Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Changing Landscape of American Organic Cotton

I live in a cotton producing area.  In October I drive past miles and miles cotton fields.  Bits of white fluff line the road like frost.  Yet, I've repeatedly heard "there are almost no cotton fabric mills in the US, much less one that makes organic fabric."  Really?  We grow mountains of cotton, I drive past them regularly.  Do we really ship it all to be processed overseas?

Turns out that since all of the stories that the American textile company was on its last legs, much has changed.  While thousands of factories closed in the last 20 years, they have also consolidated, improved technology and benefitted from being close to the major world markets.  In the last 3 years, the industry has expanded by almost 40% according to the New York Times.  No, it did not bring back the thousands of jobs that they once provided--much of the production is automated--but the ones they brought have decent pay and safe working conditions.  Imagine that!  Many of these revived factories have started oroducing organic cotton fabrics.  In 2010 all of the news stories seem to indicate there was only 1 organic cotton fabric mill in the US.  Now, I can find evidence of at least 4 on this site, not to mention the many others I was able to find through product references.  For instance, there is a mill that now produces organic cotton sheets here.  And another makes custom t-shirts--I bought one from TS Designs  and will write about it after it comes.

Be skeptical if you hear that the US doesn't produce organic cotton fabric--we have factories churning it out by the ton!

Photo from New York Times article linked to above

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...