I often promote in my streams and classes the need to support local farms. This is our supply chain. Call me selfish, but I want to ensure that I can still get the fiber I want five, ten or twenty-five years down the road. The fiber arts community is small; only we can help it thrive.
One of the ways we can support our local farms is through social media marketing. I am not always in a position to buy more fiber. However, I am always in a position to share information by word of mouth.
In many cases, our small farms are not adept at marketing themselves. This is not a personal attack. A large percentage of the market (us) for wool products is online and a large percentage of small farms just don’t have a strong web presence. The digital and analog worlds don’t always coincide.
On top of that, many sheep farms are in the business of meat, not fiber. Fiber is an expensive byproduct of the sheep industry. It costs money for shearing and the commercial wool pools just don’t pay enough to even cover these costs. As much as we need to be aware of the farms, they need to be aware that we’re here as a market for their wool.
We can help the community be aware of these small farms. For example, the photos in this post are two of my favorite local farms to visit and buy from. There is a good chance that some of you will click the links to check them out.
Maybe you’ll buy something from Parsons’. Or perhaps, in a month or two, when your friend says she’s looking for Corriedale fiber, you’ll remember this post. It is hard to quantify, but networking and word of mouth translate to sales and money.
Here’s my challenge to you. Post a link or contact information for your favorite local fiber farm in your social media with #localfiber. Check the hashtag and check out the tagged farms. If you don’t have a favorite local farm, find one!