Everyday, each of us wakes up and picks out an outfit to wear for the day. From our underwear to our jacket, we identify with the clothes we choose to put on our bodies; they make us feel comfortable and give us a sense of individuality. While some of us put a lot of thought into our outfits, we rarely think about the origin of the fabric itself and the many steps it goes through before it becomes our clothing.
When it comes to natural fibers, one must remember that it all starts from a little seed or animal, a living thing which must be tended to and cared for by it’s farmer to enable it to grow, be harvested, and eventually turned into usable fiber. This fiber is then cleaned, spun into yarn, woven or knitted into a textile, then dyed, cut, and finally sewn into a garment, all before it makes its way into our closets.
All Together Now PA’s Clothing and Textiles Coalition is working to build local supply chains that connect fiber farming with the reemerging hemp and flax industries. This mission has led us to partner with the Pennsylvania Flax Project, a collaboration between Kitchen Garden Textiles and Kneehigh Farm, on our upcoming Flax Field Dinner. Just like ATN-PA, the PA Flax Project is committed to uniting urban and rural communities to build local self-reliance in fiber and textiles, creating greater prosperity for our farmers and local makers.
Why is flax important?
Flax is the plant used to make linen, a beautiful textile that, like hemp, is long lasting, breathable, antimicrobial, absorbent, extremely durable and has a rich history in the state of Pennsylvania. Flax grows easily in the PA region and does not require any harmful pesticides. Not only is it a fast crop for farmers to grow (less than 3 months), it also remediates the soil by removing lead. Because of this, flax fiber serves as a great case study for a fully local supply chain for textiles in PA.
How does The Flax Project help to create a local supply chain?
The PA Flax Project is working to revive the textile industry in Pennsylvania. Flax production has the ability to recreate our once vibrant textile economy and bring back localization to our clothing. While linen is no longer manufactured locally, we do have a wide variety of yarn mills and weavers all around the state of Pennsylvania, which we aim to bring together and unite in our shared mission of creating a fully local supply chain for this sustainable textile.
Click here to reserve your seat for our Flax Field Dinner on July 11th, a fundraising event supporting the Pennsylvania Flax Project.
Written by Rachel Mednick Higgins, edited by Leslie Davidson