What is Organic?

What Is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

How is organic cotton better?

Organic cotton represents a return to safe and sustainable practices. It is grown with natural fertilizers and is free from toxic chemicals. Organic farmers rely on crop rotation to replenish and maintain soil fertility. Mechanical cultivation and botanical or biological means are used to control pests and weeds.

A field must be pesticide-free for at least three years to be certified organic, and the cotton must be processed according to international organic standards.

The standards also set strict guidelines for transportation and storage to avoid cross-contamination. In the U.S., cotton labelled as organic has to be certified by an independent agency recognized by the USDA's National Organic Program.

Some of the benefits of organic cotton are:

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Organic Farming Has Social And Human Benefits Too

children working in organic field

Conventional farming endangers farm workers and their families. There are innumerable cases of serious pesticide-related health problems, including birth defects, long-term memory loss, paralysis and death. Unprotected storage, improper application methods and lack of proper handling is not uncommon, and often leads to tragic accidents.

As pests develop resistance, farmers desperate to keep up yields often resort to more and more applications of expensive pesticides. The chemical treadmill leaves them heavily in debt, and caught in a vicious circle. Facing barren, devastated fields and contaminated water, many small farmers have been forced to abandon their livelihood altogether.

Organic farming, on the other hand, is not only safer and healthier for farmers, but also encourages just economic systems in the supply chain. It provides an economically viable and socially acceptable alternative to large-scale farming and dependence on subsidies.