The door to the US organic cotton farming world was opened to us by a group of people, who on their own have great bragging rights in the world of sustainability: Lynda Grose, Jill Dumain of Patagonia, and through their assistance, Kelly Pepper of the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) in Lubbock, Texas. This co-op has around 40 producer members, with about 150 employees, who plant 18 - 20,000 acres of organic and transitional cotton each year. In recent years, these acres have produced anywhere from 11,000 - 17,000 bales of cotton—roughly 80 – 90% of all organic cotton grown in the US. TOCMC and its members are certified organic under the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program.
Incredibly, each single bale of cotton produced within the co-op is tracked from the field to the customer. As a consumer, we have the ability to know our cotton producer’s name and the farm from which each bale was purchased.
And while all of our medium-weight organic cotton jersey comes from cotton grown in Lubbock, the same is not true for our lightweight organic cotton jersey or rib-knit. Since NAFTA was put into effect, the United States has lost many small spinning operations. As a result, there is currently no domestic capability to spin the fine yarns required to make lightweight cotton jersey. Because this cotton cannot be spun in the United States, it is therefore organically grown and spun overseas, and then sent to the United States where it is knit, dyed, washed, cut, and made into garments.