The Rural Woman Podcast Episode 57 – From Fashion to Farming: The Journey to Carbon Beneficial Wool with Star Hoerauf

On this week’s episode of The Rural Woman Podcast, you’ll meet fashionista turned first generation Farmer Star Hoerauf. Star worked in the clothing and fashion industry for many years before she made the jump into farming where she began raising Blue Faced Lester sheep. She says there have always been three key elements throughout her life – love of animals, holistic patterns and clothing. Star has taken all three of those elements and woven them into the idea of producing Carbon Beneficial Wool to produce her own garments from her sheep’s beautiful wool.

Star Hoeauf | BIO

MorningStar Woollen Farm – Full Circle

Three key elements woven through my life – love of animals, holistic patterns and clothing.
I am a first-generation farmer – unless you count the three years as a young girl (4-7) I spent
building a rural hobby farm with my parents in the 70’s.

I fell in love with the freedom of wandering our property looking for wildflowers and
salamanders; and watching the seasons change. But the richest memories are of raising dairy
goats, bottle feeding kids and coddling goslings. When farming and career balance became
allusive my parents chose different paths and I moved to the city with my mom and brother. I
was heartbroken but focused on my other loves – sewing and bike racing. I continued to raise
every Rodent and Mammal available at the pet store.

Propelled and inspired by an intelligent, science based go getter mum my dreams floated from
being a Vet, to an Architect, a goat farmer to fashion journalist. In my early adulthood the
allure and excitement of the city and fear of farming being out of reach led me to obtain a
degree in Fashion.

While in design school my friends recall me daydreaming of farming…
The lack of authenticity drove me from dreams of fashion to feed my analytical brain and seek
employment in designing outdoor apparel and soft goods. I landed my first design job at
Arc’teryx in 1998. The path served me well. Working for brands such as The North Face and
Patagonia I was able to build cutting edge product and travel the world. I met my husband
while we worked at The North Face. After our children were born, I once again felt called
towards something more meaningful. At first, I tried to incorporate what I was missing in our
lives through the kids’ education – which led me to Waldorf education. The pedagogy
resounded in me and I was exhausted from travelling extensively with a baby. In an attempt to
align my own life with my children’s I decided to study and become a Waldorf educated
Handwork teacher. But the farm still called to me. Wanting to recreate my childhood and find
a more authentic way of life for myself, surrounded by Mother Nature and animals it was time.
After 12 years of living away from BC my husband had a job opportunity that would allow us to
move to my hometown and for me to step back from working with young children and buy a
small farm.

My first ewes arrived the day we took possession of our little farm. Many of my friends thought
I was crazy. It was such an incredible shift and learning curve. But strangely It never dawned
on me that I would fail. Family trips to the barn at night filled a void so completely. Nothing
makes me feel more aligned then caring for my little flock.

I raise registered BFL sheep for their wool, breeding stock and meat. We raise chickens and
other birds, a rabbit, dogs, cats and various other critters. For a long time, I thought that the
only purpose my farm had was to share my amazing childhood experience with my own
children. To work small batches of wool… I couldn’t figure out how to stay home and make a
living from the farm. But that changed a few months ago.

You know how new ideas are often planted in the back of your brain years before you become
fully aware of them? I had the wonderful opportunity to become acquainted to Rebecca
Burges of the California Fibershed several years ago – just as I was deciding to make farming a
priority. I loved this idea of Carbon Beneficial Wool. I was inspired by many farms and farmers
that I met or learned of. And yet the idea of making a living still seemed allusive at best. I had
heard Allan Savory’s and other regenerative pioneers’ names mentioned in conversation, and
slowly the ideas of regenerative agriculture became more awake in me. Then I had the fortune
of hearing of Nicole Masters – via Work Cows podcast. That’s when I really got excited. This
led me to sign up for a conference here and there. Through these conferences I heard from and
met really wonderful people doing exciting things! I finally had hope that I could: care for and
maybe even support Mother Nature (I’m hesitant to say “improve” something so much greater
then I), make a living from farming full time, spend a greater part of my day working with my
animals in a holistic way all the while continuing to work towards growing and producing
carbon beneficial wool.

I became a vegetarian (and vegan briefly) in the early 90’s. Searching for an educational
pedagogy that reflected my values as a new parent I formed a lifelong connection to Waldorf
education and the work of Rudolf Steiner. While studying this eminence body of knowledge I
learned more about Biodynamic Agriculture and Weston Price. Looking for a more holistic way
of eating and farming I realized that a small amount of quality animal protein and fat was
essential to our family. And most recently learning the importance of grazing animals in
building healthy soil, over 29 years I’ve come full circle and want to raise meat. The cycle of life
is a constant. I want to be a part of it every day, in the most holistic and mindful way I can. I
have reconciled in myself raising animals to be eaten. It will never be easy to take animals to
market – nor should it be, but I do believe that for some of us it is an important part of our food
system and that brutal or not, prey animals evolved to be prey. Some of us hope and pray for a
long life – and others for a good life…

Currently I am busy getting my wool to market. I have designed and prototyped a small handful
of items that I feel highlight the beauty that Mother Nature and my sheep have created. I am
planning to sell my wool in kits. I hope that in this way some of the intent and love for what I
am doing is shared with those that chose my wool to clothe themselves or their loved ones.
We will also have meat birds available this summer, and my web site will be up… well soonish!
I am grateful to Mother Earth for allowing me to farm in this most inspiring beautiful place, to
my Husband for financially floating my farm, to my shearer Jo, for collecting my “gold” fleece, to
Nicole from Darn Yarn Mill for spinning my golden wool, to Susan for making my chicken
scratch notes into proper knitting patterns and to the countless friends that have encouraged
me and helped me find clarity.

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We are up to 21 wonderful Patrons in the Patron Gang as I affectionately like to call them and I got an idea the other day while I was discing the field that I want to put out there.I have a BIG birthday coming up and I know you have all been wondering what you could get me. Well, what I want for my birthday is to have as many patrons as my age. So we’re at 21 right now, we’ll need to add another 9 by July 6. That is right I’ma be 30 years old and I can’t wait! 

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R A L L Y

Links Mentioned in The Show

Star Hoerauf | Instagram | Facebook

Carbon Beneficial Wool Resources | Fibershed | Nicole Masters

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The Rural Woman Podcast Episode 57 - From Fashion to Farming: The Journey to Carbon Beneficial Wool with Star Hoerauf
The Rural Woman Podcast Episode 57 - From Fashion to Farming: The Journey to Carbon Beneficial Wool with Star Hoerauf

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