I went to the Fibershed Annual Wool & Fine Fiber Symposium in Point Reyes Station, CA last weekend Sat Nov 16. I was very excited to see a wide range of people from different professions including University professors to fiber farmers and artisans. Presentations can be seen here. If you are interested in agricultural sustainability, or care about your clothes, it is well worth it to take time to watch the videos!
We were greeted by a wool yurt, an emblem of the Northern California Fibershed. The yurt varied in natural wool colors of local sheep, and was hand-felted by artisans.
The educational component of the Symposium very insightful! The first part set of lectures covered fiber farmers and opportunities to reduce carbon emissions with compost applications on their land. A future goal is to learn how much compost is needed to sequester carbon in soil, and to obtain enough compost supply for California’s farmlands.
In the second part of the day, we heard from young ranchers/ herders and the joy they take in cultivating sheep in California. Sheep and goats are assets to the environment because they help with sustainable land management. Brittany Cole takes her flock of 2,000 sheep and goats to graze fields to help control the spread of invasive plant species and reduce risks of fires. Brittany also discussed her future work in developing a California Wool Mill Tracking tool to create transparency in the U.S. supply chain from the raw material stage to the final clothing output.
We also heard about the California Mill Feasibility Study. Amber Bieg discussed that California has a large amount of high quality wool that can be locally processed into clothes if a mill were available. The mill proposed will be sustainable with an educational facility, and is expected to create 40 jobs. Knitting machines capable of creating seamless knitwear will most likely be used. Listening to the thought process and motivation to create the mill is very inspirational and I am excited to see the outcome of this work over the next few years.
Interacting with fiber artisans was also very special, and I will write about it in a later post.
Below are photographs taken during the Symposium:
There is also going to be a Fibershed Fashion Gala on Sat Dec 14. Each outfit is made by fiber artisans collaborating to create a look. There will be a fashion show, live auction, marketplace, and live music. “The Fibershed Fashion Gala” demonstrates the beauty cultivated on the California landscape, weaving together food and fiber farmers who are committed to a new era of regional and regenerative economic development that ensures the production of climate beneficial clothing for local human populations.”