Farm+Flea: How Laurie Perrone Uses Local Shopping To Create Global Effects

Farm+Flea: How Laurie Perrone Uses Local Shopping To Create Global Effects

Laurie Perrone created a space within her community that exhibits why it’s important to shop local.

Millennials (I barely made the cutoff), tend to believe that they reinvented the wheel. And Gen Z? Well, they tend to believe that they created the wheel and that’s OBVI not true. Sustainability is trending, but it’s definitely not new. I remember watching “Captain Planet” as a kid learning about the threat of pollution, overpopulation, and overconsumption, imagining that the effects of it were far, far, FAR away. Like, not in my lifetime. Yet, here I am -- a 30-something (ahem) -- realizing that “FAR away” is now. “FAR away” was probably 10 years ago. Yet, despite Mother Earth’s climate change (we’ll call it “hot flashes”) and the looming pandemic, there are good humans with good souls, who believe that we can indulge AND conserve.

Photo Credit: Jackie Foley

Laurie Perrone is one of those souls. When she left her corporate fashion career in 2014, she wanted to take her years of experience to create a brand that sourced yarns locally. Her brand vision included using recycled cotton manufactured from t-shirts scraps that would otherwise end up in the landfill. An added bonus for Laurie was the opportunity to include her daughter on the journey. She wanted her daughter to grow up understanding the relationship between fashion and ethics. Before Laurie left the corporate world, Olivia would often come to work with her in New York City, but didn't see any products because they were manufactured overseas.

Once Laurie transitioned, Olivia's perception of fashion completely changed. Laurie says,

“It was pretty immersive for her. Our conversations surrounding sustainability and ethical fashion made a huge impact because she really understood what I was talking about and what the mission of my company was.”

Photo Courtesy: Laurie Perrone

One of Olivia’s first experiences with Farm2Fashion was when she and Laurie went to the Pennsylvania farm where she saw real life Angora goats being shorn for what later turned out to be the mohair yarn. She met the animals, went to the spinning mill where the yarn was spun, and to the factories in New York where Laurie's designs were made. This kind of face-to-face real life experience, along with attending craft markets, enabled Laurie to show Olivia that the business world could have a moral and ethical force behind it as well. Without those firsthand experiences, it can seem like sustainability is far from our reach.

But it’s not.

Shop With Laurie

Cozy up to ethical fashion.

After establishing Farm2Fashion, Laurie took it further. Once she found herself immersed in local craft markets, she realized that there were very few that represented her region (specifically in Orange County, NY, where she lives). Farmers, craftsmen, and artisans lacked a common ground on which they could come together to show off and sell their goods. She wanted to create a space for her community that demonstrated why it’s important to shop local. And more than that, Laurie also wanted to create a place where tourists could  experience the region itself.

And so, in 2016 Hudson Valley Farm+Flea was born. It has become an annual event where a community of curated “local and regional farmers, designers and manufacturers could bring American-made products to a wider market.” Laurie is very purposeful about curating Makers since it is her hope to feature vendors who are all about local integrity. This year’s market is being held in a venue that looks like something like Little House on the Prairie. Museum Village, in Monroe, NY, is a picturesque depiction of 19th century rural life. The event’s location couldn’t be more representative of Laurie’s vision, as it continues to come to life, modeling traditions of the past. If you’ll be in the area on October 9th, grab your tickets here to Shop Farm and Flea.

You don’t have to invent or even reinvent the wheel to support sustainability. Contributing to your local economy by supporting small businesses reduces your carbon footprint by shortening the distance (and therefore the emissions) that food and products have to travel. Be a good human. Shop Farm+Flea.

Also, if you'd like to learn more about Laurie, find her here.

Photo Credit: Damon Jacoby

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Photo Credit: John Doe

Photo Credit: John Doe

Photo Credit: John Doe

Image Caption Text here