Welcome!

Heartland Threads Fibershed is a non-profit charitable organization focused on the local fiber and textile community in Southwest Wisconsin & Northwest Illinois, USA. We are building a supportive network for individuals, farms, families and businesses involved in producing and using local fiber and textiles.

Heartland Threads Board Meeting
Our first board meeting at Bluffwood Farm

Heartland Threads Mission:

To stimulate a networking “fiberculture” of producers and users of local regenerative fibers & textiles within the HEARTLAND THREADS FIBERSHED region, emphasizing the economic, environmental, and community benefits of these connections.

Where is Heartland Threads?

Heartland Threads Region

Heartland Threads Fibershed includes the following SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois counties:

Wisconsin: Green, Lafayette, Grant, Iowa, Dane, Rock, Jefferson, Dodge, Columbia, Sauk, Richland, Vernon, Crawford

Illinois: Jo Davies, Stephenson & Winnebago

Local Fiber, Local Dye, Local Labor

We are committed to enhancing and promoting local fiber, local dye, and local labor systems through the Heartland Threads region. We are working to slow consumer addiction to cheap, imported “fast clothes” while encouraging the production and consumption of locally produced clothing and textiles. We imagine a future where our Fibershed has businesses that design and make clothing using fibers grown right here.

Wool and other animal fibers are already produced here, but we can and should grow flax and make our own linens. “Linens” has become a generic term to describe everything from kitchen towels to bedsheets, no matter what fibers are used… but real linen is made from the flax plant which is processed, spun and woven into cloth.

Wisconsin farmland and trees

What about hemp fiber? And while we’re at it, let’s farm or wild gather natural dyes for the cloth we’re making. Can we produce buttons here? Thread? What can we do in our own fiberhood that will provide jobs, keep the local economy flowing, and develop community pride while caring for our environment? These are ideas we encourage and champion.

Fibershed Book

What is a Fibershed?

The formation of Heartland Threads was in part inspired by the Fibershed book written by Rebecca Burgess. We are one of many Affiliate Fibersheds throughout the world.

A Fibershed is a local region of fiber, fabric and textile production, processing, and use. Fibersheds are working throughout the US and beyond to challenge the globalized, exploitative, and environmentally harmful processes that make up the majority of fiber and textile production. Similar to the “Slow Food” movement, we endeavor to take a step back from the world of fast fashion, and instead, to connect with local resources and build networks of people interested in all aspects of fiber.

Learn about the original Fibershed: fibershed.org

Heartland Threads Projects

In the spirit of local networking, our beginning focus is to create an online Member Directory of area fiber & textile producers, processors, designers, artists, makers, crafters, dyers, tanneries, mills, shops & events. Our on-line Event Calendar will list regional fiber events.

 Members will have use of our Logo to identify products consistent with our mission. As our network grows, other projects will unfold, especially educational programs, workshops and events tailored to the needs of members.

Marketing

Whether you sell fiber products at your farm, online or have a storefront (or all 3!), our Member Directory can help you connect with customers. 

Yarn and Wool Products
Herd of sheep pasture grazing on a summer day

Humane Farming

Raising animals according to Heartland Threads’ values requires humane treatment of fiber animals. We expect members to treat their fiber animals with respect and gratitude for the gifts of fiber they provide. Animals should have fresh air, healthy food and water, a cruelty-free life, and, when it’s time, a painless death.

 

Fiber Farm Management

We encourage Farmers to practice sustainable grazing, limiting the number and/or time the animals graze, moving them before a pasture is depleted. In addition, we recognize that most soils in this area are depleted, so “sustaining” is not enough. We must also begin “regenerating” (building our soils) by adding nutrients and biomass, and by preventing further depletion through responsible grazing and erosion control. Simply put, sustainable means “do no harm and leave your footprint as good as you found it”. Regenerative means “do no harm and leave your footprint better than you found it”.

Heartland Threads members who are not on the “organic, regenerative” path will receive the benefits of membership, except use of our unique Heartland Threads logo. Our logo and the national Fibershed logo is available to those who have products that identify as local, regenerative,
sustainable, organic (certified or not).

If you’re interested in transitioning from conventional to regenerative, we can connect you with mentors. The logo is not “all or nothing”. If you’re a storefront, you can attach our logo to those items that qualify.