The Natural Fiber Alliance began in 2011 when four women sheep farmers in SE Minnesota came together to identify ways to grow interest and support for the region’s natural fiber. They currently serve the 12-county area in SE Minnesota but expanding out across MN and to neighboring states. Their mission is to educate and promote the natural fibers, fiber animals, farmers, artists, and companies who utilize the natural fibers. This project is to take the next step in ensuring that communication up and down the supply chain is facilitated to remove roadblocks to incorporation of local fiber in locally processed and marketed products. This work is timely with the re-building of the Faribault Knitting Mill and the Northern Woolen Mills in Fosston, MN. The development of a local fiber industry provides an opportunity to develop more diverse markets for small and midsized farms and increase pasture and perennial landscapes. A student researcher is needed to explore the needs of each player in the supply chain to determine what opportunities exist to develop additional demand for locally produced fiber and address issues/concerns regarding fiber production and markets. The final product will be an example or case study for fiber produces to use as a template for making connections and developing products that create demand for their specific type of fiber.
Prepared in partnership with the Natural Fiber Alliance by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
Consumer-Driven Demand Analysis for Locally Grown and Organic Wool in the Upper Midwest.
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