Shannon Welsh has called Oregon home since the age of 5. For over 20 years she has promoted fiber, textile and apparel design through raw fiber development, regenerative agricultural production, textile systems revitalization and innovation, community organizing, outreach, and education. Shannon has spent over 3 years researching and reviving the historic linen industry of Oregon, and is the Co-Founder of Fibrevolution Bast Fiber Producers. She is also the Founder and Director of Pacific Northwest Fibershed, a Fibershed Affiliate Program, which promotes the development of regional regenerative fiber systems that build soil and protect the health of our biosphere. Shannon has a BFA in Apparel Design from The Art Institute of Portland, a BA in History from Lewis and Clark College, and a Teaching Certification from the Association Montessori Internationale.
Ralph Fisher Regional Agronomic Adviser
Ralph Fisher, an Oregon native, manages a seventh generation family farm near Sublimity, Oregon. His farm raises fine fescue for seed, as well as oats, wheat, beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Ralph graduated from Oregon State University with a BS degree in Crop and Soil Science in 1978. From January to November of 2012 Ralph placed 400 acres of flax in production with Oregon growers to grow the seed necessary for winter production of fiber flax in South Carolina. The learning curve for production and harvest was steep for growers. This experience gave Ralph an appreciation of the value of flax as a fiber crop and he understands the need for additional research to best harvest and process this niche crop. Through his discussions with customers at local markets, conversations continue to identify the need for sustainable locally produced products which includes flax for fiber.
Kelly Bethke Sustainable Systems Business Strategist
Kelly has an MBA in Sustainable systems with a focus on organizational leadership and finance. A passion for healthy people, planet, and profit is the driving force behind the work she does. Kelly works to create healthy, balanced enterprises which will support a prosperous future. Using modern sustainability and efficiencies to promote excellence is her strategy. This includes systems thinking, lean evaluation and the “story” behind the big picture. Collaborating with others and traveling to experience new cultures is a benefit that allows her to remain curious and energetic about triple bottom line consulting. Working with organizations both large and small has sparked interest in the co-creation of a unique framework to create an approachable path to sustainability for companies of any size. The B+C Systems Mapping and Systems Architecture method is both scalable and results oriented. www.pinchotandcompany.com
Angela Wartes-Kahl Co-founder
Angela Wartes-Kahl has been an organic farmer for over a decade in the Coast Range of Oregon, at Common Treasury Farm. Her interest lies in local raw fiber development. Angela has grown fiber flax for several years and raises English Longwool sheep. She manages the fiber and textiles program for Oregon Tilth, is an organic processing and crops inspector, and the Vice Chair of the Organic Trade Association Fiber Council. Angela studied Agricultural Science at Oregon State University, concentrating on fiber crops, textiles, and merchandise management.
Dr. Jennifer G Kling Plant Breeder and Geneticist
Jennifer G Kling is a Senior Research Professor at Oregon State University as well as an Agricultural Consultant. Jennifer’s current interest is in developing specialty crops for niche markets in Oregon. In 2012-2013 Jennifer was the Principal Investigator for the OSU Agricultural Research Foundation, in Breeding Dual-Purpose Flax Varieties for Emerging Textile Markets in Oregon. Jennifer G Kling has a Ph.D. in Genetics from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in Agronomy/Plant Breeding from the University of Nebraska, and a B.S. in Crop Science from Oregon State University.
Alvin Ulrich Bast Fiber Processing Adviser
Biolin Research Inc. began as a research facility with the goal of producing value-added fiber from flax grown in the Prairie provinces of Canada. It has morphed into a privately-owned company, under the leadership of Alvin Ulrich, with the purpose of processing and marketing the products available from all portions of the flax straw. Biolin’s mission it to utilize 100% of the flax straw for commercial end uses so that the straw, traditionally burned or chopped in the fields by farmers, becomes a viable and profitable product, completing the natural recycle circle.