After watching this short, insightful video about Rebecca Burgess’ challenge to wear only clothing produced within 150 miles, I was just ringing with possibilities. She’s doing something many have imagined for a long time–taking responsibility now, reclaiming how she lives from a system she doesn’t believe in, finding ways to work with those around us and create livelihoods. This is part of the permaculture systems developing. Everywhere, people are setting aside the systems and products that are making them sick, making others sick, polluting the Earth. Rather than focusing on the negatives, these people are doing something about it. How many of us are out there? How are we already re-shaping the course of our times?
I’m a spinner and weaver (among many other things). I”m preparing to launch my first subscription spinning, where clients will get a certain amount of yarn from me each month over a three or six month period to use in their own crafting and creating work. Check it out here. My husband is becoming a cordwainer (someone who works with new leather to make shoes and boots). When looking for panniers to support Corbin’s daily commute to work by bike, we found Swift Industries (be sure to watch their short video on this page, too!). When we looked for a similar producer in our area, we couldn’t find one–a niche waiting to be filled.
It occurred to me, when reflecting on Rebecca Burgess’ observation about how we let our manufacturing go overseas, that it may serve us in the end. We may, as we pick up our tools and trades, in control of our product, independent of capital and debt, creating items that others need and enjoy and (likely) seeing them used within our regions…assuming all of this might come to pass in the very near future…we will have turned the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on their head.
We will have joined our wills with those of the guilds and craftsmen in the mid-nineteenth century that fought the capitalist systems of America then and lost–sometimes losing their lives. It’s not that I”m opposed to market trade or setting prices, but that the market has never played fair with the independent producers. With the protests around the world, and the occupations in our cities, I wonder how others like myself are already building the new culture, the new face of a healthy home economy. How fun will this be?