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FIBERSHED...based on ecological balance, local economies, and regional organic agriculture  RSS feed

 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5955
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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This is a non=profit organization bringing together mindful fiber producers very much in line with permaculture.

This is based in Northern California.........I"m hoping to find more such organizations world wide.........does anyone know of any?

FIBERSHED.COM

Fibershed is a non-profit organization that provides experiential education that both generates awareness, and teaches the necessary skills within our community to build and sustain a thriving bioregional textile culture that functions hand-in-hand with principles of ecological balance, local economies, and regional organic agriculture.


they list a number of farms/projects....here is a link to one of them...............


THIS is the first farm listed....two couples sharing the land....raising alpacas and growing food.....one of the husbands is a 'trained permaculturist'.
alpaca.jpg
[Thumbnail for alpaca.jpg]
noelle gaberman-a life of alpaca artistry
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5955
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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and an example of their education programs...........DYE GARDEN CURRICULUM

Eight lessons in biological diversity, resource management, native wisdom, and natural dyeing.


The creation of natural color goes hand-in-hand with conservation of habitat, the creation of topsoil, and the increase of biodiversity. Through this full cycle of designing, planting, observing, harvesting, and manipulating—students become aware and are exposed to a process with a life-cycle that is regenerative vs. degenerative.





 
r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Can we revive this conversation? I know it's old, but it's a topic I'm very interested in.

What other parts of the world have done work with their fibre shed? How do I find other artisans who would be interested in working to create local clothings? There are a lot who spin, weave, felt and sew for fun, but none seem interested in taking it on as a larger project. I think I'm looking in the wrong places.

I grow, spin and weave fibre - flax and animal fibres, with a dabbling in local silkmoths and nettles. It would be wonderful to find someone who can work with me to take this to the next level. Even better, to educate the public that we have the materials here to make some fantastic natural clothing. There are something like 30,000 (or am I missing a zero?) sheep on our island, most of their wool goes unused. That doesn't include goats, llamas, alpacas, ... yes, alpacas, one of mine gives over 10 pounds of useable fleece a shearing.

Any inspiration or motivation? What have you done to support your fibre shed?
 
Dillon Nichols
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I don't have a lot to add here, but the farm up near Duncan that I spent last summer on had a handful of sheep... and several years worth of fleeces stored in the carport since she hadn't found anyone interested in buying it. If you happen to find the right places to contact these hopefully not imaginary people, do let me know! It is not very satisfying to spend a day wrangling sheep to have them ready for the sheerer, watch him work his magic... and then throw the results of all our labour in a pile to moulder. Doesn't feel right.

I suspect this subject gets less attention than others simply due to being a lower cost item: I must eat every day, live somewhere every day, and frequently move from place to place, but I go a long time between buying clothing. Most people spend a lot more on rent/housing than on food, and a lot more on food than on clothing, so... bottom of the priority list for self sufficiency, at least for me! However, since the raw material is already available, it really seems foolish to just waste it.

 
r ranson
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I know quite a few places on the island where she can get in touch with fleece buyers. I buy some myself if the quality is awesome, and broker some for a local shop as well. Don't let this get out, but some fibre artist are a bit snobbish when it comes to breed of sheep - but others just want good quality wool. So, depending on the sheep, I might be able to suggest a buyer.

If you know anyone giving away fleece on South Van Isl... I need 100 sheep fleeces for a project I'm doing later this summer. They don't have to be great quality, as they will be felted into a yurt wall. Moth free, feltable and free are my only needs for this project. Fleeces that have a 'break' in them (from a change of nutrition or stress or nursing, or whatever) are useless for spinning, but fine for this project.


It's a shame that clothing isn't an issue to most people. It seems like one of the most unsustainable industries, after food production. I think there are a lot of environmental issues as well as human rights problems with what we wear in the west. They say cotton alone takes about 90% of the world's pesticide use. Who can afford organic cotton anyway? We can grow flax locally with very little environmental input - although it grows better on land where sheep had a chance to graze. Linen is also better suited to our summer weather than cotton. And anyone who's worn a Cowichan sweater during a west coast winter, knows how much better suited to our weather wool is than a synthetic hoodie.

I'm finding it more and more difficult to find natural fibre clothing in my price range. It's getting to the point where I need to start getting serious about making my own. Only... I am a moderate sewer at best, and can't figure out how to change the pattern to fit my body - I've tried, gone to classes even, it's useless, my brain won't learn it. I bet there are clever people out there that do know how to do this... I can make fabric, they can make clothes... sounds like a good match to me.

Once you get the hang of it, it only takes an hour to spin enough yarn for a sock - on a drop spindle. Several socks worth of yarn in the time it takes waiting for the ferry in the summer holidays. Longer to knit the sock of course, but that's another issue. But as you already know where to get the fibre, if you ever wanted to learn, I know a few teachers in town.

 
Valerie Dawnstar
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Location: North Central New York
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I, too, am interested in following this topic, even though I am on the east coast of this continent. I am still searching for anyone in my local fibershed.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Even in the Netherlands Fibershed has started! It's named: Fibershed De Lage Landen. The website http://www.fibershed.nl/ is in Dutch, but of course you can look at the photos.
Another group for local permaculture small-scale non-food production is Permanet (NL). Most active in this FB-group https://www.facebook.com/groups/967749426622027/?fref=ts (in Dutch), but there's a website with a forum too: http://permanet.net/
 
r ranson
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Today I had two different weavers get in touch with me.  They want to find locally made yarn that they can use for making cloth to sell.

The demand for locally produced yarn is growing. Especially linen.  But we don't have the info structure set up locally to do it.  I could grow the raw materials, send them to the other side of the continent to be processed, then have them shipped back.  Or maybe there is enough demand to get our own local milling equipment.  These are some things I'm investigating this year.  What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to have locally produced linen yarn and is there enough demand to support it?  I think there is.  The equipment now exists that we can do it. 

So demand and proof that these crops grow well here.  We have the know-how to make the yarn, and the equipment to process on this scale exists and can be bought.    How do we get from that to a functioning fibreshed?
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Also here in the Netherlands some people are investigating like you R.Ranson. Flax is still grown in the southern provinces and in Belgium, but most of it is shipped to Asia for the production of linen. Only the best quality yarn is shipped back to be woven (damast table cloths) in Belgium. But now the demand for totally locally produced yarns is growing, two Fibershed groups are started (one for the southern provinces and Belgium, the other in the north-eastern part). It seems they are succeeding in their contacts with flax growers (to grow organic flax) and small-scale producers of linen yarns.
I follow these initiatives of 'Fibershed De Lage Landen' with interest and will keep you up-to-date (they are not on the Permies forum).
 
r ranson
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Here's a brilliant article on fibershed and the benefits it can have on the soil and climate



It addresses some of the problems with the current fashion industry and offers practical solutions and examples of people putting those into practice. 

And we know that such working lands, in our Fibershed and around the world, can produce incredible natural fibers, from naturally colored cotton to next-to-skin soft wool, sturdy bast fibers like hemp and flax linen, luxurious alpaca and other fine fibers, and coarse wool that makes cozy bedding and durable goods. With fibers in hand, there are still mills across the US that can serve as supply chain partners and avoid transcontinental shipping, and  by blending different natural fibers we can create textiles with amazing material properties that keep us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, allow our skin to breath, and that last a long time in our wardrobe or home.

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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It's going well with Fibershed in the Netherlands. The group in the eastern part of the country (including a small part of Germany) officially started. We had a meeting the 5th of May with five people (some more were interested but could not be there that day). The name will be Fibershed Nederland. The other group, in the south-western part and Flanders (Belgium), is called Fibershed De Lage Landen. Both are active on Facebook. Fibershed Nederland will organise regular meetings and activities. First activity will be at a sheep clipping day at Deventer May 29. There will be demonstrations, a.o. of spinning with a spindle and a spinning wheel.
Want to know more? Contact Maaike Hoijtink, maaikehoijtink@me.com, or Shanti Seton, shantiseton@gmail.com or me (Inge) through this forum. 

At the photo you see the start meeting of Fibershed Nederland, with Gregor knitting the wool he spun and dyed (and me who never saw someone knitting with such large needles before).
 
r ranson
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A podcast interview with Rebecca Burgess
Rebecca Burgess is an ecological restoration educator, author, and textile artist. Burgess is the founder of the Fibershed Project; a year-long challenge to live in clothes made from fibers sourced within 150 miles from her home. In this interview, Burgess explains what a fibershed is, talks about the hidden environmental costs of the textile industry, and shares with listeners some of her favorite natural fabrics.

 
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