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What Is A Fibershed?

What Is A Fibershed?

I’ve always appreciated plant-dyed products, but recently I’ve become more interested in the process and fascinated by the nature around us and what it can do, thanks to Rebecca Desnos author of @plantsaremagic.

I was researching different plant dyers when *AVFKW* mentioned a Fibershed, which is something I had never heard about. I did a quick google search and was truly in awe of Fibershed's founder Rebecca Burgess (yes,a different Rebecca :)) and her mission, purpose and success thus far.

Rebecca, a master dyer and textile expert took a deep look at farmers and textile mills within the proximity of her home. She wondered how she could dress herself using dyes, fibers and labor within the smallest radius possible and created a Kickstarter to find out. 

Most of us buy our clothes from all over the world. People aren't necessarily aware of the wealth of goods available in their own community, how it supports jobs and decreases carbon output all while respecting the landscape of our own communities.  

A Fibershed is a network of local independent farms, mill producers, sewers, knitters, felters, natural dyers, spinners, ecologists and ultimately consumers that support a specific geographical region in order to grow an international system of textile communities that support one another. Rebecca's initial Kickstarter started a movement whereby communities across the globe started to create regional fibersheds of their own.  

Rebecca, and her Fibershed 501c3 organization, help to stimulate producers to implement carbon farming, connect regional businesses within the textile industry and educate current and prospective consumers making it easier to support their own biosphere as well as each other. Fibershed's ultimate goal is to have a worldwide network of fibershed communities whereby soil-to-soil communities grow while supporting their own local economies.

Taking all of this on alone would be a mammoth, if not an impossible, undertaking. With the support of local aligned consumers, makers, producers, farmers and ultimately the Fibershed organization, doing all of this is much more attainable, which is not to say that it is easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Rebecca knows that the clothing industry cannot change in one year, but there are many ways consumers can decrease their carbon imprint by purchasing clothes Made in America (or local to where they live), buy products made of natural materials, upcycle, swap clothes, buy vintage, and simply be committed to stop buying fast fashion. When we have a collective of conscious consumers who believe and make slow and ethical, Rebecca explains, "We're going to have a multifaceted approach to how to live your life in a way that's simple and graceful and harmonious -- and it's for everyone."

If you are inspired to support Rebecca or simply inspired to learn more, attend a Fibershed event or purchase Rebecca's book Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes.

And last, but not least, visit Fibershed's website and follow @fibershed_ on Instagram! 


Soil to Soil illustration by Andrew Plotsky

Rebecca Burgess Natural Plant Dyeing
Buy Rebecca's Book, Harvesting Color

Header Image Credit: Fibershed

Click here for just a small list of just some of the natural dyers out there
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