Fine Cotton From the Ground Up
Outside the town of Pollachi (southern India) we visited the Appachi cotton farm to see organic cotton being grown. It is a small farm of only 3 acres which is a traditional size for a small farm in India. They grow long staple cotton which is handpicked and is sent to their mill. We heard an interesting presentation about small organic farming. The speaker is well known but I didn’t take down his name. He is the one wearing white in the group photo. He told us what a cattle farmer is mainly interested in is how much dung and urine his cows produce. Near the end of the talk we heard a cow coming close giving a long “Moooooo” . I looked around us and realized we were sitting on folding chairs in a cow shed. Soon a bunch of cows came up and as soon as our chairs were folded away, the cows were let in the shed to eat. There were troughs for both ends—food at one end and dung and urine at the other. On the left in the picture is Yoshiko Wada our tour leader. On the right are the husband and wife who are the owners of the farm, a cotton spinning mill, and a weaving business, called Ethicus which will be in the next post.
We were given a wonderful lunch by the owners of these businesses and over the doorway in their home was a picture of Kama Denu, the cow god. (In the South, cattle raising is important. On the plane to Delhi the man sitting next to me saw the photo and knew about this god, so it is not an insignificant deity.)
We were taken to a huge cotton spinning mill where the cotton fibers are processed into pretty thin yarns (160s). At Ethicus, we were shown extra fine cotton that was going to be handspun—the sample scarf we were shown was woven into cloth so fine that it passed through a wedding ring. The sizes of the threads were: warp 1/160s and weft 1/230s. [click first photo below]