Yesterday, a well awaited package was delivered to the Factory: organic, or “black” cottonseed, as I’ve learned it is called. In our effort to grow organic cotton, we’ve taken a step-by-step approach. We started with the seed, and now we move on to the land. We are learning as we go, and taking every experience to heart.

The search for seed began and taught us some of the important facts of organic cotton and cottonseed. Organizations like Textile Exchange and Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative lent their support and gave us direction in our search for non-GMO, non-treated cottonseed. In our conversation with Lynda Grose at Sustainable Cotton Project, Lynda shared her thoughts on organic, sustainable textiles, and the importance of knowing and working with your local farmers.

Organizations, businesses, and farmers in our community have helped us go yet another step further. As we sought land that meets organic standards, we took Lynda’s advice to heart, and I found myself transported from the studio to the field.

In part, we look at this venture as “doing-it-ourselves,” but the truth is that we wouldn’t be at this point had it not been for the gracious help and kindness from so many. As we take each step on our journey, we continue to meet generous people who embrace our goals and efforts. We continue to be humbled by the kindness and compassion that we have received from all of you.

We are happy to announce that we have partnered with local fashion design company Billy Reid in our efforts to grow organic cotton. K.P. McNeill of Billy Reid has been especially involved in helping us find the clean land to farm, and has found a friend in a local farmer, Jimmy.

Last week, we met early one morning at the future site of our organic cotton field. In the grassy field, amidst a group of curious cows (that have since been relocated to another nearby field), we stood and discussed with Jimmy the next step in our farming process. In between discussions over sweet tea and peanut butter crackers brought to us by Jimmy’s kind wife, Jimmy began to prepare the land. As the tractor trekked along slowly, the land turned up- revealing beautifully rich soil.

We have a few more tasks at hand as we prepare the land for planting, one which includes a obtaining a two-row planter. Luckily, we have subscribed to the Alabama Farmers and Consumers Bulletin, which has been a helpful resource for farm equipment and supplies. We are eager to get the seed in the ground and to work with Jimmy and K.P. in the coming weeks as we proceed one step closer to growing our own organic cotton.

Thank you to K.P. and Jimmy, for all that they have done.

Our local farmer, Jimmy, and friends at Billy Reid, working with us on this amazing journey– a part of the heart and soul of Alabama Chanin.



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Click to read 8 comments
  1. Dawn Tremblay

    The photo of the furrow is magnificent! I live on an organic farm and you have captured the promise and the strength of the land so well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kim

    Best of luck with your endeavor. I hope you do well, and that the organic cotton idea catches on. My family still lives in Florence, and when the fields are sprayed with the pesticides and defoliants, my dad gets very sick from the chemicals in the air. I have to believe there’s a better way!

    1. Justin

      This is great to hear! Is there a way to possibly invest in this project to help support this endeavor?

  3. Pingback: Natalie Chanin on Working Her Own Organic Cotton Fields | EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion