Monday, October 25, 2010

Equipment story on TV, matching donations up to $1,000!

Our Nicaraguan organic cotton production chain, our partner Maggie's Organics and our Fair Labor Certifier Scientific Certification Systems just got a big mention in Apparel Magazine, a major publication in the textiles industry. To read the article, click here.

In other media news, a story on the spinning plant equipment debacle will be airing on WYFF News 4 in Greenville, SC on Tuesday November 9 at 5 PM and again at 6 PM, so local SC folks tune in. Those of you not in SC can see the piece as well on WYFF’s website. We're hoping this will generate publicity for the story, and bring more pressure to bear on Coker International, the Greenville-based equipment brokerage company that we paid $150,000 more than a year ago as down payment for the spinning equipment that has never been delivered. The October 5 and 8th protests in front of Coker International offices went well, thanks to those who organized them and showed up!

Meanwhile, we’re feeling first hand just how complex it is to work with an entire production chain like our organic cotton chain, especially in the process of trying to get each link going at the same time!

Organic cotton production: We’ve been working for four years to get our organic cotton production up, and this year we feel like that link is finally solid! There are 50 farmers who have planted 450 acres of organic cotton and will be employing nearly 1,000 seasonal workers in the cotton harvest this year! This is enough cotton to keep the Genesis spinning plant going for an entire year…but the downside is that since Genesis doesn’t yet have their equipment (see more on that debacle below) we had to make a choice of whether to hold on to that cotton indefinitely or sell it outside of our production chain. Unfortunately, we don’t have the economic luxury to hold onto it, so that once Genesis is up and running, they will probably have to import cotton for their production. Heavy rains have caused some crop damage, and we have seen for the first time this year isolated incidence of a fungus affecting the cotton leaves. Still, we are expecting a harvest of 250,000 to 300,000 pounds! Even better, the good news is that the market for organic cotton is excellent right now, and we’ve already pre-sold 280,000 pounds!

Cotton gin: With this year’s cotton production, our small gin will be able to work all year round, making its operation much more stable. We were saddened by the sudden death earlier this month of Uriel Hern├índez, one of the cotton gin workers (who also had formerly worked with the block making cooperative). Uriel was a kind, hardworking man and loving father. Photo at left by Ben Stechschulte

Cotton spinning: We’re seeing firsthand that when one link in the chain experiences a setback, the whole chain suffers the consequences! We have worked in good faith for over a year with Mr. Coker and Coker International to try to bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion. We still hope to do so, but time is growing short. The women and men of the Genesis spinning cooperative deserve to be treated justly. If we cannot resolve this situation soon, we will have to seek remedy in other venues.

While they wait, we are continuing to give basic grains to the Genesis folks to help them feed their families, but because of the heavy rains this year, harvests have been bad and food prices are skyrocketing…in the last few weeks the price of beans has risen from $0.40 to $1.05 per pound!

But of course the Genesis folks don’t want handouts, they want to work…in order for them to get working and start receiving the salary they so badly need, they must have machinery… fast. We've located alternative equipment, but we need money to buy it. If you are interested in helping, we need it!

We have a supporter willing to match up to $1,000 donated for spinning equipment! To make an online donation go to: Checks can be sent to CDCA, c/o Peggy Murdock, 352 Carly Lane, Rock Hill, SC 29732. For more information on how to loan money to the cooperative projects through the Vida Fund, see or email us at

-- Becca

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get $10 added to your gift right now!

If you've ever thought of donating to the CDCA online, now is the time to do so -- not only because we are in need those gifts so much right now, but also because if you donate between now and the 19th of October, we'll receive an extra $10! To celebrate their 10th anniversary of helping with charitable giving, JustGive, is adding an extra $10 to gifts made through them. Use the link and enter "JHC-CDCA" as your search information. We'll pop up, click "Donate now", and go from there. Any gift of at least $10 between October 10-19 will generate an extra $10 for us! Pass this along to your friends, please... remember it applies only to gifts given October 10-19 through Thank you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

5 October protest at Coker for Genesis...

Fifteen people showed up for the first protest in front of Coker International in Greenville, SC, supporting the Genesis spinning cooperative. Check out these photos [Channel 4 interview & partial group in front of Coker sign], and you participants.... Thanks to everybody who showed up, especially from Winthrop, Furman, and North Anderson Church... remember, we're on again for Friday!

Date & Time: 8 October,10AM - until???

Address: Coker International,
2721 Whitehorse Rd, Greenville, SC

Contact info for Narcie Jeter, organizer: