“This is because the sheep graze on land that has not been touched by pesticides or fertiliser,” he says. The sheep also have vast areas to graze; in Patagonia, each little sheep has an average of 38 square kilometres of exceptional natural pasture.
Devold works with farms in Argentina that comply with the Argentine National Health Authorities’ regulations for quality wool production. These regulations observe the EU's organic farming standards, and are either approved and certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard Group, or are in the process of gaining this certification. There are several steps to gaining approval and a licence for a certified organic farm and it can take up to three years to run a “detox” of the farm. The difference between an ordinary farm and an organically-run farm relates to the farm's environmental footprint. An organic farm does not use any pesticides, harmful fertiliser, or other toxic substances on either the sheep or the land, so that the wool is completed freely of chemical residues. The flora and fauna of an organic farm are managed extremely carefully, so that its biological diversity will be far stronger and more fertile than a non-organic standard farm. Organic farms naturally also take meticulous care of their animals, and closely observe the “Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare”.