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Episode 52: Cultivating Naturally Colored Cotton with Sally Fox

by LaChaun Moore

This week on the Podcast LaChaun is talking with Sally Fox. Sally is an organic bio-dynamic farmer located in the Capay Valley of Northern California. In addition to her climate beneficial wool Sally Fox has made a huge contribution to the genetics of cultivating and bringing naturally colored cotton to the market. In our conversation, we talk about how she got started as a farmer and some of the trials and tribulations she’s faced to keep her farm operation running. Comment below to keep the conversation going !

Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox
Sally Fox


8 Responses

anna
anna

March 02, 2019

Thank you, Sally for your tenacity and dedication. Science in service to that higher ideal will come back around again eventually. We are just very slow on the up take, sadly. And of course color has great value for humans. It’s one of the major factors that has kept me spinning and weaving for over 20 years. I shouldn’t have to say it but we must stop poisoning ourselves and our plant. Very moving. Thanks for hanging in there!

Melanie Dunkley
Melanie Dunkley

February 28, 2019

Great interview. I was very moved by Sally’s dedication to her vision and then confounded by how other people’s greed and fears compromised this important endeavour. This story and the shift of the toxicity problem from the US to poorer countries and the resultant damage to the industry demonstrate how complex is our interdependent economy and ecology. It’s certainly not black and white (pun intended). So much to think about.

Kate Colwell
Kate Colwell

February 27, 2019

Great job both of you. Sally I have talked to you, seen you demonstrate and at CNCH and woven with your beautiful cotton as well as read your articles, but I never knew the whole backstory of how you fell into your love of colored cotton, nor the more ancient history of cotton coming to the New World. Thank you LaChaun for asking the questions and Sally for providing so much entertaining information.

Eileen McGuire
Eileen McGuire

February 26, 2019

Sally, Your story is so powerful! You are an inspiration for all. Eileen

Kathryn Dane
Kathryn Dane

February 26, 2019

Sally, I listened to your interview on the Gist podcast with great interest and admiration for what you have done and what you are doing in agriculture and production. I live in Lubbock, Texas, a very productive cotton growing region in the United States. In just the last couple of years, I have come to find out that the majority of the cotton grown in the High Plains region of Texas is exported to China. About, six to eight years ago, a manufacturing plant belonging to Levi Straus and located in Littlefield, Texas (25 mile away) was closed. The plant wove the fabric and manufactured the jeans sold throughout the world. I am not aware of any textile manufacturing operations in Texas at this time. Growing cotton for commercial production is a very expensive process. The cotton grown in this region is planted with chemical pest control and chemical fertilizer use in mind. Most of the cotton grown here is irrigated although some is grown as dryland cotton. More and more mechanization is used in the farming operation. In the seventies, high school students earned their spending money each year, “tromping cotton” where it was harvested into open trailers. My family was gone from the area for 20 years. While we were away, modularization of the cotton harvest became the preferred practice. And now, storing harvested cotton in round bails in the fields is becoming the norm.

I have been told that Texas cotton growers are averse to having farms where organic cotton is grown and particularly where colored cotton is grown. Farmers have expressed concern that pests would be attracted to organic cotton, that their own pesticide use would render organic cotton nonorganic and that gins could not process both white, nonorganic cotton and colored organic cotton without affecting the quality of each. As you mentioned, these concerns are valid concerns, but not insurmountable issues. Addressing these issues would require a tremendous degree of cooperation and dedication, but I believe, there is room for both types of cotton cultivation in Texas and in other cotton growing states.

Thanks for your dedication and commitment to the cultivation and production of naturally colored cotton.

Phillenore
Phillenore

February 26, 2019

Fascinating interview.

Sally Fox
Sally Fox

February 26, 2019

I wrote an article for Spin Off magazine in the mid 1980’s with all of this information. It can be found in any book on cotton. But perhaps I should write more about it in my newsletters. If you want to subscribe to them- no worries, you won’t get a million e-mails from me as I only write one about 1 or 2 times per year- you can sign up at my website: www.vreseis.com

Phillenore Howard
Phillenore Howard

February 26, 2019

Sally, have you published an essay which describes the history of cotton domestication in the new and old worlds like you described in the Gist podcast?

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