Locally, the problem is best described by our Governor John Bel Edwards. “Louisiana’s rural communities are the lifeblood of our state. Their natural resources feed and fuel the world, yet their citizens bear a disproportionate burden of poverty and lack of adequate access to healthcare, education, broadband and other essential needs. Our work to address these disparities has become even more urgent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eight areas have been identified as necessary for improving quality of life in Louisiana’s rural regions: economic development; education; healthcare; infrastructure; clean water agriculture and forestry; workforce development and broadband.
Globally, Louisiana suffers greatly from the impact of climate change, diminished demand for petroleum products, and the absence of regional fiber production.
Acadian Brown Cotton – Field to Fashion in Acadiana addresses and provides immediate solutions both locally and globally
Acadian Brown Cotton is a local heirloom plant that has been farmed, spun, and woven in Acadiana for centuries. It is grown without the use of pesticides and with little water compared to other cotton plants.
Our mission is to preserve heirloom Acadian Brown Cotton seed, spinning and weaving traditions, revitalize local fiber production using regenerative agricultural practices, and create a traceable supply chain to support a sustainable regional textile industry.
Since establishing our organization we have:
Founded the Acadiana Fibershed, the first and only Fibershed affiliate in the deep south,
Preserved over 400 pounds of heirloom ABC seed at the ULL Seed bank,
Curated Acadian Brown Cotton: The Fabric of Acadiana exhibit and Acadian Brown Cotton Day at the Hilliard Museum,
Qualified as a Certified Louisiana Product,
Partnered with Escape from Poverty to provide skilled job training in Acadiana and National Coalition Building Institute to better form an inclusive way forward
We are currently:
Recruiting new farmers,
Studying the relationship between planting practices and color variation in the cotton,
Creating a forum for farmers to share sustainable farming and living practices,
Expanding our fibershed to include other natural dyestuffs and fibers such as indigo, hemp, and wool from Gulf Coast Sheep,
Engaging with the ULL Industrial Design department to develop alternative and zero waste uses for ABC,
Collaborating with Belfast Mills to produce samples of commercially spun yarn,
We are working towards:
Purchasing manufacturing space and machinery,
Developing product designs that exclusively utilize local manufacturing,
Expanding distribution of fiber, yarn, and finished products regionally,
Recruiting national manufacturing partners for Acadian Brown Cotton.
A local mill creates more independent fiber production, fosters an environment of agricultural and design entrepreneurship, revitalizes rural Acadiana and is climate beneficial.
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