Heartland Threads Fibershed is a 501c3 non-profit organization focused on the local fiber and textile community of Southwest Wisconsin & Northwest Illinois, USA. We’re building a supportive network for individuals, farms, families and businesses producing and using local fiber and textiles.
Heartland Threads Fibershed Mission:
To stimulate a “fiberculture” of producers and consumers of local regenerative fibers & textiles, emphasizing the economic, environmental, and community benefits.
Where is Heartland Threads?
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 Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago
Local Fiber, Local Dye, Local Labor
Heartland Threads Fibershed is committed to promoting local fiber, local dye, and local labor systems throughout our region. We’re hoping to slow consumer addiction to cheap, imported and mostly synthetic “fast clothes”. Instead we encourage buying locally produced clothing and home goods. Imagine a future where our Fibershed has businesses that design and make clothing using fibers grown right here!
Some wool and other animal fibers are produced here, but we could do more. And we should grow flax to make linen. “Linens” is 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 should be grown here, with mills to process, spin and make it into cloth.
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?
What is a Fibershed?
The formation of Heartland Threads Fibershed was inspired by the Fibershed book from Rebecca Burgess. We’re one of many regional, networking Affiliate Fibersheds throughout the world. Each Affiliate defines it’s own local programs to challenge the globalized, exploitative, and environmentally harmful processes for most of our fibers and textiles.
Similar to the “Slow Food” movement, we encourage “Slow Fashion”– connecting our local wool, flax-linen, hemp & leather farmers with consumers.
Learn more about the original Fibershed at fibershed.org
In the spirit of local networking, we’re building an online Member Directory of area fiber & textile producers, processors, designers, artists, makers, crafters, dyers, tanneries, mills and shops. Our on-line Event Calendar lists regional fiber events as they become known to us.
Other projects include educational programs, workshops and events tailored to the needs of our Fibershed community.
Marketing Product Directory
Whether you sell fiber products at your farm, online or a storefront (or all 3!), our Member Directory can help customers find you.
Raising wool and other fiber/leather animals with Fibershed values requires respectful humane handling. Animals should have fresh air in all seasons with rotational summer grazing, healthy winter hay and supplements for nutrition and parasite prevention.
Fibre plants should be grown on regenerative soil, free of pesticides and herbicides.
Most soils in our Fibershed are depleted, so sustaining is not enough. We encourage both animal and fibre farmers to regenerate soils by adding nutrients and biomass with organic methods rather than pesticides and herbicides.
Animal farmers should limit the number of animals to prevent overgrazing which causes soil depletion and erosion. Fibre farmers should rotate crops with cover cropping to build soil.
Being a responsible farmer means leaving your footprint better than you found it.
If you’re interested in transitioning from conventional to regenerative farming, we can connect you with mentors