I'm subject to obsessions. I'm in the midst of a 2 year search for US grown and milled cotton sheets. 30 years ago I could have walked into JC Penney's and bought them off the shelf. Now, it takes two years to find them.
As it turns out, I just happened to begin my obsessive search during one of our nations biggest industry declines. 80% of cotton fabric was milled in the US in 1985 and now it is about 5%. According to NPR:
Between 2006 and '09, U.S. cotton acreage dropped by 40 percent...
"The old world of cotton is probably dead," says Darren Hudson, director of the Cotton Economics Research Institute at Texas Tech University.
Now, I'm not hung up on cotton. I can't grow it here in Big Stone County anyway. So give me any old US grown and made fiber sheets- there's hemp, bamboo, flax makes linen.
I'm willing to save my pennies and buy some USA grown, milled and manufactured sheets. I've found some organic cotton sheets that are US made- start to finish. And they are expensive. But I consider that every single purchase I make a donation to the kind of world I want to live in. I vote with my pocket book. I could buy cheap sheets from Target and then pay higher taxes to support unemployed Americans who once worked in textile mills. We pay for this loss of capacity in many ways, besides workers dignity. We dismantle our ability to feed and clothes ourselves (as a nation) at our peril.
We need to keep making things-- real things that people need and use. Like sheets. I do not consider creating innovative investment instruments noble work. Bundling subprime mortgages into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) creates nothing in this world but a mess- frankly.
There is a movement towards re-localization- local foods, local energy and now I think we need to start paying attention to local fiber. Mark my word- it's the next big thing.
Here in Big Stone County we can grow flax, alpaca, sheep, fancy goats with great soft fur. I'm hooked man. This could be a great place to start the Fiber Revolution.