In this episode we’re discussing the origins of Fibershed from a community-sourced wardrobe challenge to an organization working with many communities to shift how clothing is made and how it impacts our climate and ecosystem health.
Today we’re touching base with Rebecca Burgess, whose voice you will recognize from past podcast episodes and many aspects of Fibershed’s work.
Rebecca is the founder and Executive Director of Fibershed and she also serves as Chair of the Board for Carbon Cycle Institute. She has over a decade of experience writing and implementing a hands-on curriculum that focuses on the intersection of restoration ecology and fiber systems. She has taught at Westminster College, Harvard University, and has created workshops for a range of NGOs and corporations. She is the author of the best-selling book Harvesting Color, a bioregional look into the natural dye traditions of North America, and Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy released in 2019. She has facilitated an extensive network of farmers and artisans within our region’s Northern California Fibershed to pilot the regenerative fiber systems model at the community scale.
We wanted to bring you with us in conversation as we trace the threads from the days when Rebecca was collaborating with local farmers and artists to develop a prototype wardrobe that was completely locally grown and made, to connecting with communities around the world for shared visions of locally farmed fashion and textiles.
We talk about how the vision and idea of “soil to soil” fiber systems came to be, and then walk through a few different ways that Fibershed is working to align and uplift pieces of the system to make it possible for more people to choose, wear, and work in a regional fiber economy that contributes to ecosystem restoration.
- Fibershed: Growing A Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy – learn more about the book here
- “150-mile wardrobe: local fiber, real color, P2P economy,” a video interview from 2011
- Revisit the One Year Wardrobe collaborators in the archives of the Fibershed blog: “Mother of Invention” (Nov. 2011) shows Katherine Jolda’s bike-powered felting process; “Pokeberry Bliss” captures the shift from wardrobe to community-based organization; “The Year Begins” reflects on some of the very first garments
- Fibershed’s 2014 Wool Mill Vision and supply analysis
- Carbon Cycle Institute
- Marin Carbon Project (featured in the New York Times: Can Dirt Save the Earth?)
- Learn more about Biosynthetic Fibers
- The Regional Fiber Manufacturing Initiative
- Fibershed Affiliate Network
Thanks for listening to the ninth episode of Soil to Soil, a podcast connecting the dots in the lifecycle of clothing and material culture, brought to you by Fibershed, which is a non-profit organization based in Northern California. Each episode offers a look at how, and why, our community is working to cultivate fiber and dye systems that build soil & protect the health of our biosphere.