Cotton: The World’s Dirtiest Crop

Cotton by the Rodale’s Team

This month Rodale’s is commemorating our second anniversary! To celebrate, we want to share with you a little information about the traditional second anniversary gift of cotton. For us, any cotton gift must be organic cotton.

Why organic?

Because in today’s world of “fast fashion”—where trends change quickly and clothes are made fast and cheap (and then discarded almost as quickly)—conventionally grown cotton has become the world’s dirtiest crop. I’ll say that again to let it sink in: The world’s dirtiest crop.

Growing appetites for fast, cheap clothing have created a high demand for cotton. And these days, conventional cotton typically begins its life as a genetically modified seed bred to contain the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which works as an insecticide on some types of pests. Despite this bacterium, Bt cotton plants are often sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and as much as 25 percent of the world’s insecticides.

Once this dirty cotton is picked, it’s spun into threads, turned into cottonseed oil, fed to farm animals that we later eat, and used as fillers in a range of processed foods that line our grocery aisles and pantry shelves. Which means that all those pesticides and chemicals are making their way from the farms into our waterways, clothes, and food.

Along the way, these toxins are potentially being exposed to not just cotton farmers, but to the workers making the clothing, the retail workers handling the clothing, and to the final customers purchasing them.

Luckily, organic cotton is different. Very different. It’s grown without pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, is never genetically engineered, and is safe for farmers, our waterways, our soil, and us. So when you buy and wear organic cotton as a conscious consumer, you’re supporting the “slow fashion” movement and sustainability, while also supporting your family, your neighbors, your farmers, and the textile workers around the world that make the clothes we wear every day.

And that’s why organic cotton is something to celebrate—and celebrate with!

6 reasons to celebrate organic cotton:

1. Organic cottonseeds are never genetically modified.

2. Organic cotton is grown without pesticides, herbicides or insecticides.

3. Organic cotton farming processes are safer our farmers, communities, soil and water.

4. Organic cotton doesn’t poison our earth or our bodies.

5. Organic cotton has a lower carbon footprint.

6. Organic cotton feels amazing!

6 organic cotton favorites to celebrate:

1. Organic Cotton Dylann Dress


2. Handprinted Organic Cotton Napkins


3. Organic Cotton Reusable Coffee Filter


4. Organic Pima Cotton Shirttail Tank


5. Organic Cotton Handmade Indigo Stripe Tote


6. Organic Cotton Verbena Pants


Find more slow fashion and organic cotton favorites at!


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