Milkweed Mittens

Common Weed Is Lightweight Insulator


The Canadian Coast Guard is testing milkweed pods as a source of potential environmentally friendly insulation in partnership with Encore3, a manufacturing company in Québec, Canada, in prototype parkas, gloves and mittens. The plant is roughly five times lighter than synthetic insulation and hypoallergenic.

The Farm Between, in Cambridge, Vermont, harvests the plants and sends the material to Encore3. Co-owner John Hayden says, “Milkweed is grown as an intercrop between the rows in our apple orchard to increase biodiversity and provide a host plant for monarch caterpillars. Monarch populations are in serious decline, and the two things we can do to help on the land we steward are to not use pesticides and provide milkweed habitat.”

This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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