2009 has been designated as the year of natural fibers by the United Nations. The objective is to improve the food income of poor farmers by increasing the demand for natural fibers. Natural fibers run the gamut from wool and cotton to jute, sisal, silk, flax, cashmere, alpaca, mohair and yak.
Also, as a part of this year-long celebration, natural fiber lovers from all over the world are invited to help create the world's longest scarf. Sponsored by Keep the Fleece in partnership with Heifer International, the goal is to raise $250,000 which will be used to donate fleece-bearing animals to needy families all over the world. To participate, visit Keep the Fleece for all the information.
Personally, I think this is all very exciting! I love natural fibers - the look and feel as well as being a renewable resource rather than a petroleum-based product! And in honor of this being the year of natural fibers, in addition to the wool my sheep grow for me, I'll also be attempting to raise a tiny little patch of organic cotton. We'll see how that goes since Pennsylvania isn't exactly the right environment for heat-loving cotton. But it will sure be fun to try.
Oh, and by the way, a wonderful way to celebrate the year of natural fibers is coming up this weekend! The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is being held at the Howard County Fairgrounds. I'm planning to go with some friends on Sunday - they will all want to look at yarn and I'll want to look at sheep - good times!