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What is Peace Fleece?

Ivan and Vadim doing buiness at Izmaelova Park, Spring '10

Peace Fleece is not your typical yarn company.

The Peace Fleece offices are in a barn on a sheep and horse farm in the small, rural town of Porter in the foothills of southwestern Maine. Peter Hagerty and his wife Marty Tracy started buying wool from the Soviet Union back in 1985 in hopes that through trade they could help diffuse the threat of nuclear war. Since then Peter has journeyed through eastern Europe, central Asia and the Middle East in search of farmers and shepherds who are willing to set aside historic enmities in exchange for opportunities leading to mutual understanding and economic interdependence.

        Peace Fleece Porter Staff
       Back Row Hannah, Peter, Marty
       Front Row Brenda, Christina, Lauren

Spring Garden at home in Porter

Peter feels grateful that he can work on the farm with his family and friends while at the same time having the opportunity to travel overseas. To him, agriculture is a medium to bring people closer together. He writes:

"I used to describe Peace Fleece as an international yarn company doing business with historic enemies like Palestinians and Israelis and Russians and Americans. Today that description still holds true but recently I have grown to see it more as a place where very normal people come together on a regular basis to help each other get through the day."

"Our Peace Fleece staff gathers every morning at 9:00 to take a look at the day. We bring with us all kinds of personal baggage that accumulate in our daily lives, the stuff that makes us rich, complicated and sometimes challenging. Orders come in and packages go out and work gets done. As we interact with our customers and each other, we test how honest, how open and how present we really are with each other. This process of working together is what get me excited these days.

"Several years ago I telephoned our old friend Zacharia who lives with his wife and children in the West Bank village of Beit Sira. I had not seen him since we worked together over fifteen years ago. I called him to say how sad I was about the war in Gaza. But we ended up talking about our families and our own communities.

Peace Fleece once helped to financially support a community center in his town and also raised funds for medical supplied and veterinarians to improve the health of the village goat herd. It wasn't that we didn't want to talk about the war in Gaza, it was just that we both preferred to discuss what we could do in our own small ways to make our immediate communities better. Every time I see the picture of his smiling face I am filled with hope. Although it has been years since we have been together, it seems like just yesterday that we hugged goodby. "


"Marty believes that promoting crafts in our hectic society is important. By inspiring people to work with their hands, she hopes that they can find more time to discover their own inner solutions for peace. A favorite part of the job for Marty is developing Peace Fleece's line of yarns, batting, hand painted wooden knitting needles and buttons."

Peace Fleece sells knitting yarns as well as knitting and felting accessories. Many of the people with whom Peace Fleece works overseas are in the midst of political, social or economic crisis and some are living in a war zone. Knitting is essential to the economic and emotional survival of these people. It's Palestinian and Israeli friends face terrorism on a daily basis and their Russian partners are struggling to rebuild economies that suffered decades of abuse."

       Yaroslavl, Russia staff.
        Back row, Ivan, Oleg.
       Front row, Dima, Marina and Kostia

Peter and Marty together value the many wonderful people they have met because of Peace Fleece and they feel a deep caring and respect for their business associates in Russia. Their old enemy images have dissolved long ago."