In episode 118, Kestrel welcomes Rebecca Burgess, the founder of Fibershed, to the show. A globally recognized project, Fibershed is working to address and educate the public on the environmental, economic and social benefits of de-centralizing the textile supply chain.

"What are we doing? What is our consumption doing to other people's cultures?" 
-Rebecca Burgess, founder of Fibershed 


In this episode, Rebecca shares more on her exceptional and unexpected path into working in the textile industry. For her, it all started with agriculture, and a happenstance loom that happened to exist at her former university.

For Rebecca, she has continued to uncover and discover so many more intricacies of the textile system through her curiosity and drive to consistently ask more questions.

Throughout this chat, Rebecca also shares more in depth information on the power that farmers and ranchers hold today to turn around the health of our soil, while becoming climate change heroes.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Rebecca realized what a fibershed is while she was living in Southeast Asia:
    "a Fibershed is like a watershed or a food shed - it's a strategic geography that clothes you."
  • "I think there's a danger in abstracting the wearer from the source of the material."
  • Paige Green, photographer Rebecca partnered with in the early stages of building out Fibershed
  • Prototype Wardrobe, project Rebecca developed in 2010 (the beginnings of Fibershed), where she worked with the community around her to develop and wear a prototype wardrobe whose dyes, fibers and labor were sourced from a region no larger than 150 miles from the project’s headquarters
  • Carbon Farming: decarbonizing the atmosphere + re-carbonizing our soils is a process Rebecca has been working diligently on educating farmers, ranchers and larger brands about, in an effort to help them maximize their carbon capture
  • "Everyone who manages a farm or a ranch has the potential of being a complete climate hero."
  • North Face x Fibershed Climate Beneficial Wool project
  • Drawdown, book by Paul Hawken - Rebecca shares how overall, regenerative farming is really how we are going to be able to reverse global warming
  • "Bare ground is what you want to avoid in carbon farming."
  • Gabe Brown, farmer in North Dakota who has been sequestering massive amounts of carbon into his soil through his regenerative farming approach, using cover crops of diverse species that he calls chaos gardens
  • Climate Beneficial Wool, supports fiber production that measurably contributes to balancing the carbon cycle
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Comet, tool that allows Fibershed and/or farmers model different scenarios, to help them determine how they can maximize their carbon capture
  • Citizen Science Soil Sampling Protocol, developed with UC Davis - it's a toolkit that allows the rancher to take their own soil samples, and they send them to the lab to receive carbon data in their soil per acre (it also allows the farmer or rancher to understand how much carbon they are actually sequestering)
  • The Fibershed blog, stories from their producer program
  • The Fibershed Affiliate Directory, provides a point of connection to the grassroots network of communities organizing around regional fiber systems
  • Post Colonial Bandaid Strategies: "it's like we're rich white people with money and we're going to invest in things that make us feel better in developing countries, and we're going to invest in big global technologies that have high returns and scale really quickly." Rebecca believes that people of means need to be investing in community-based infrastructure.

ARTIST ALERT | Rachel Ignotofsky


Rachel Ignotofky is an author and illustrator, who creates exceptionally stunning systems-oriented artwork, connected to the earth, science and women.

If you're a visual learner like me, her artwork can truly help paint a clear explanation of some of the wonders of the planet and beyond.

Learn more about Rachel + her books here >

Thanks for listening! Subscribe, download, and leave a review for Conscious Chatter on iTunes if you get a chance. I big time appreciate your support! <3 Kestrel