My local community’s interest in sustainable agriculture continue to grow, which I’m thrilled about. Next week we are starting an informal Green County Women in Sustainable Agriculture group, which considering where I live, very conventional farm country, is a really cool step.
What are your commitments?
My priority commitment is to my family, my circle of friends, and the people I engage and collaborate with on these shared visions. Time with them needs to be prioritized regularly. We call it plate management in our family: How to manage the projects and priorities on our plates and balance that with savoring the beauty and bounty of farm life.
What are your goals?
To continue to help support and inspire people, particularly women who are looking to launch enterprises that champion change in the food system. I’ve made such a fundamental change from the way I used to live, had I never had that type of support myself, I would not be where I am now. Support can happen in different ways, from people coming to the B&B and having conversations around the campfire, to the written word, to trainings and education programs.
What does change look like to you?
It happens when we are constantly able to look forward and vision and act for a better future. For example, here in Wisconsin, 20 years ago, there were renegade visionaries that created what are now inspiring sustainability leaders in the Midwest, like Organic Valley, MOSES, and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
We need to keep that momentum going and identify the new crazy ideas we need to instigate now. Change is based on creative innovative and being open to crazy-big thinking, or we are going to be just dog paddling in the status quo.
Regarding the practicalities of enacting change, what planning is involved? What kind of outreach?
A challenge for me is to constantly step back and assess priorities. All of us working in this realm have limited resources, be it time or money or both. We need to really take time for big picture idea visioning and planning. And, we need to continue to stress a diversity of views. Women are a great example, because if all views aren’t represented, we won’t have a comprehensive agenda. We need all priorities present to create an inclusive vision we can move on.
What projects are affiliated with yours?
MOSES. MREA, The Women in Food and Agriculture Network. IATP. The National Sustainable Ag Coalition – I’m doing farmer training and connecting the farmer voices with the media. Renewing the Countryside – they champion positive stories in rural revitalization and microenterprise. The WhiteHouseProject.org is a bi-partisan group that conducts leadership training for women. I’ve been partnering with them to get more women involved in leadership and agriculture.
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