What could washing your breakfast dishes and preventing wildfires possibly have in common?
Marie Hoff may be able to help with that question.
In 2013, she took on a small flock of ouessant sheep and launched Cappella Grazing in Sonoma County. Her clients were mainly vineyards, orchards, farms, and private land owners who wanted a quieter, more efficient form of a lawnmower. But it soon became apparent that her flock was serving another more urgent need: reducing fuel loads to prevent wildfires.
Using ruminants as part of a wildfire mitigation program is not new. Nor is using them to graze vineyards and orchards. It’s been a common practice in Europe for centuries, and grazing animals have been part of a much larger environmental cycle for, well, thousands of years. Sheep do this all while fertilizing the soil, reducing invasive weeds, and eventually, helping restore grasslands.
As her flock returned to the same plots of land year after year, Marie saw firsthand just how powerfully effective targeted grazing could be as part of a regenerative agriculture scheme. And she met others who were doing it on a much larger scale.
It was about this time that she noticed a problem. All these farmers were doing great things with their flocks. Yet every year at shearing time, all the wool got thrown away for lack of a market.
And so, Marie decided to step into the gap, buy the wool, and try to make something out of it. She folded Cappella Grazing into a new venture called Full Circle Wool.
Which is where your and my breakfast dishes come into play.
Full Circle Wool: https://www.fullcirclewool.com
Fibershed's Climate-Beneficial Wool program: https://fibershed.org/climate-beneficial-wool/
A full transcript of this episode can be found here: https://www.thewoolchannel.com/viw-s1-e4
Photo Credit: Alycia Lang