Beyond Organic Food

        Organic cotton or organic textiles do not immediately come to mind when thinking of organic products. Food is usually the first thing. The benefits of eating organically are known to many as being healthier, more nutritious, not genetically modified, free from pesticides, chemicals and hormones. The production is typically done on a smaller scale and is safer for the individuals involved in the farming process. This is true especially because farmers don’t have to be exposed to toxic chemicals.

        But what does it mean to be organic? Organic is a labeling term to identify food that is grown to certain standards that do not use harsh chemicals, pesticides or hormones from the actual seed to plant. As a whole, organic food is also considered to be more sustainable and better for the environment as it promotes biodiversity.

        While organic food today has gained its own reputation, the actual concept of organic extends far beyond the food we eat. Things that have been cultivated and grown for hundreds or even thousands of years can be organically cultivated because they never relied on pesticides or chemicals in the first place. Natural fibers can be organic because they come from plants unlike synthetically engineered materials. Cotton was around long before the introduction of chemicals, pesticides and plastic fibers. Like so many iconic crops, it has been cultivated for thousands of years without the use of chemicals. Cotton finds its place in what we wear, how we clean our ears, what we sleep in, our coffee filters and various other practical uses.

     Even with the introduction of other fibers around the mid 1900s, cotton still remains a popular choice today. But just like food, there are two types of cotton – one that is conventionally grown and one that is organic. Organic cotton is most similar to original cotton and unlike conventionally grown cotton, it is not genetically modified and does not rely heavily on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the farming process. With the increasing shift toward more sustainable products, organic cotton is garnering attention for being healthier and more earth friendly.

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