renewing and reweaving

renewing and reweaving

As the world around us unravels in ways most of us never imagined, I’m encouraged by the space being created for those who have been working to build alternatives to the destructive path we’ve been on for so long. In my business community, there is a great sense of renewal. 

I’ve had the good fortune to meet so many brilliant business people, farmers, shoe makers, researchers, administrators, financial advisors, fashion designers, glass blowers, wood workers. All of us are drawn together by the solutions we’re pursuing with our work. The good news is that we already have the tools to build community self-reliance through best business practices. Great change is happening. At the Kitchen Garden Series, our flax project is a significant step towards renewal of a local regenerative textile supply chain. The ⅛ acre of flax for linen we grew with Emma at Kneehigh Farm in 2020 was just the first thread connecting us to a network of people working to revitalize the production of flax into linen in our region and beyond. Now, almost a year later, we have teamed up with community organizers and enthusiasts in Philadelphia and the surrounding region. A group of us are contracting the consultation services of Fibrevolution, a similar group located in the Pacific Northwest, that is eight years into achieving the same goals in Oregon. We are forging relationships with hemp farmers, learning and exploring the similarities for processing the flax and hemp into fiber, and working on a three-year plan to have an operational mill in our region. We are weaving together our business plan, meeting with people interested in crop research and development, developing regional seed varieties, opening a mill,  and seeking brands ready to commit to using our PA linen- when we can finally make it! The strands of a toxic system are loosening and we are spinning them into solutions that are mindful of social justice and community self-reliance.

Being small business owners is challenging at best these days, but we are struggling with a renewed sense of purpose. We have great hope that the increased focus on local business, social justice, mitigating climate catastrophe and local self-reliance are permanent. We look forward to doing our part in improving our communities. We’re collaborating, pooling resources, cross promoting and feeling the energy of this collective effort to build a more equitable world.

I understand that it isn’t always the most convenient option to choose small ethical businesses to meet your daily needs. I appreciate every dollar you spend, and your patronage and support are crucial threads that intertwine to weave a stunning new fabric of society.

winter solstice and textiles from the earth

winter solstice and textiles from the earth

The Winter Solstice is a time to enjoy the cozy silence of the year's longest night and to set intentions for the lengthening days ahead. I like to take this time to reflect on the growth patterns I’ve set and groundwork I’ve prepared in previous seasons and to start planning for the future. Looking back at the year’s hard work helps me see and re-see that the path forward can be one of regeneration. 

At the kitchen garden series, I’ve always been focused on supporting urban agriculture, reducing waste at the manufacturing level, hiring locally and using natural fibers. Over the years, my mission has come to include designing products that reduce the use of single-use and plastic disposables in homes and restaurants. I think a lot about the idea that all textiles come from the earth, whether they are made from plant-based fibers, fibers from animal wools or furs, or synthetics derived from petroleum drawn from the deep cores of the planet. The systems for getting textiles into our hands can be systems of renewal or systems of destruction. I want to build a business community that works to make renewal the norm. I want to help create better systems that enrich and connect thriving local living economies that are part of healing the planet. To this end, in the coming year, I’ll deepen my commitment to local growers, and continue making sustainable textiles more accessible. 

One project in particular has helped me see through how to build better systems of textile regeneration. The flax growing project I started this year in collaboration with Emma Cunniff from Kneehigh Farm in my little corner of the world has been transformative. I am proud that I aspired to start cultivating a plant-based fiber supply chain on a diversified organic vegetable farm. Come spring of 2021, our Flax Project will be growing and growing and growing! Before we know it we will be able to offer locally grown and manufactured textiles! I’m excited to be sharing news about the flax project and other online offerings in 2021! Look for some special workbooks and more DIY projects soon and keep an eye out for seasonal surprises! 

Thank you for following along and helping me grow the kitchen garden series. I’m looking forward to staying connected to all of you through this work of renewal in the year ahead. Happy Solstice, may you enjoy all the bright blessings of the holiday season!