Below is an excerpt from our 2012 Annual Report. Download a PDF of the entire report here: 2012 Annual Report


rb with friend

Founder’s Letter

Two years ago, the Fibershed project began with a personal commitment to change the way I dressed myself. The goal was to align my values for local agriculture, ecological balance, and regional economies with my wardrobe. These values had landed within me strongly after years of evaluating the causes for inequity and terror in our world—it dawned on me that our evolution in western culture into complex societies had left a majority of us helpless in providing for many of our own material needs—the foundation for our survival is mostly dependent upon cheap goods coming from nameless, faceless parts of the world—ripe with poverty, modern day slavery and a host of oppressing social and environmental injustices.

In response to these conditions, I took to investigating my own community to identify and harness materials and local resources that could keep me warm, and well dressed. The intent is, and was, to unplug from the system that harms, into the creation of one that does not. Since that time when the first locally farmed garment prototypes were developed, I have come to recognize that the resources to clothe our communities are well within reach.

There is more fiber being grown each year, than we even know how to manage, or process. There are more artisans, and emerging small manufacturers awaiting an economic imperative to enhance the scope of their work, and improve their skills, than we could have ever fathomed.

2012 was about identifying, catalyzing, and building a community around these individuals—farmers, ranchers, artisans, and skilled crafts people. We have taken the year to lay a foundation for Fibershed as a non-profit organization that is built upon relationships—by listening to those in the field, and by choosing a board of directors who resembles those we wish to serve, we have been able to create a mission, vision, and set of strategic programs that reflect our goal of building a regional and ecologically harmonious textile system.

With this in mind, some of the highlights of our year included the building of the first indigo composting floor in North America. We administered four multi-day workshops in critical fiber processing skills. We have provided over 50 presentations to schools, guilds, and non-profit organizations on the subject of ‘the true cost of clothing’, and we launched our region’s first producer, vendor, and Fibershed affiliate programs. We also produced our region’s first wool symposium to bring urban and rural farm and design communities together. Our list of activities was extensive, and is described in more detail in the 2012 Annual Report, but the main point of all this activity was and is to build a community of educated, caring, and responsive children and adults who care about the environmental and societal impact of what they wear, and have the tools—both the knowledge and hands-on skills—to begin the journey of dressing themselves responsibly.

We look forward to 2013—a year in which we are poised to provide the needed metrics and data to understand how we can build our regional textile system at a scale that will serve the greater populace of our communities. We are laying the foundation for increased access to locally farmed clothing, increased numbers of local manufacturing jobs, a reduction in the CO2 footprint of our garments, and a diversification and lowering of the prices of regionally grown and manufactured clothes. There is much work to be done to improve our regional supply chain, and it all begins with understanding our existing supply of homegrown fibers.

Thank you for all you do to support, learn, and participate in this emerging Fibershed community. All of you who’ve become early adopters—we couldn’t be more grateful. It is your passion and heart that move our small and dedicated team down our critical path.

In thanks and gratitude,
Rebecca Burgess

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For Emily Cunetto, the most critical part of her knitwear design process is when a clear vision of the piece arises from the material. To begin, she says, “I go for a fiber that speaks to me in some way.” From there, her designs are “a series of experiments, with this stitch or that needle” and then “it’s all about math once you get the swatch worked out.”
Click through to read about Emily's explorations of the Fibershed, from swatch knitting for the Wool & Fine Fiber Book to collaborating with Sheep to Shop for a grass-fed top on the Grow Your Jeans runway:
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Don't miss Windrush Farm's Holiday Art Sale this Sunday in Petaluma! Support local artisans directly and experience the beauty of the local scenery, and delicious wood-fired pizza. See poster for details: ... See MoreSee Less

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An inspiring interview -- click through to listen to Keila McKracken, Northern Minnesota Fibershed affiliate organizer, describe the 100-mile farm to fashion hub she's building in Bemidji, Minnesota. Keila may have brought the first Hattersley Loom to our continent, and her weaving studio Bare Cloth: Hattersley Goes Stateside produces local cloth that celebrates her community: ... See MoreSee Less

Keila McCracken says that clothing can tell people who we are, what we like, and even where we're from. And she should know. She's a sustainable fashion designer who studied in New York at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Keila runs Bare Cloth Studios, where she uses a pretty unique loom to weav…

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