Australia’s Cotton Industry
We all want the very best for our little ones and I believe organic to be the gold-star option. So when it came to sourcing fabric for our small mum-and-dad label Rowdy Roo, naturally I turned to organic cotton. Breathable natural fibres, free of pesticides, heavy metals and chlorine bleaching - it’s what I want for my babies and I know it’s what many parents want for their own. So you can imagine my shock when I discovered not one of the 1500 cotton farms in Australia was certified to produce an organic crop.
According to Cotton Australia, the industry’s peak body, local growers believe it’s not economically viable to produce pesticide free cotton in Australia. “A small number of Australian cotton growers have experimented with organic cotton in the past, but it proved to be uneconomical to grow and has therefore inhibited it from entering long-term commercial production in Australia,” according to Cotton Australia.
The worlds largest producer of organic cotton is India which is where we source our cotton for Rowdy Roo. While I understand and emphasise with the challenges experienced by Australian cotton growers, sourcing cotton was important to us.
Textile Exchange is a non-profit devoted to textile sustainability. They have created the resource aboutorganiccotton.org to inform consumers of the benefits of choosing organic cotton. According to them, choosing organic cotton doesn’t just benefit you by reducing your family’s exposure to pesticides but it also has flow on effects for the environment and the people involved in its farming and manufacturing processes.
“Growing organic cotton keeps farmers and their families safe. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. It also means farmers grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.”