Staff

Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed. She has two decades of experience working at the intersection of ecology, fiber systems, and regional economic development. 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 taught at Westminster College, Harvard University, and California College of the Arts. She also holds a new board position at the Livestock Conservancy and is serving on the leadership council of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at Chico State University.

Mike Conover is Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial™ Technician. He collaborates with land stewards within our Climate Beneficial Agriculture program, supporting them with carbon farm plan implementation and CB verification. Mike is thrilled to contribute to this community of producers and makers. He holds an M.S. in Ecological Design from the Conway School and has spent the past decade studying and practicing regenerative agriculture and sustainable land-planning. He sees regenerative agriculture as an essential strategy to address global climate change, rebuild healthy soils, and create a more resilient regional economy around food and fiber.

Heather Podoll is the Partnership & Advocacy Coordinator for Fibershed. She manages communication and outreach relating to public grants and other core Fibershed projects. Heather holds an M.S. in Agricultural Ecology from UC Davis. She has spent the past 20 years involved with research, practice, promotion, and teaching of sustainable and organic agricultural systems, working with a range of nonprofit, philanthropic and educational organizations. As an avid knitter, she is delighted to bring together her background in ecological research and agricultural systems with a holistic and local perspective on fiber arts and textile systems.

Marisol Valles is the Deputy Director for Fibershed. She is a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in non-profit and hospitality management graduating with a BA from San Francisco State University. Through her solid management, a keen eye for detail, and consistent application of policy, Marisol oversees the operations, human resources, and finances for the organization.

Fibershed works with a talented team of consultants and project leaders, all of whom conduct specialized services for the organization. For a full list of contractors, please contact Marisol Valles at marisol@fibershed.org.

Board of Directors

Rebecca Burgess, M.Ed, Chair

Rebecca is an indigo farmer, author, and community organizer. Her work is focused on natural dye processes and regenerative agriculture, textile education and public speaking. She is the executive director of Fibershed.

Kat Anderson, Ph.D

Kat has a Ph.D. in Wildland Resource Science from UC Berkeley and is the author of the book Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources. The book was recently chosen by the celebrated permaculture designer Ben Falk, as one of the most important books to read in order to permanently solve food security. Kat has worked with Native Americans for over 25 years, learning how indigenous people judiciously gather and steward native plants and ecosystems in the wild. Her interests are to learn, celebrate, and restore the similar plant uses, gathering and tending practices, and ethical stances towards nature that are in multiple local cultures here and around the world.

Marlie de Swart, Treasurer

Marlie is a fiber skills educator and small business owner, as well as a fiber and ceramic artist. She has been involved in creating fiber works from local sources since childhood. She grew up in Holland, graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris and Occidental College in Southern California, and met her husband while attending Art Center College of Design. Currently Marlie has a local fiber arts cooperative store, Black Mountain Artisans, in Point Reyes Station. She recently published a book of her knitting designs called Knitting Woolscapes, Designs Inspired by Coastal Marin Wool.

Nick L. Tipon

Nick is a member and elder of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. A retired high school teacher, he has served as Chair of the Tribal Education Committee and the Sacred Sites Protection Committee of Graton Rancheria. He was a Board member of the California Mission Foundation. He is currently a Board member of the Historical Society of Santa Rosa, Fibershed, and is a consultant for the National Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Richmond History Museum and the Field Museum of History in Chicago, Illinois. He is an active faculty member of the STRAW (Students Teachers Restoring A Watershed).

Among Nick’s current interests is investigating the effects of the colonialism during the “contact period” on his ancestors, by the Russians, English and Spanish. He is investigating the impacts of climate change on sacred Tribal resources and lands from a cultural perspective and TEK (Traditional Environmental Knowledge) perspective. He was recently a presenter at the California Adaption Forum on these topics.

Dustin Kahn, Secretary

Dustin has been a graphic designer for nearly 40 years, currently working primarily in publication and website design. She also grows dye plants and is a natural dye instructor, having studied natural dyes since 2009, with a special interest in indigo. For three years, Dustin was a partner in West County Fiber Arts, a fiber arts school in Sonoma County, and she is currently organizing fiber arts classes for the Fibershed Learning Center.

Fibershed is a California non-profit corporation exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Staff photos by Paige Green