Academic Venture Fund - 2018

The Future of Fibers May Be Local

Mark Milstein - An alpaca on a small New England farm.

Small flock fiber farmers struggle to survive in a global economy that favors standardization and commoditization of a narrow set of breeds and genetic stock to produce cheap material that must compete with synthetic, low-cost competitors. However, as interest in locally produced goods grows, small flock fiber farms may have an opportunity to thrive by influencing development of specialized textile markets. This project seeks to evaluate small flock-based fiber market value chains and connect rural and urban fiber-textile economies, growing rural economies and helping similar markets do the same.

[This project received an Engaged Cornell supplemental grant.]

Investigators: Mark Milstein, Miguel Gomez, Tasha Lewis, Anusuya Rangarajan, Michael Thonney