by Winifred Culp
For years I have wanted to track the process of making safe and pure fabric by starting with the seed in the field. Going to Texas was the first stop, with meeting the farmers and seeing the fall cotton harvest. It was a total surprise to receive the 2013 Golden Hoe Award from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative.
Receiving the award is an acknowledgement of the work I’ve been doing to promote American-grown and US-made organic cotton fabric. Over the years we’ve been in business, I’ve noticed that more fabrics are being produced overseas. I’ve witnessed the textile infrastructure disappearing in this country. When I was young, USA-made clothing was linked to pride. Now the focus is on cheap, without looking at the hidden costs. That’s why we became passionate about quality when my grandson baby Neil was born prematurely.
We began to examine the hidden costs of cheap fabric. It’s more than the design and the feel of the fabric. Could a pair of pajamas affect Neil’s fragile health? Labels didn’t always reveal how the fabric was processed and what residue has been left behind for the baby’s skin to absorb.
When Neil was born 15 years ago, we were very much aware of the environment we were bringing him into. We had questions about the safety of commercial blankets, sheets, clothing, rugs, and stuffing in the furniture. So we got out our sewing machines and started stitching. This is our story, and we’ve witnessed over the past 12 years the growing numbers of people make the transition to safe and pure fabrics when a baby is born into a family.
Winifred Culp, the granddaughter of Edna Buckman Kearns, grew up hearing the stories of her grandmother’s efforts to bring to public attention the perspective that women and especially mothers should participate in the democratic process.
“During the summer, my mother got us five children dressed up and we sat in Grandmother Edna’s suffrage wagon for our yearly photograph. That was my education about the suffrage movement, and that’s when I learned that it took women 72 years to win the vote.”
SAFEfabric.org runs in the family. See story.
This story goes back to 1998 with Neil’s birth as a preemie that led us on our journey for safe fabrics.
The Texas organic farmers are anxiously awaiting our arrival as we’re headed to Lubbock, Texas for the annual harvest day of organic cotton, an event sponsored by the Texas Organic Farmers Marketing Cooperative. The spotlight is on these farmers because they produce the lion’s share of organic cotton for the U.S. market. Have they produced enough organic cotton in 2013 for the increasing demands in the marketplace? We’ll be in the heart of the South Plains of Texas where most of the organic cotton in the United States is grown. We’ll get to know the farmers personally and bring the news back to you.