Greetings from a lesser-known Cotton, I am Organic Cotton! I might not be as popular as my competitor, Conventional Cotton but I do have a fan base ( I plan to make you my fan too!). Let's begin with my introduction; I am naturally cultivated cotton which does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or transgenic technology for growing. I was first planted in the 1980s in the USA as an initiative towards sustainable agriculture (thankful for that!). I am said to be environmentally friendly because instead of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, my preference lies with natural and organic fertilizers which ensures that no toxic component seeps into the soil and contaminates groundwater, and affects soil fertility. I am also grown from Non-GMO seeds which means, unlike genetically modified (GMO) seeds I don’t play any role in the loss of wildlife habitat and biodiversity due to herbicide-tolerant nature. Also, since I am pesticide and chemical-free I require less water as compared to Conventional Cotton. You must be getting impressed by me but let me tell you that this is just the beginning…
Today, I want to tell you a little story about my life from being a seedling to a fabulous Emacity T-Shirt. So, put on your seat belts and get ready for this entrancing ride to my world.
The farmer friend that I have, Keeps trying his best to ensure environmentally friendly cultivation, and hence he chooses a biologically based growing system instead of the chemical one and that is why he chose me- A Natural & GMO-free seed! Initially, I was not given much preference but conscious buyers ( like y’all) made it possible for me to shine as an organic crop. I am then sowed in healthy soil which is like my soul-mate. My soul-mate, Healthy Soil is the result of organic compost, crop rotation, and cover crops which retains moisture and nutrition and is good for my growth. I feel bad for Conventional Cotton because it is sowed in a soil which is subject to chemical fertilizers and where the soil loses its fertility due to intensive irrigation and mono-cropping pattern. Eventually, with all the care I turned into a plant from the little seedling that once came to the farm. However, another problem came in my way to grow! The weeds and pests (Agggghhhhhh). And yet again my soul mate comes in handy by providing a natural balance to fight the pests. Healthy soils have soil organisms like predators, parasites, and pathogens like spiders and ground beetles that are natural enemies of pests. Practices like crop rotation, intercropping and efficient irrigation are very useful in weed control.
Once, Conventional Cotton was telling me how harmful insecticides and pesticides are sprayed on it and this is not only bad for the environment but also for our farmer friends ( I Have heard, It has cancer-causing agents!). This always makes me think about how lucky I am to be able to avoid this cruelty. Months passed and I was ready to be plucked and sent for manufacturing where I was going to turn into a beautiful fiber. My farmer friend hand-picked me in place of using chemical defoliant to harvest me. Many of my Organic Cotton cousins were harvested using Natural defoliation like by controlling water application in areas with low precipitation or waiting for frost in temperate regions. Oh! you must not be aware of defoliation, right? For us(Cotton) to be harvested, leaves are needed to be shed so that cotton balls can be plucked.
Now comes the new stage of my life, where I am turned into fiber for clothes that you all love wearing! I bid farewell to my farmer friend and leave for the new place where I will go through the process of transformation. When I reach the place, I am cleaned as I get dirt ( Thankfully, Not Chemicals) all over myself due to the journey I have taken all this while. This is then followed by Ginning where I am separated from my seeds and become ready to be spun into thread or yarn. After I take the form of threads, I am all set for weaving by sizing using potato or corn starch and not toxic waxes. Once the weaving is done, I am bleached using Hydrogen peroxide which is a safer and eco-friendly alternative to Chlorine bleaches which affect the environment. The fabric I have come to be is dyed using dyes that are low in content of sulphur and heavy metals. Wow! This has been a long journey but it still has not been completed yet. Now It's time for some beautiful designs to be printed on me! They use water-based ink and pigments which are eco-friendly for the printing purpose. I can’t believe that I have come such a long way from being a seedling to a cool Emacity T-shirt and I am just a step away from reaching you all. Ahhh! I forgot to mention that I am GOTS certified. GOTS or Global Organic Textile Standard provides worldwide recognition to organic textiles like me and many others, So you have got nothing to worry about as there is assurance for every stage of my life! Well there is something which you should be worried about which is: Is your wardrobe missing me?!
Also, before I take your leave and go tell others story of my life, you can read about how I am different from my competitor Conventional Cotton: Conventional Cotton vs Organic Cotton