2018 Fleece Inventory and Assessment

Vancouver Island Fibershed (VIF) is establishing a network between farmers and fibre consumers to build a local textile economy. VIF is part of the growing Fibreshed movement in North America, Europe and Australia that supports small-scale sustainable textile industries. VIF’s geographic scope encompasses all of Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands.

VIF’s current focus is to compile an inventory and assessment of fleece and fibre producing animals to help us better understand what animal based fibres are being grown here. Even if you are not currently raising your animals for fleece or selling your fleece, we would love to hear from you. We will collect information that could lead to enhancing the number and breed diversity of, and quality of fibre from sheep, alpaca, and llama.

Ideas gathered from this research could help you get:

  • More value from your flock/herd.
  • Connections to other island farmers.
  • Connections to people who are looking for fleece.
  • An island/s wide network with other fibre farmers who have information to share.
  • Affordable workshops and gatherings to address some of the issues that you have told us about.

We have included a Producers Directory that highlights where to find farmers who have fleece for sale, artisans who have spun yarn or finished garments, sewing schools, dye gardens, tool lending libraries and much more .

We are compiling information about and connections to people and businesses looking for local, B.C. produced fleece. This can be fibre consumers looking for fleece to spin, businesses looking for fleece batts or raw fleece for felting and industrial uses. In addition the research is leading us to new ideas for using what has formally been considered a waste product.  For example the discard waste, after skirting a fleece, can be pelleted to use as a manure or sold to use as a bedding material to increase moisture retention in our increasingly dry, hot summers. We can use what we produce to develop resilience to climate change.

This research was in part funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia. This program was delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.

We are very excited about the growing interest in re-building the textile economy in VIF through connections between farmers and fibre consumers. Please feel free to provide contact information for other fibre farmers you know of so we can invite them to be part of this assessment.  Thank you for keeping farming alive and thriving in our fibreshed.