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 Hernández, 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: http://www.jhc-cdca.org/donation.html 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 http://www.jhc-cdca.org/VidaFund.html or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org