Fibershed’s economic development program is designed to facilitate new ideas, and innovations that directly support and improve our region’s regenerative and community-driven textile supply chain—thus directly increasing a diversity of living wage jobs in our community.
Colour and fibre from the Upper Canada Fibreshed.
How does this have an impact?
Farmers: Those raising food animals have another potential income stream from their livestock. Historically wool has been a valuable resource, but today it is not worth the effort to shear the sheep. By raising the value of wool the farmers can increase the viability of their enterprise. For other livestock farmers including alpaca, angora, mohair, and cashmere, a Fibreshed provides an opportunity to work with other like-minded people. Not just livestock farmers contribute to fibres. Farmers are needed to grow flax for linen, colour that comes from plants and trees need that need to be tended. There are new opportunities for fibre as well – hemp, and bamboo.
Rare Breeds: Many rare breed animals are not suitable for commercial meat production. They have been developed over generations for specific traits such as hardiness, health, mothering ability, or a specific wool type. These animals are valuable, not just for their cultural heritage, but, like heritage seeds, they have specific genetic traits that are used in modern breeding techniques. By bring value back to their traits we can save these historic breeds. For more information about rare breeds go to Rare Breeds Canada.
Local Jobs: Only a generation ago there were many skilled labour jobs in Ontario. Over the last few decades much of our industry has been moved elsewhere. These places often do not recognize any labour, environmental, or building standards. Yes, we have the opportunity to buy cheap clothes, but at what cost? Re-invigorating a local fibre industry can include a wide variety of jobs from mechanics to designers to accountants.