Mapping Our Fiber System
The Pacific Northwest is positioned to lead a growing movement to create and support regionally-based, ecologically-minded, and socially-equitable fiber economies in tandem with its robust local food systems. As consumers have become more aware and interested in how and where their food is grown, they are also growing curious about the sources of their clothing and textiles. Fiber is already integrated within existing food systems and our region is home to a small, but strong and diverse fiber economy, including farmers and ranchers, processors, designers, and makers who may be able to fulfill this growing interest in locally sourced, ethically made fiber. A high-functioning, regionally-based, fiber economy would help to support the Pacific Northwest agricultural systems to spur local economic development, restore degraded farm and range lands, and mitigate climate change.
We believe that the next step in growing a strong, stable fiber economy is to connect its participants openly and engagingly. PNW Fibershed is partnering with Ecotrust to create an open-source web map that compellingly visualizes a rich database of fiber producers and processors, so we can connect the growing demand for local and/or ethically-sourced fiber to regional supply. This increases community well-being through localism; through community outreach, our map will support, unify, and educate our regional textile system, while bringing awareness to support a shift away from the destructive effects of our current global textile industry.
It's clear that our domestic fiber system's infrastructure is fractured -- but how much? Where is it succeeding? The first step is to map the system and see what exists, and what doesn't.