What’s a Fibreshed?
Remember when that book 100 Mile Diet came out a few years ago and suddenly everyone was talking about eating locally? Think of Rebecca Burgess and her Fibershed project as the fibre equivalent of the eat-local movement. Taking the concept of ecological sustainability, community building and local economic development, Burgess is building a network of producers, processors and artisans that cultivate local fibres and create local textiles throughout northern California.
Burgess defines a fibreshed as:
a geographical landscape that defines and gives boundaries to a natural textile resource base. Awareness of this bioregional designation engenders appreciation, connectivity, and sensitivity for the life-giving resources within our homelands.
Think “Soil to Skin”
Rather than charting a convoluted and chemically driven loop around the globe to access our clothes and textiles, Burgess envisions interlinking, regional fibre and textile economies based upon principles we’re all very aware of: right livelihood, the preservation of craft and quality, cultural diversity, ecological sustainability, low-carbon emissions and reduced dependency on chemical and industrial processes.
She’s also spreading the good word and supporting others in developing their own local fibresheds and they are springing up across North America and the UK. Here in Southern Ontario we fall within the Upper Canada Fibreshed.
Remember field trips in grade school? I loved bundling up onto a bus with all my classmates and taking a day to explore the world outside of my daily routine. For me one of the best parts of a field trip was sharing all my stories and adventures with everyone back home. I loved detailing all the treasures of the day and seeing others get excited by new ideas, different places and wonderful people.
I’ve never grown out of my love of field trips or storytelling. In this space I am resurrecting the fine art of field tripping and traveling throughout our Upper Canada Fibreshed (and beyond!). I am visiting fibre farmers, producers, processors, artisans, makers and sellers that are all working to recreate a vibrant, local fibre and textile economy. And I am bringing back their stories, their ideas and their products just for you.
I hope you enjoy every moment of the adventure.
If you are fibre farmer, producer, processor, artisan, maker and/or seller actively building your sustainable and local fibreshed and you are interested being a guest on this blog, I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.