long. No need for water or pesticides, just cut the leaves needed and they grow back.

Paper
Toyo was originally made in japan from shellacked rice paper. We use 100% recycled paper with a non-toxic waterproof resin to keep them protected. It’s a machine made material made in China and hand woven into beautiful hats.

Repreve® Recycled Plastic
We use Repreve material for our recycled hats and they contain about 5 recycled plastic bottles worth of plastic. The fabric is light weight, UPF 50+ and waterproof. More importantly it’s made from recycled plastic bottles, straws and other single use plastics that could have ended up in our environment. It uses 70% less energy and 90% less water to produce our recycled fabric verses a virgin material.

>> Find out more about repreve® here

That’s right, most of our fabric hats have Bloom Algae Foam inside of the brims and some crowns. So instead petroleum based foam we use Bloom Foam that is made from cleaning algae blooms that pollute fresh water and turned into usable foam for many types of products including our hats. You may not see it, but it is there and goes with one of our slogans “ It’s what’s on the inside that matters”.

>> You can find out more hereHats made with Algae

Our safety standards are guided by the question:

“Is the hat safe enough for a baby to chew on?”

All of the dyes and paints used to color our hat materials are third-party tested, nontoxic lead free

Our USA wool felt hat production meets our non-toxic standards. The stiffener is made from food grade shellac and the color dyes are safe for the environment, all exhausted waters used are put in the public sewer for normal treatment.

Our wool hat production in China has been third- party tested and no Azo dyes are used and no toxic chemicals in the hat bodies. We trust our factories to keep our high standards but just in case we do third party tests from time to time to confirm both in USA and China.

Our packaging has recently improved with new biodegradable packing tape so all of our packaging is fully compostable and nontoxic.

First of all, it’s important to realize that the difference between organic and conventional cotton isn’t just the lack or use of pesticides and insecticides in the farming process. Conventional cotton is also subjected to numerous chemical baths and treatments when the fabric is loomed and prepared for cutting. Additionally, conventional cotton uses dyes that sometimes contain heavy metals. We use only nontoxic dyes in our organic cotton.

Conventional cotton farming takes a huge toll on our planet, being responsible for a full quarter of the insecticides used worldwide. Some of the most toxic pesticides are also used on cotton, and people consume those pesticides in foods containing cottonseed oil.

Choosing organic cotton helps to support organic farmers and gives motivation to conventional farmers who are trying to convert to organic practices. Spreading the word to friends and family also helps to raise global awareness about the benefits of choosing organic cotton. Hopefully, over time, this can reduce the amount of chemicals consumed by conventional cotton farming and help contribute to a healthier planet.

Byron Bay, N.S.W. – Australia
Home of our founders and design inspiration

Byron Bay is the home town of our founders and it’s famous original Australian hat brand, BC hats. Bill Conner, after a very successful 50 years decided to close his factory and retire to spend more time in the surf. His son, Will Conner still designs Conner hats from Byron Bay and both Will and Bill are very much involved in the local community. Bill planted 2000 native Hoop Pine trees on his 20 acre property nearby as a carbon credit for his business. He stayed true to an Australian made product and his hats are loved worldwide and landed on famous customers from Michael Jordan to Olivia Newton John and many more. His hats are sure to become collectors items as no new hats will be available after the last one sells.

>> Shop BC hats

We offset a percentage of our carbon footprint by planting and maintaining 2000 native hoop pines on our family owned property about 35km from the factory.

Our factory is a fume free zone. We use only nontoxic glues in our manufacturing. Australia is a very worker friendly country and we all have lots of fun creating shade for people.

Our small, family run operation uses mostly Australian and New Zealand raw materials.

We have received a Declaration of Conformance for all of our leather used:

Customer: B. C. Leather Pty Ltd
Bovine Leather suitable for Hats

Safety Standards: EC DIRECTIVE 91/173(CHLORINATED PHENOIS)
EC DIRECTIVE 2002/61 (AZO DYES)

No banned substances have been used in manufacture, and the leather shall not contain the following, including: Organic biocides (PCP or TCP) from fungicides Aromatic Amines from Azo Dyes Sensitising Disperse Dyes Prohibited Metals Arsenis, Nickel, Cadmium, Mercury or Chrome V1 (Hexavalent Chromium) Flame Retardants (Brominated) Formaldehyde