Fibre Flax Program
Field trials are being conducted at ESW to test the performance of different varieties of fibre flax under the soil and climatic conditions of southwestern Ontario. These trials are part of a study, in partnership with Northwestern Middlesex Multi-service Centre and support from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, undertaken to assess the possibilities of re-establishing a fibre flax industry in southwestern Ontario. In recent years there has been an increasing demand for natural fibres for use in the textile industry (e.g. clothing and linen) and to provide natural composites for the automotive industry. Flax production was an integral part of the local economy in southwestern Ontario until the 1950s, when it was overwhelmed by petroleum-based synthetic fibres. A revitalized flax industry would create much needed jobs for rural Ontario in the growing, processing and manufacturing sectors.