Sustainable Agriculture and Food System Funders | The Fibers Roadmap

SAFSF is a vibrant and growing affinity group (also known as a philanthropic support organization) for philanthropic grantmakers and mission-based investors interested in just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. SAFSF members make investments at local, regional, state, Tribal, national, and international levels to support activities and strategies related to justice, farms and farming systems, environmental sustainability, markets, health, agricultural products, and much more within the food system. 

A new and growing field of study has demonstrated that regenerative agricultural practices, including fiber production, hold much promise for restoring soil carbon through the photosynthetic sequestration of atmospheric CO2. Simultaneously, regional textile production also works to build skill-based economies that can reinvigorate rural, native, and inner-city areas economically devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs from globalization.

Image credit: Courtesy of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders

SAFSF’s The Fibers Roadmap: Integrated Capital Opportunities to Support Revitalization of US-Grown Fiber, Textiles, and Leather presents a roadmap for values-based investment and integrated capital opportunities in regional textile processing and manufacturing infrastructure, including investment in education and human skills. 

It prioritizes geographies poised to implement carbon farming practices and where economic inequity and systemic environmental justice burdens can be alleviated through regenerative economic development. It identifies “levers” in three key areas—California, the Northeast, and North Carolina—as well as a few individual projects in the Midwest and Southwest, where investments could be made to increase the robustness, professionality, and supply of climate beneficial, compostable, regional fibers and textiles. 

The roadmap provides a concrete guide for bringing these dollars to the ground in local communities.

Image credit: Courtesy of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders

While there are many possible pathways for impact, SAFSF is focused on mapping the points of intersection between what buyers from sustainable apparel brands need and don’t have (a reliable supply of local, sustainable fibers) and what thread farmers need and don’t have (processing infrastructure and associated skilled labor that would let them realize the most value from their crops). SAFSF prioritizes climate mitigation and equity/justice as critical criteria throughout the roadmap, drawing on a Just Transition framework. 

Funding and investment opportunities are examined against these critical criteria to ensure that future activity creates systemic change rather than replicating issues with the current global system.

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