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Chelsea Green Publishing Co

Fibershed – Rebecca Burgess

Fibershed – Rebecca Burgess

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Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy
by Rebecca Burgess

Published by Chelsea Green Publishing Co - November 2019 - Paperback - 288 pp – 25.5cm x 18cm

A new “farm-to-closet” vision for the clothes we wear–by a leader in the movement for local textile economies.

There is a major disconnect between what we wear and our knowledge of its impact on land, air, water, labour, and human health. Even those who value access to safe, local, nutritious food have largely overlooked the production of fibre, dyes, and the chemistry that forms the backbone of modern textile production. While humans are 100 percent reliant on their second skin, it’s common to think little about the biological and human cultural context from which our clothing derives.

Almost a decade ago, weaver and natural dyer Rebecca Burgess developed a project focused on wearing clothing made from fibre grown, woven, and sewn within her bioregion of North Central California. As she began to network with ranchers, farmers, and artisans, she discovered that even in her home community there was ample raw material being grown to support a new regional textile economy with deep roots in climate change prevention and soil restoration. A vision for the future came into focus, combining right livelihoods and a textile system based on economic justice and soil carbon enhancing practices. Burgess saw that we could create viable supply chains of clothing that could become the new standard in a world looking to solve the climate crisis.

In Fibershed readers will learn how natural plant dyes and fibres such as wool, cotton, hemp, and flax can be grown and processed as part of a scalable, restorative agricultural system. They will also learn about milling and other technical systems needed to make regional textile production possible. Fibershed is a resource for fibre farmers, ranchers, contract grazers, weavers, knitters, slow-fashion entrepreneurs, soil activists, and conscious consumers who want to join or create their own fibershed and topple outdated and toxic systems of exploitation…

‘Collectively, we’ve been slowly waking up to the urgent need to farm our food in ways that restore and regenerate soils and whole landscapes; create connections between people, land, animals, and seasons; and rebuild local economies. Fibershed turns our attention to a parallel, equally urgent frontier: our clothes. We need this book, and we need it now.’ — Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef

‘We clothe ourselves using fibres from cotton, trees, animals, and oil. The sins of oil-based fibres are well known, but lesser known are those of plant- and animal-based fibre production—themselves major contributors to global desertification and climate change. If we want to offer hope to future generations, we will have to root not only the food we eat, but the clothing we wear in a new, regenerative agriculture that manages livestock using the holistic planned grazing process. Fortunately, movement in this direction is underway. Rebecca Burgess’s well-researched book stokes a fire that has already been lit by many organizations collaborating and networking around the globe, and connects the dots between our clothing and our life-supporting environment. I would encourage everyone who wears clothes and has any concern for future generations to read this highly educational book.’ — Allan Savory, president and cofounder, Savory Institute, and author of Holistic Management Handbook


Rebecca Burgess, M.ed, is the executive director of Fibershed, chair of the board for Carbon Cycle Institute, and the author of Harvesting Color. She is a vocationally trained weaver and natural dyer. She has over a decade of experience writing and implementing hands-on curricula that focus on the intersection of restoration ecology and fibre systems. Burgess has built an extensive network of farmers and artisans in the Northern California Fibershed to pilot an innovative fibre systems model at the community scale. Her project has become internationally recognized with over 53 Fibershed communities now in existence.


We use recycled or reused material for packaging.

The tape is biodegradable.


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