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    Program ID - bo101205

    What’s Up With Cotton?

    Cotton is found in the most unlikely places including cattle feed, paper money and even candy bars. Cotton also accounts for more than 25% of the world's insecticide use.

    As the world’s second largest cotton producer, the U.S. is seeing a slowly rising demand for a more eco-friendly, socially responsible version.

    But what are the barriers to growing organic cotton and how are farmers tackling the unique challenges of growing the world’s most popular fabric?

    Join host Jerry Kay, publisher of the Environmental News Network, as we learn about sustainable clothing, the challenges of growing organic cotton and how pesticide exposure is affecting farm workers.

    This Week's Guests:

    Lynda Grose — Sustainable Cotton Project

    Lynda has been involved in the organic cotton industry since 1990. She co-founded the Esprit Ecollection, the first complete ecological clothing line distributed internationally by a major corporation. She has first-hand international experience in manufacturing and marketing organic cotton, and currently advises international development organizations, manufacturers, and non-profit organizations in the textile industry. She is a founding member of The Center for Sustainable Design, Surrey, England, and the International Society for Sustainable Design.

    Since 1994, The Sustainable Cotton Project has been working with farmers, manufacturers and consumers to create markets for certified organically grown and sustainable cotton, including working on the ground with local farmers.

    Don Cameron — Cotton Farmer, Terranova Ranch

    Don currently farms 5,700 acres in the Central San Joaquin Valley in addition to the approximately 1,200 acres that he custom farms for other landowners. Terranova Ranch produces numerous crops grown with conventional, biotech and organic practices. It includes 628 acres of organic or transitional ground certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). Cameron’s organic crops include tomatoes, Pima cotton, walnuts, oat seed, wheat, alfalfa hay, oat hay, spinach, herbs such as sweet basil, cilantro, onions, garlic; as well as organic seed crops of dill, basil, lemon basil, gourds, broccoli, and various lettuces. Don is active in promoting “coexistence” between organic and biotech crops as a viable alternative to conventional organic agriculture.

    Dr. Oscar Sablan — Physician, Firebaugh, Calif.

    Dr. Sablan and his wife Dr. Marcia Sablan began their private medical practice in Firebaugh in the early 1980’s. They serve an area with a population of approximately 25,000 people. A large portion of the Sablan’s patients are migratory farmworkers who work in the chemically intensive croplands of the San Joaquin Valley. The Sablans have been monitoring a number of their patients who have been acutely exposed to pesticides and suffer from chronic disease. At the time of our interview Dr. Sablan was being deployed to the Gulf Coast by the American Red Cross for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    More information:

  • Book: Big Cotton: How A Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map – By Stephen Yafa
  • Sustainable Cotton Project
  • Organic Trade Association – Cotton
  • International Organic Cotton Directory

  • Resources for Journalists:

    Journalists who are interested in researching stories related to any Beyond Organic show topic are encouraged to contact Straus Communication for additional resources, including trend data, background materials, experts, statistics, images and more. The service is free.

    Please contact Michael Straus at 415-777-1170 x 302 or email for more information.



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