Calling all Wisconsin women farmers! Take advantage of travel scholarships from our Wisconsin Farmers Union to attend this year’s National Farmers Union Women’s Conference from March 3 through 5, 2017 at the Catamaran Report in sunny San Diego, just before the National Convention kicks-off. This one-of-a-kind event brings together fellow female Farmers Union members from across the country for an inspiring intense dose of resources, information and, most importantly, collaborative connections and idea sharing with an amazing group of women.
The simple WFU scholarship application is due next Monday, January 16 and covers up to $1,000 in reimbursed travel expenses. Plus, stay on for the National Convention and WFU can kick-in another $500 to help with travel.
Need more reasons to join us for this inspiring kick off to your spring season? Here are ten to get you started:
1. Harvest national perspectives
The National Farmers Union Women’s Conference gathers women from around the nation, bringing a diversity of perspectives, geography, business models, crops and life stories to the table, from beginning female farmers to seasoned growers. With a conference theme of “Shaping the Future,” this gathering will celebrate and amplify the powerful, positive collaborative message of women in agriculture.
2. Expert speaker line-up
The National Farmers Union will bring together an inspiring line-up of authoritative speakers and facilitators to the stage. From Bridget Holcumb, executive director of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) to Audra Mulkern, founder of The Female Farmer Project, the conference agenda blends big-picture thinking with practical ideas for your farm operation.
You’ll see strong Wisconsin presence on the speaker line-up too with Kriss Marion of Circle M Market Farm championing how we can increase more women farmers in leadership roles to yours truly, Lisa Kivirist of Inn Serendipity, sharing how to strengthen women farmer connections and the message of soil sisterhood.
3. Join your Soil Sisters from Wisconsin
Speaking of dear Wisconsin, our fine state has consistently had strong presence at this NFU Women’s Conference, thanks in big part to the continued scholarship support of WFU. There will be many friendly faces of fellow Wisconsinites there; from Kriss and myself to several Wisconsin women participating in the current Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) class, such as Betty Anderson from The Old Smith Place and Jaime Baker from Love Rock Farm from my own south central farm-hood.
4. Help us host on Friday night
Given our warm Wisconsin nature to host, the women of the Wisconsin Farmers Union will be hosting the welcome networking session on Friday night, March 3. We’ll have some icebreakers and activities planned to kick-off the connections that will continue throughout the conference and would love your help facilitating that Friday night.
5. Tap opportunity to stay for Convention
Take advantage of the additional $500 in scholarship funding to stay for the National Farmers Union 115th Anniversary Convention and experience and participate in the cooperative model on a national level and join the Wisconsin delegates in bringing our message and priorities to the table.
6. Small group conference setting
The Women’s Conference is intentionally a smaller gathering under one hundred women, a setting where we can really get to know each other, ask questions and share.
7. Take home the Soil Sisters book
Bonus: The National Farmers Union will be giving copies of my book, Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers, to all conference registrants. Lots of Farmers Union love in those pages, exemplifying our cooperative spirit with over 100 women contributing ideas and inspiration to the book.
8. Super simple scholarship application
One page. A few simple questions. You can do this by the Monday, January 16 deadline. Link below.
9. Expand your farm vision
Getting off-farm and connecting with other farmers, especially women sharing our commitment for the Farmers Union, adds a dose of fresh ideas and perspectives to our farm businesses more potent than any compost. Come home renewed, refreshed and ready to take on the 2017 season.
10. San Diego. Beach. Fun.
65 degree average day time temperature. No quilt-lined Carhartt Arctic anything in site. The only ice you see will be in your drink. Two blocks to the beach. Contra dance on Saturday night. Who knows; maybe even pirate hats involved.
Big thank you, once again, to the Wisconsin Farmers Union Foundation for supporting scholarships to the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference. This opportunity amplifies the voice of women in agriculture, our Wisconsin perspective and plants collaborative vision seeds for the future. Now go fill out that application and take advantage; see you in San Diego in March!
National Farmers Union Women's Leadership Conference
Soil Sisters book
Lisa Kivirist and her family run Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Wisconsin, completely powered by the wind and sun. Lisa is a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota and is the author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and co-author of Homemade for Sale, Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance with her husband, John Ivanko. She is treasurer of the WFU South Central Chapter.