check out the great organizing going on by young farmers in california!
Small-scale farmers strive to offer superior products at competitive prices. But can they do this while cooperating with their fellow farmers to build a strong, resilient local economy? Some see in this a contradiction; others call it “coopetition”.
Mendocino Wool & Fiber (MW&F) is a new wool mill in Northern California to create 100% locally sourced, processed and dyed yarn. It is family founded and owned by Matt (that’s me) and Sarah Gilbert. I have worked with sheep, sheep herders and wool processors in Mendocino County as a sheep shearer since the age of 12.
Why a Mill?
I’ve noticed some problems during my work as a sheep shearer and created MW&F to solve them. Today:
- Lack of a local mill makes fiber production too costly. Many producers give or throw wool away rather than process it. Julie Rosenfeld, owner of Renaissance Ridge Alpacas, said it best: “That is the problem, the mill. There are no local mills that produce a good enough product, consistency wise. I have had to send fiber off to Virginia to get it milled which is why I have not had any more made, the cost makes it prohibitive.”
- Fiber creators and sellers wait six to 12 months to get processed wool back from other regions and states. This hurts small business people and our local economy.
- It’s sound business: there is an immediate need and built-in market demand for a full service wool mill in Northern California.
- The success of eco-fashion is hampered by the lack of sustainable, domestic facilities with just labor practices.
- Natural fibers are healthy for people and our planet. They are not made with fossil fuels or chemicals, and washing them does not add microscopic bits of plastic to our oceans.
We love this idea. And if you’re feeling the spirit of giving, chip in!
Quill’s End Farm is a 100 acre farm in Penobscot, Maine. It is a grass-based cow dairy and raises small livestock on pasture grazing rotationally. Heather and Phil Retberg farm this plot of land with their three children, Alexander, Benjamin and Carolyn. Phil hand milks 4-6 cows and all the milk is exchanged through a private buying club and their on-farm store. While they have farmed for 16 years, the last few years have posed some challenges they couldn’t overcome alone. They came to the conclusion that hard work and perseverance was not going to address those challenges and reached out to their farm patrons, friends, and community of support to help them brainstorm some creative ways forward during a potluck brainstorm session in November. Below is how Heather describes the day and what transpired:
“We brought together between 35-40 of our Quill’s End farm patrons for a potluck–midwives, teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, bakers, beer brewers, parents, retired and young to help us brainstorm on some tough obstacles intersecting to pose some real survival challenges to small, diversified farms of our generation. Continue Reading →
Allegheny Mountain School Fellowships for 2014
Allegheny Mountain School is seeking nine inspiring individuals to participate in the fourth cohort of our 18 month fully-funded fellowship program. Applications are available on our website,www.alleghenymountainschool.org. The deadline to submit your application is December 15, 2013. Interviews begin January, 2014. Continue Reading →
tools for a new economy. creative-currency.org/
Creative Currency is an initiative bringing together leading developers and designers with national experts in social finance, local currencies, crowdfunding, sharing platforms, and other leaders of the new economy to envision, prototype, and deploy innovative solutions that reimagine our systems of exchange from the ground up.
Focusing on San Francisco’s Mid-Market District, the initiative will answer pressing questions, such as: How can financial data empower low-income residents? How can local currencies support local businesses and community organizations? How can sharing platforms be tailored to fit the needs of under-served communities? How can tools like crowdfunding and microcredit be put to work for social service organizations and individuals alike?
What a super idea.
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You will also find repair specialists such as electricians, seamstresses, carpenters and bicycle mechanics. Continue Reading →
The Guerrilla Grafters graft fruit bearing branches onto non-fruit bearing, ornamental fruit trees. Over time, delicious, nutritious fruit is made available to urban residents through these grafts. Our web application helps grafters to find graftable trees, to track how grafts are doing, and helps to facilitate gleaning of fruit. It is built by a laterally organized group using all open source code. We aim to prove that a culture of care can be cultivated from the ground up. We aim to turn city streets into food forests, and unravel civilization one branch at a time.
Computers at the PCC are available for use at no charge.
Other services like classes, individual tutoring, and software/ hardware troubleshooting are provided upon request.
(In the fire/police/court/village office complex between Elm and Main Streets.)
if you can read spanish! Here’s the site: Projecte Gripia
The Sail Transport Network connects people – locally and across oceans – who are building community resilience by reviving heirloom technologies that will enable them to thrive in a fossil fuel-depleted, climate-disrupted world. We are the people – traders and sailors, farmers and craftsmen, artists and merchants – who will continue to tie your world together even as fossil fuel-based transportation recedes into the smoggy past.
For a wrap-up of the Vermont Sail Freight project’s first voyage, and plans for the future, visit the blog.
Graines de Troc
It is a online platform where everyone can share and trade seeds. We all build the same available list. Each shipment of seeds is worth a token that allows members to choose any variety in the list. Swapping is an opportunity to try another sharing system. Graines De Troc make it easy and magical. All seeds, except hybrids, can be shared. The web is fine, but we also encourage and promote every local swap.
Vermont Sail Freight is live now on Good Eggs. For anyone hungry living along the Hudson or in NYC. We deliver into your lap by sail barge in October. Stock up on shelf-stable goods for winter.
Dockside deliveries to: Mechanicville, Troy, Albany, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Beacon, Peekskill, Nyack, Yonkers, Brooklyn, Manhattan.
Sick a lot? Get some Fire Cider. Primitivist? We have seaweed. Raw foodist? Wheat berries! Baker? Flour. Pythagorean? Break that spell with some heirloom beans. Don’t know what shiso is? Try some shiso!
And about 80 more things from 30 different small organic producers in Vermont and New York State.
In horse pulled wagons stocked with a bicycle powered silent cinema, an Appalachian-balkan-brass-klezmer-dixieland-string ensemble, kinetic sculpture and their signature low-tech theater appliances, the newly formedRural Academy Theater have staged their innovative performances in the town greens, theaters, college campuses, and pastures of Western North Carolina. “By not relying on gasoline powered propulsion or being dependent upon electricity and the typical expensive gadgetry associated with professional theater, we will be traveling and performing at a much more human pace, one that will allow for a more thorough integration into the communities and lives we visit,” said Gabriel Harrell, the theater’s co-founder. Continue Reading →
at Fibershed. Always a good reminder.
Fibershed is a non-profit organization that provides experiential education that both generates awareness, and teaches the necessary skills within our community to build and sustain a thriving bioregional textile culture that functions hand-in-hand with principles of ecological balance, local economies, and regional organic agriculture..