The Ministry of Tomorrow sources all of our cotton from Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills (RCM) Based in Kolkata, India. RCM, supports Fair Trade as validated and certified by FTO, but more importantly, bearing witness to their commitment, there is:
- financial and economical support of small organic farmers
- fair labor practices within the GOTS certified production chain
- SA8000 certified social standards
The Chetna Project Cultivating Organic Cotton
RCM and the Chetna project
RCM sources cotton from Chetna and has been involved in the project since its inception in 2004. RCM now purchases a large portion of Chetna's Fair Trade and organic cotton for production and distribution to International markets.
for more information on the Chetna Organic project: http://www.chetnaorganic.org.in
Today, cotton is considered the most important natural fiber used in the textile industries worldwide, amounting to 40% of the textile production. India is among the three leading cotton-producing countries (with USA and China).
Cotton plants really are beautiful! There are lovely flowers and the cotton bolls are absolutely awesome. Did you know that the color of the flowers is very significant?
White flower / white bloom — The first day a bloom opens it is white or a creamy yellow color. In the afternoon, the pollen is released and as it self-pollinates.
Pink flower / pink bloom — Once pollinated, the flower begins to turn pink, becoming a bright fuschia in a few days.
Young boll — As the pink bloom dries down, the young boll pushes its way up, forcing the pink bloom to fall off as a tag. The boll (it looks like a nut) continues to grow as the fiber and seed grow.
Cracked boll — As cotton fiber matures, cotton bolls open slowly as the bracts dry and separate.
Open boll — This is the part of the plant that most people think of when they think of a cotton plant… it’s what we harvest. And it looks like the cotton balls in your bathroom cabinets.
The importance of Organic Cotton
From a fashion standpoint, Organic clothing now follows all the latest style trends. This means that there are now brands available which offer your favorite styles produced in organic cotton!
However, the biggest benefit of organic cotton remains the environmental aspect: the crops are not treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These substances are harmful to farmers and workers, to us as consumers, and to entire wildlife eco-systems.
Organic cotton is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. An important difference with organic growing systems is that they replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton uses far less water too.
Unfortunately, today, less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic.
- Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25 percent of the world's insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world's pesticides; an incredible amount for one just one crop.
- These chemicals can be deadly. Such pesticides poison farmers all over the world. Factory workers too have to breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. Here in the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals.
- These chemicals seep into run-off water after heavy rains, poisoning lakes, rivers and waterways. Pesticide residue has been increasingly discovered in foods, farm animals and even breast milk. Not only are these carcinogens responsible for thousands of cases cancer in adults, they are particularly harmful to young children who can develop debilitating neurodevelopmental effects.
- We even feel the harmful effects of non-organic cottons and fabrics in our daily lives. Irritated skin, rashes and even headaches and dizziness can be caused by the chemical residue trapped in the threads.
- To make matters worse, many Indian farmers, facing illness and bankruptcy as a result of using pesticides, end up committing suicide, leaving behind their destitute families to suffer.